Thursday 23rd October.
Yesterday we had a pleasant drive from Chateau de Bonhoste along long straight roads through heavily forested countryside and arrived at Aire-Sur-L'Adour in glorious autumn sunshine. We parked next to the river, walked up to the town and found the tourist information office. It's a small town and yet it had a well staffed office and we were presented with a walking guide to the town. Suitably impressed and armed with our guide we set off; 45 minutes later we were back where we started! As I say, a small town but pretty enough and with a lovely twelfth century cathedral the inside of which was magnificently painted in the nineteenth century. The town also boasts The Maurice Lauche's bullring which is described as an important place for bullfights! Also "course landaise" (cows game without death sentence, men try to jump over cows or avoid them) each to their own eh?
The Cathedral of St Jean Baptiste.
Today we set off planning to stop for the night near Orthez but we pushed on and arrived mid afternoon in Donostia/San Sebastian again in warm sunshine (20deg). Lots of traffic between here and Bayonne, which we're not used to and we passed into Spain at Hendaye without even a welcome sign, just a change of language on the road signs and different speed limits. The Lonely Planet guide says "Nothing is impossible but it's impossible to lay eyes on San Sebastián (Basque:Donostia) and not fall madly in love". We'll skip over when I fell madly in love but the brief walk we had this afternoon confirmed the city as somewhere we will definitely explore for at least another day. We walked down to the beach which even at four thirty still had folk swimming, sunbathing and generally enjoying themselves. It's unusual in that it's a City beach and we walked past beautiful seafront mansions and stunning views across the bay and to the tiny island of Santa Clara. We didn't make it to the old town but we will tomorrow and hopefully enjoy some Pinxtos, for which the Basque region is famous.
Playa de la Concha - spot the (deliberate?) mistake.
Isla de Santa Clara.