Around the World... One Journey at a Time. Around the World... One Journey at a Time.

Paris and Northern Spain: Day 5

by Kathy 18. October 2010 18:41

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<< Day 4: Paris—Louvre and Tuileries Gardens | Day 6: Bilbao—Guggenheim Museum and Old Town >>


Hondarribia—Fast Train to Spain

I’m not sure who coined the phrase “Paris is a state of mind,” but I believe that it is true. We had expected Paris to be a magical place, and it was. I think that we still had stars in eyes as we made our way to the train station this morning.

Leaving the quaint Rue Cler district:

We took the Paris metro to the train station:

We were traveling to northern Spain today. A high-speed train would take us from Paris to Bordeaux, where we would board a regular train that would eventually deposit us at the French border.

At the train station:

Genevieve, on the train:

I had brought two Star Wars sticker books from home to entertain the children on long travel days. Sebastian spent hours meticulously drawing various spaceships from the books:

Seven and a half hours later, we arrived in Hendaye, on the French border. Outside the train station, we found a taxi to drive us across the river (named Bidasoa) that flows between France and Spain. Our driver spoke both French and Spanish, and it was a relief for Ben and I to switch our brains to Spanish (the dregs of our high-school French had been almost useless).

Tonight we were staying in the lovely seaside town of Hondarribia, which has a small medieval fortress and a fishing village atmosphere despite the growing number of tourists. Hondarribia is part of the Basque region, a small area that crosses from northeastern Spain into the Pyrenees of France. The Basque people have lived here for thousands of years, and their culture has thrived despite numerous attempts to crush it or to assimilate it into the rest of Spain (or France). They have a strong sense of independence, as well as a unique language (Euskara) that is not related to any other European language.

Our hotel was a contemporary building on the slope of the Jaizkibel hill that rose above the town.

The hotel was in a residential neighborhood, a short distance from the walled fortress called Casco Antiguo. As we strolled to the old part of town, here are some buildings we passed:

The fortress walls still remained:

We crossed over a narrow bridge to enter the fortress:

The buildings inside the fortress were beautifully maintained.  This residence had a stonework façade and pretty wooden shutters:

Other homes had colorful railings or brightly painted doors and windows:

Sebastian and Genevieve found joy in leaping off of the stumpy metal parking barriers:

The fortress overlooked the French harbor across the river:

Our goal was to reach the castle of Charles V, located on the main plaza in the old town. Just as we reached the plaza, however, huge raindrops began pounding down. Can you see the rain streaks in the top of this photo?:

We were prepared with umbrellas, but still sought refuge under the side arches of a church:

Across from us was the old castle, which had been converted into a fancy parador (luxury hotel):

With squishy feet, we plodded through the rain, leaving the fortress area and entering the lower section of town, called La Marina, which has several rows of shops and restaurants mixed in with colorful residences.

We walked up and down the streets, searching in vain for a place to have dinner (it was about 6:30 p.m.). We poked our heads into about five places, but each one was either too thick with cigarette smoke or not yet open for dinner. We retreated back to the hotel, using a handy set of escalators built into the hillside:

The view from the top of the escalators:

This laundry was not going to get dry today:

Near our hotel was this home, with an open space on the first floor—perhaps for outdoor living (or parties) should a heat wave sweep through town.

Back at the hotel, we consulted our guidebook and found a promising restaurant. Ben gave the place a call, and the man who answered was extremely friendly, giving detailed directions on how to get there. His welcoming tone set the mood for our wonderful dinner tonight at the Arraunlari restaurant, located down in the commercial district along the water.

We ordered dishes with crab, clams and fish. Everything was excellent and very fresh!

Sebastian, waiting for his meal to arrive:


After dinner, we strolled along admiring all of the boats that were bobbing gently on the water.

It was very peaceful, and we were so happy to be in Spain. We had fallen in love with this magnificent country three years ago, when we had explored the southern area. We were glad to be back, and ready for more adventures. ¡Bienvenidos a España!

