Spring in the Basque Country, Part One

We arrived in Bilbao about a week ago and have been enjoying the outdoors as much as possible despite the unstable weather. There has been rain and wind, but also sunshine and blue skies.

The landscape is the greenest I have seen in a long time and flowers are almost in full bloom. Sometimes I forget how many different varieties of flowers I can find here everywhere I look. Small daisies or txiribitak as we call them are everywhere.

The Basque Country is a small wonderland of all as we have cities, industrial areas, mountains, peaks and the ocean all concentrated in a very small area. It literally only takes a half hour to drive from the top of a mountain to the nearest beach and back to the largest shopping area around.

One of my wishes is for my little one to experience nature as I did growing up. I know it is not as easy anymore as he is growing up in a different time and under different circumstances, but I really wanted to make this trip about that; about hiking, feeling mud, seeing animals in pastures, touching old artifacts, seeing two, three, four hundred year old buildings, picking wild berries and feeling the cold Atlantic water on his feet.

There are nature trails everywhere around here and we have been taking full advantage. We spent a day in the villages surrounding Anboto and Urkiola and even stopped at Asador Etxebarri just to take a peak, which was recently named 39 in the 50 best restaurants in the world and was also featured in Mario Batali’s show “Spain, on the road again”.

The term celebrity chef does not exist in the Basque Country as great chefs and restaurants can be found in the most unexpected and remote areas and that is such a great source of pride as I love to cook and also eat.

Just this morning, we took a day trip to Urdaibai, which UNESCO named a biosphere reserve in 1984.

The wind was still blowing cold, but the sky was blue and the kids played in the sand like there was no tomorrow. We then stopped at the local bar for some great tapas or pintxos as we call them here. Tortilla de patata, bacalao al pil-pil, pastel de txangurro… my mouth is watering just thinking about it again.

And this is just part of it. I still have lots of photos to sort through including Bilbao and San Sebastian. I wish you could visit as well. I will be back soon with more to share. Happy weekend!

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89 Responses to “Spring in the Basque Country, Part One”

  1. Chris says:

    Love this post and the pictures; you are indeed a great photographer with an eye for detail. I am one of your biggest fan and check out your Blog almost every day. Keep those postings coming! Have a good time. Regards from Dubai, Chris

  2. Cookinette says:

    Beautiful pictures! Hope you enjoyed your vacation, but with that picturesque scenery, I am sure you did. Can´t wait for more to come.

  3. fantastic pictures. Nice place to visit and to live in :)

  4. Carolina says:

    So beautiful pictures…
    I love your eye for details, full of atmosphere…
    I’m waiting for “part two”!
    Regards from Florence!

  5. Helene says:

    I love that you are capturing those great moments and sharing with us. Beautiful pictures.

  6. Anali says:

    Beautiful! I love the variety of flowers and the ocean shots.

  7. Beautiful pictures!! Growing up we used to spend our summers in the coast of Spain… Brings back memories!!

  8. Memória says:

    ¡Qué lindas son tus fotos! Además de apreciar los campos y el ambiente de tu país, espero que tu hijo esté apreciando, aprendiendo, y hablando tus idiomas nativos también: el euskera/eusquera y/o el castellano. -abrazos :)

  9. lisa says:

    What beautiful photos! You have such an eye for the right settings, scenery, and positions. Glad to hear you’re having a great time.

  10. cindy* says:

    the scenery is just dreamy aran! and the kids are just adorable…thank you for sharing! hope the rest of your trip is equally wonderful, what a great place to share with jon…

  11. twwote says:

    Artista bat zara. Ni hemen bizi naiz eta erdia ere ez du apreziatzen.

  12. What splendid pictures! A beautiful place!



  13. Jill says:

    I’m going to have tortilla tonight for dinner. I don’t know if I was going to have that before I read this post…I am now for sure!
    I wish I was there and enjoying all that scenery and history, and FOOD!! Have fun, enjoy.

  14. Y says:

    Love the photos. Thanks for the update on your holiday!

  15. Thanks for the post and the pictures. A friend just suggested Bilbao as a place to visit, and your pictures reaffirmed it. I would love details about the food!

