mercredi 9 octobre 2013

Kaixo Euskal Herria!

New country. New city. New university. 
New apartment. New friends. New language. 
Una Nueva Vida..

Yo, Alejita y prensas(?)

It's been a month since I arrived here in Bilbao. For the first 3 weeks I lived in a hostel, sharing a room with a friend, new roommates and some strangers. I started studying straight away and the beginning seemed very promising. I got to know my future flatmates better, got used to listening and, quite suprisingly, understanding Spanish. In the end of the week I was exhausted but I could be happy to say:  
¡Entiendo casi todo!

I had to spend the first weekend without my helper and traductrice Alejandra, but I got along way better than expected: I spend a chill afternoon with my new roomate Philippe wandering around town & discovering it. On our way back home I was introduced to Tomek from Poland and Linus from Sweden. Later I ended up going to a feria with them and some other people in Galdácano, a town next to Bilbao. We had a great time listening the music and dancing in the rain. The night continued in a small nightclub in Bilbao and I was finally home by seven am. The next evening I went tomar algo (=have a drink) y hablar español with Anna, a new Ukrainian friend I got to know en la feria.

Nuevos amigos en la feria de Galdácano

Poco a poco the daily life started to take form, classes went on slowly, I was catching more and more Spanish words and expressions, most of them gracias a francés. Bilbao got more and more familiar with its bares a tapas con sus pintxos, tortillas, tintos y blancos.. My dear friend Linda from Vienna came down for couple of days and together we went back to France. I needed to have a crazy reunion with mes mademoiselles in Bordeaux and some quality time with my love.. 

Linda, Ale y Iida con el Guggenheim

Last week the hostel finally closed up and we got our rooms... ¡Que bien!
So now I have my little personal space with my stuff.. But I can still hear perfectly my roomate Imanol behind the wall.. since there's no wall on the ceiling. On wednesday Imanol invited us to Vitoria to experience a Spanish electro-rock was pretty interesting music.. ¡pero muy raro! I also started to hablar más español especialmente con Alejandra.. aaaand spent the weekend in Francia con mi amor<3

Mi habitación

Una pintura

Now 4 weeks have gone and I have to admit that..
 1. Spain and especialmente País Vasco es muy caro (=expensive)
 2. No tengo windows in my new "hostel dorm"
 3. I still don't speak enough español.
 4. I do understand a big lot of it.
 5. Bilbo is beautiful and ugly at the same time.
 6. Going out (drinks & tapas) is pretty cheap (tinto+pintxo=1€!)
 7. I haven't really studied/worked hard.
 8.  I haven't discovered enough Spain.
 9. I should have more Spanish friends.
 10. I should viajar, trabajar y disfrutar más.

View from la universidad

I've been though having a hell of a good time here, and will be having mucho mucho más.

Here's a corto video of soon-to-be-song composed by Linus & Iida.

¡Agur, hasta luego!

vendredi 19 juillet 2013

Fête de la Musique & Juhannus

 Le Fête de la Musique or the Music Feast was on the Friday 21st and 22nd of June. At the same time we Finns celebrate Midsummer Feast or Juhannus as we call it. French do have the same feast and officially it's celebrated on the 24th of June, but different towns usually decide what day celebrate it and for how long.

La Fête de la Musique is a world wide Music Feast, where all the musicians are welcomed to come and play on the streets and bars.

Our Fête de la Musique with chéri started on Friday in a gorgeous medieval town called Saint Macaire in the southwestern France. It actually had been cancelled because of the rain. Still many bars had bands playing and we stayed a while before going to our friends' place.
The feast was a small disappointment because the last time we did it together the town was just full of people in a great ambiance.

The next day the feast continued in a local biker bar in Auros, in Le Coyote.
There was a big bikers' happening called Rock & Bike: 2 bands were playing while people could wander by the motorbikes and stands.

On Sunday we went to check out the Midsummer feast in Bazas. Their midsummer feast lasted actually more than a week: it started on the 15th of June just for the weekend and finally ended after 6 days of partying on the 25th June.

We visited Bazas on the 24th, because I longed to see the midsummer bonfires. We saw as well the "L'hommage au Taureau" or "The tribut to the bull".
It's a long tradition from XIIIth century to honor the famous boeuf bazadais that were sacrified to the king.. or something like that.

More photos of the feast, of the traditional shepherds on stilts and of the fireworks without forgetting the atmospheric bonfires..

Enjoy and I'll let you hear from me soon, about the beach, the sun & the surfing! Maybe a little of working in a restaurant as well:)

Until then:

jeudi 27 juin 2013

Extra week(s) of holidays

Labenne beach at the sunset

 After a 20 hrs trip back to France and a call to my boss in Hourtin-Plage, 
I realized I had at least one more week off before starting to work, 
thanks to the amazing weather we'd had for way too long in France!

It hasn't rained as much for 100 years, 
and you really can see the difference!

 So me and my chéri decided to take a trip to the beach, 
to the Pyrenees and  to the Basque country!


The weather on Friday announced great with a warm southern sun,
just the way it should be.