<< Day 4: Paris—Louvre and Tuileries Gardens | Day 6: Bilbao—Guggenheim Museum and Old Town >>


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Map of Our Journeys

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Our travel map

Places We’ve Been, w/Quick Links

   Bumthang Valley
   Gom Kora
   Paro Valley
   Punakha Dzong
   Sangdrup Jongkhar
   Wangdi Phrodrang

   Janko Marca
   La Paz
   Laguna Colorada
   Laguna Verde
   Salar de Coipasa
   Salar de Uyuni
   San Pablo
   Santa Rosa
   Sud Lipez
   World’s Most Dangerous Road

   Banff National Park
   Battle Hill Nat'l Hist. Site
   Boya Lake Prov. Park, BC
   Burns Lake Bike Park
   Canyon Sainte-Anne
   Dawson Creek
   Eastern Townships
   Fort Nelson
   Jasper National Park
   Kluane Lake, YK
   'Ksan Historical Village
   Lake Louise
   Liard Hot Springs
   Niagara Falls
   Quebec City
   Thousand Islands
   Vancouver Island
   Watson Lake

   Forbidden City
   Great Wall at Mutianyu
   Hong Kong
   Summer Palace
   Terracotta Warriors
   Tiananmen Square
   Yungang Caves

Costa Rica
   Arenal Volcano
   Finca Corsicana
   Hanging Bridges
   Manuel Antonio
   Poas Volcano
   Proyecto Asis
   Sky Trek Zip Lining
   Venado Caves


   Amazon Rainforest
   Chaquiñan Bicycle Trail
   La Mitad del Mundo
   Napo Wildlife Center
   Papallacta Hot Springs
   Proyecto DCR
   Yasuní National Park


   Baja California
   Frida Kahlo Museum
   Hierve el Agua
   Marietas Islands
   Mexico City
   Monte Alban
   Oaxaca City
   Puerto Angel
   Puerto Escondido
   Puerto Vallarta
   San Agustin
   San Martin Tilcajete
   Santa Fe de la Laguna
   Santa María el Tule
   Studio of Jacobo Angeles
   Teotitlán del Valle

   Dead Vlei
   Elondo Village
   Etosha Nat'l Park
   Hippo Pools Camp
   Hoba Meteorite
   Khowarib Camp
   Moose McGregor's Bakery
   Mowani Camp
   Ngepi Camp
   Nkasa Lupala
   n'Kwzi Camp
   River Dance Lodge
   Seisriem Camp
   Treesleeper Camp

   Cañón del Pato
   Cerro de Pasco
   La Oroya
   Machu Picchu
   Nuevo Jaén
   Tingo Maria
   Yungay Memorial


South Africa

   Rock of Gibraltar
   Santillana del Mar

United States National Parks
   Arches National Park, UT
   Badlands National Park, SD
   Bandelier National Monument, NM
   Bryce Canyon National Park, UT
   Cahokia Mounds (UNESCO site), IL
   Carlsbad Caverns National Park, NM
   Canyon de Chelly Nat'l Monument, AZ
   Cape Hatteras National Shoreline, NC
   Capitol Reef National Park, UT
   Civil Rights Memorial, AL
   Death Valley National Park, CA
   Denali National Park, AK
   Devil’s Tower National Monument, WY
   El Morro National Monument, NM
   Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C.
   Glacier National Park, MT
   Grand Canyon National Park, AZ
   Grand Tetons National Park, WY
   Great Basin National Park, NV
   Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, HI
   Joshua Tree National Park, CA
   Kaloko-Honokohau Nat'l Hist. Park, HI
   Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks, NM
   King's Canyon National Park, CA
   Martin Luther King Jr. Nat'l Hist. Site, GA
   Mesa Verde National Park, CO
   Montezuma's Castle Nat'l Monument, AZ
   Monticello, VA
   Mount Rushmore National Memorial, SD
   Mt. Rainier National Park, WA
   Olympic National Park, WA
   Petrified Wood National Park, AZ
   Pinnacles National Monument, CA
   Pu'uhonua o Honaunau Nat'l Hist Pk, HI
   Pu'ukohola Heiau Nat'l Historic Site, HI
   San Antonio Missions Nat'l Hist. Park, TX
   Tuzigoot National Monument, AZ
   Walnut Canyon National Monument, AZ
   Washington Monument
   White Sands National Monument, NM
   Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, AK
   Wright Brothers National Memorial in NC
   Yellowstone National Park, WY
   Yosemite National Park, CA