  16. Cheri says:

    These pictures are absolutely gorgeous and the boys are so cute playing together. It looks likes you are having a wonderful vacation back home… makes me want to go there. *sigh* :)

  17. Zerogluten says:

    Tienes el don de capturar siempre imágenes bonitas vayas donde vayas.
    El Pais Vasco es un sitio realmente hermoso. Hace unos años estuve en San Sebastian y alrededores y tiene unos parajes francamente bonitos.
    Me alegra que estes disfrutando tanto de tus vacaciones y de tu pequeño, que por cierto, cada día está más guapo.
    Besitos sin gluten

  18. K.Line says:

    What gorgeous photos! I love pinxtos – I can only imagine what it would be like to eat in the land where the idea was invented…

  19. Sugar Chef says:

    Thanks for sharing your trip with us. What great photos and your son is such a cutie.

  20. Oh…my…God!! Your photos are so gorgeous! What a beautiful post, Aran!

  21. I wish I was on a plane now going on holiday. Looks delightful! What an absolutely beautiful part of the world.

  22. Vanille says:

    Aran, thanks for sharing a little bit of your home land. Can feel your love for it in every single picture ! And your cute little one seems to enjoy it too !

  23. Mercè says:

    Aran, qué fotos más bonitas!! Se nota que lo estáis pasando genial!!
    El Pais Vasco me encanta!! Hace unos añitos estuve en Gasteiz, Bilbao y Donostia, y me encantó!! Además de que se come superbien!! ;)
    Me alegro que estéis disfrutando estos días con tu pequeño! :)

  24. Joyce says:

    I’m glad you are having a wonderful time. I LOVE the photos, very beautiful! The one of you and your little guys is priceless. Enjoy… xoxo

  25. the shot of the boys around the water fountain, that’s MONEY!!!!!! :)

  26. Maria says:

    What a beautiful blog! Truly beautiful photos! :) Great work!

  27. Anonymous says:

    I’ve only just discovered your blog and am overwhelmed by your photographic and culinary skills. Thanks for sharing. And seeing quite a few people are indicating their place of residence … greetings from Bad Homburg, Germany :)

  28. morgana says:

    Qué maravilla de fotos, cómo me gusta el norte… Las de los peques, sobre todo, son tan tiernas… Disfrútalo a placer, aunque se ve que ya lo estás haciendo, sin ninguna duda.

    Un besazo.

  29. Inés says:

    Ongi etorria Aran eta gozatu herri eder honetan!

  30. Dajda says:

    This looks like a dream!

  31. idu says:

    Beti moduan, pillo bat gustatu zaizkit argazkiak! Eta arrazoi duzu, inoiz baño berdeago dago guztia!
    ondo ibili eta gozatu egonaldia!

  32. So breathtaking and beautiful! Your pictures remind me of my husband’s village, though it is humid and hot but during the rains it is transformed and lush with greenery everywhere you look!

  33. Sighhhh~ What a gorgeous place to call home

  34. montague says:

    so gorgeous! that valley… that lush green. just beautiful.

  35. pve design says:

    You really have the most wonderful photos – If you love green, then take a peak at my ever green post today. I adore green, and traveling with my family too.

  36. Que bendicion vivir en ese campo. Como tengo ganas de comer bacalao!

  37. Tartelette says:

    The shots of Jon are just precious! Happy and smilng. Enjoy the rest of your stay!

  38. Yum says:

    Beautiful pictures! It makes us dream of some holidays…

  39. Marta says:

    Que fotos tan bella Aran. Gracias por compartirlas con nosotros. Que suerte tienes de poder disfrutar de una pais tan hermoso y poderlo llamar hogar, ademas de conocer todos los recovecos memorables de que los turistas no nos enteramos!

  40. JessicaS says:

    Love the photos! More please!

  41. Preciosas fotos! Yo me he enamorado de tu tierra este fin de semana! Igual hasta hemos estado cerquita, quién sabe!

  42. Phoo-D says:

    Your photos are spectacular! What a wonderful post. Thank you for sharing your trip.

  43. Jen says:

    Stunning! Your photos and writing display an amazing portrait of the country. Thanks for sharing with us.