Our journey started with a drive all the way to Capbreton Beach on the Bay of Biscay;
we longed for a refreshing plop in the Atlantic ocean..
It's was a beautiful evening: playing with the waves at a sunset..
Later we enjoyed a very nice meal for 13 euros, with a Tiramisu for dessert 
- mmm it was yummy!

Off we were on the road again, only to find a place to camp.
Finally we found the spot on the Labenne beach, slept well listening the wind blowing with the waves..

Chilling on the terrace in Saint-Étienne-de-Baïgorry, Basque country

Next morning the weather had cooled down a bit, 
but we still wanted to enjoy the beach once more before changing its waves to the majestic mountains. 
After a quick stop to a supermarket, we had a picnic on the Ondres beach, where we stayed for couple of hours, just enough for me to sunbathe and for chéri to swim.

Next stop: Saint-Étienne-de-Baïgorry

And so we drove through Bayonne all the way to the heart of  the French Basque Country 
& the Pyrenees: to a town called Saint-Étienne-de-Baïgorry!
There we met up with my lovely friend Elvira, 
who works in a tiny ***** hotel in a *** Michelin restaurant (see the photo above).

A roman bridge in Saint-Étienne-de-Baïgorry

We absolutely fell in love with the place with its green mountains, 
white & red Basque houses, tiny river and an amazing calmness..


Some people say, 
that Finnish and Basque languages might have something in common
 and sometimes I'm really thinking about it.. 
Like Sakari means probably something in Basque, but it's also a Finnish first name for guys!

View from the roman bridge

We catched up with Elvira shortly before she needed to go back to work
while we decided to drive to the top of one of the gorgeous mountains!

Me and a pottock poney

On our way, we met various little animals, living basically in freedom on those mountains
as the willful Basque poneys called 'pottock',
dozens of upstanding vultures and
a herd of jolly goats !

The antisocial pottocks

On the top of the mountain we crossed the Spanish boarder.
Suprisingly the view didn't differ much to France,
but when you drive through a tunnel in the Haute-Pyrenees
 in the highest spot of the mountains, 
you can see how the French side is all nice and green
 while the Spanish one looks more like a desert.

A spectacular view of vultures

More vultures

Spain and red soil

Angelo the shepherd

We got a little hungry on the mountains and decided to drive down for a dinner.
Many places were closed on a Saturday evening, which was a real suprise for us,
so we headed to a bit bigger town next to Baïgorry,
to the capital of the department called Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port.

Saint-Jean-Pieds-de-Port by night

The dinner wasn't the greatest we had, 
especially cause we were still hungry after a mini pizza and a mini pasta plate..
At least we had a view of the gorgeous Basque town.

Later we returned to Baïgorry to spend the night with Elvira and her collegues
in the house they are staying in.
We had a great time talking, playing guitar and singing until 2 am.

Sunny day on the Pyrenees

Next day we left the French Pyrenees
 and decided to drive towards Spain and it's adventures.
We took the same road than the day before and met yet again the little pottocks..

On the road

Beware pottocks!

View from the top

And I'm loving it!

Angelo making a funny face

My love

On our way we found a peaceful place to stop and have a nap
- after the night both of us were pretty tired.
We also had the first tapas of our trip in a little town right after the boarder.

Angelo in Pamplona

And finally we arrived to Pamplona.
The day was extremely hot : at least 35 degrees!
We bought right away huge ice creams,
it was way cheaper than in France, not to even talk about Finland!

The day passed by wondering around the city.
It was kinda exhausting to do in a such a warm day.

We left Pamplona before night,
bought a Spanish map in a gas station
and started to look a place where to put our tent.

Our goal was a lake called Uzos,
but before going there to sleep we wanted to eat something,
so we stopped at the village called Aioz.
The food was ok, but kinda greasy with ham and eggs,
a bit like an English Breakfast,
and I slightly started to miss good and fresh veggies..

The next day the weather changed completely: 
The sky was very cloudy and looked like it was going to rain.
We figured it was better to go back home than sleep in a thin tent in a rain..
So up we went, back to France.

We ate the last greasy tapas in Valcarlos
and got very suprised by seeing a shopping mall there, in the middle of the mountains!
The shopping mall called Venta Peio was in a tiny little French town called Arneguy, 
a town by the mountains, really in the middle of nowhere!

We did a quick visit cause chéri wanted to buy a T-shirt.
Well, he found one yes, to his day with cyclists on it,
and for himself the hoddie you can see on the photo below:

Before leaving the Pyrenees and the Basques for good, 
we obviously needed to get some amazing cheese, made of sheep milk. 
The doggy above is a shepherd dog from the farm
 where we bought more than a kilo of cheese!

On our way back the rain started for good so we were happy to go back.
The trip was great in every way
and I was happy to have a week off and enjoy the company of my chéri.

Too bad the holidays lasted for two weeks, but on Saturday I'll finally go there,
work and enjoy the beach!

I try to tell you more stories about Juhannus or Midsummer feast 
and the Music Feast (Fête de la Musique),
but now I'll go out, paint and enjoy the sun :)

Love, Iida