United States, Cities and Places
   The Alamo, TX
   Alaska Wildlife Conservation Cntr.
   Alpine Loop in CO
   Anchorage, AK
   Antares Junction, AZ
   Arctic Circle, AK
   Barrel Oak Winery in VA
   Biloxi, MS
   Bottle Tree Farm in CA
   Calico Ghost Town, CA
   Canfield Mountain Trail System, ID
   Cape St. Vincent, NY
   Carson City, NV
   Carter Caves State Park in KY
   Chappie-Shasta OHV Area, CA
   Child's Glacier, AK
   Circle B Chuckwagon Show in SD
   City Museum in MO
   Cody, WY
   Corn Palace in SD
   Crazy Horse Memorial in SD
   Custer State Park, SD
   Dalton Highway, AK
   Dinosaur Tracks in AZ
   Discovery Place in Charlotte, NC
   Dry Falls (Sun Lakes-Dry Falls), WA
   Fairbanks, AK
   Front Royal, VA
   Gallup, NM
   Goffs, CA
   Grand Canyon Caves, AZ
   Grand Canyon Skywalk, AZ
   Grave Digger Monster Truck in NC
   Great Salt Lake, UT
   Hackberry General Store in AZ
   Hannibal, MO
   Hatteras Island, NC
   Hawaii (Big Island)
   Hickison Petroglyphs, NV
   Holbrook, AZ
   Hole in the Rock, UT
   Homer, AK
   Honey Island Swamp Tour in LA
   Hoover Dam, NV
   Hyder, AK
   Jim Gray’s Petrified Wood Co. in AZ
   John’s Peak OHV Area, OR
   Kailua-Kona, HI
   Keepers of the Wild Nature Park in AZ
   Kennecott, AK
   Kennecott Copper Mine in UT
   Kingman, AZ
   Lake Havasu, AZ
   Lake Tahoe, NV
   Las Vegas, NV (winter 2010)
   Little Brown Church in IA
   London Bridge in AZ
   Loneliest Road in America, Hwy. 50, NV
   Los Angeles, CA
   Lost Colony Show on Roanoke Isl., NC
   Lowe’s Speedway in NC
   Mardi Gras World in LA
   Mark Twain Museum in MO
   Meteor Crater, AZ
   Million Dollar Highway, CO
   Minnesota Zoo
   Mitchell, SD
   Moab, UT
   Moab, UT (dirt biking)
   Montgomery, AL
   Montpelier, ID
   Navajo Nation, AZ
   Needles, CA
   Nevada Beach, NV
   Newberry Springs, CA
   New River Gorge, WV
   New Orleans, LA
   Niagara Falls 
   North Pole, AK
   Oatman, AZ
   Old Faithful Geyser in WY
   Omak Stampede, WA
   Painted Desert, AZ
   Park City, UT (summer)
   Plymouth, NC
   Portage Valley, AK
   Portland, OR
   Prospect OHV Trail System, OR
   Resaca, GA
   Riverside State Park, WA
   Rock City in TN
   Rosa Parks Library and Museum in AL
   Roswell, NM
   Russian River, AK
   Salt Lake City, UT
   San Antonio, TX
   San Diego, CA
   San Juan Islands, WA
   San Francisco, CA
   Santa Catalina Island, CA
   Seattle, WA
   Sedona, AZ
   Shoe Tree in CA
   Shoe Tree in NV
   Silverton, CO
   Sonora, TX
   St. Louis, MO
   St. Paul, MN
   Talkeetna, AK
   Telluride, CO
   Route 66
   Twin Knobs Recreation Area in KY
   Virginia Beach, VA
   Washington D.C.
   Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park in IL
   Williamsburg, VA
   Winom Frazier OHV Area, OR
   Winslow, AZ
   Zion National Park, UT

Planning Our Adventures

For us, each journey begins with the initial heart pangs to venture to a certain part of the world. Then the ideas start coming together . . . ahh, the possibilities . . . and the dream evolves gradually into an actual plan. But, oh, the joy of the dream!  Click here to learn more about how we plan and prepare for our journeys.

Where Are We Now?

Click here to discover where we are now, as well as our uncoming travel plans.

Words for the Heart

“. . . and then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

Anais Nin