  44. Ongi etorri!! A ver si el tiempo te sigue acompañando como el fin de semana (hoy parece que ha amanecido más kilikolo) Fantástico blog e increíbles fotos. Enhorabuena!

  45. Kristin says:

    Love this! Thank you for taking us along on your visit.

  46. Dominique says:

    fantastic pictures! how lucky you are. Have a nice holiday…

  47. april says:

    I am absolutely green with envy and flushed over your amazing photos!

  48. thank you for sharing aran..these are such gorgeous shots…it sounds like a wonderful time–keep on enjoying (and sharing!)

  49. Suze says:

    Thank you for sharing your trip home. It is a beautiful area, full of special moments…and somewhere to be close to what’s real in life…and your photographs show us that so much.

  50. Hilda says:

    My father always says that you can tell when the subject of a photograph has a relationship w/ the photographer because their expression has something in it that isn’t there when photographed by a stranger. I feel like the Basque country has that expression for you Aran, and obviously your little boy, who is too cute. Thanks for sharing.

  51. Aran says:

    Thank you everyone for your kind comments. I wish I could share all the beauty of my land with all of you through more than photographs.

    Eskerrik asko danori!

  52. lynda says:

    What a lovely post and beautiful pictures of your native country. YOu write about it so lovingly and poetically. I can understand how your heart wants to share the depths of it with your beautiful young son. Take care.

  53. Junglefrog says:

    What a lovely collection of photos! That must be the next best thing to actually being there!

  54. MiKel says:

    Hola Aran!! Que voy a decir yo de esa zona, que la tengo aqui al ladito y es casi mi tierra tb!! tus fotos como siempre geniales…

    Muxu bat!!

  55. linda says:

    Looks so beautiful and green!
    Enjoy the rest of your stay.

  56. Kim says:

    Thanks for sharing such lovely photos of your trip back home. Enjoy your holiday.

  57. Moira says:

    Thanks for sharing!
    I was there two years ago and loved Basque Country. Beautiful and quiet places, delicious food and very friendly people.
    Moira (from Lisbon – Portugal)

  58. How lovely! What a lucky little boy!

  59. Tina says:

    Your photos are stunning! They make me want to look for flights right now and book tickets!

  60. San Sebastian was my favorite spot in Spain to visit. Your photos are absolutely glorious (as always, but fun to see some travel photos).

  61. Oh, stunning, stunning, stunning. My heart and soul resonate with this incredible landscape you’ve shared with us. How wonderful for you and your family. I’m savoring all the color in the natural world, am grateful for your incredible eye and looking forward to hearing more.

  62. Seanna Lea says:

    Gosh. This is gorgeous! Such a beautiful place to visit.

  63. Cristi says:

    I love these flowers =]

    cherry tree blossoms are my favorite though. especially the weeping willow cherry tree’s =]

  64. I really like the photo of the trees and park benches. You have such an eye for lines and drawing the viewer into the photo… well done!

  65. Hayley says:

    You are a wonderful photographer, thanks for sharing all of these memories.

  66. Yael says:

    Amazing pics! What gorgeous country- now on my list for a future vacation!

  67. Si como dice Rosenthal el pais vasco consigue enamorar, tus fotos son la publicidad q cualquier oficina de turismo querría.
    Yo también estuve el fin de semana en Bilbao, para colmo el domingo mi cuñada me sorprendió con bollos de mantequilla de Ayarza, y yo sin batería en la cámara (Unai les hizo fotos con el móvil) para mandártela y decirte q estaban BUENISIMOS y cuando entro y veo q estas aqui …
    Disfrutad mucho
    un beso

  68. Nicisme says:

    Aran, what a beautiful place! I’d love to visit one day.

  69. Zepequeña says:

    Basques are really special people. One of them is talking to you…

    Lovely photos!


  70. SPhan says:

    i absolutely love this post, makes me want to take my little one on an adventure as well. great photos too!

  71. Anonymous says:

    ze politte aran!gure herriari buruz egin dezun deskribapena oso ona izan da!!!eta argazkiak ere bere edertasuna erakusten dute…oso politte!!!!

  72. Ben says:

    Your photography is simply brilliant! Really breathtaking stuff, so glad I found your site :)

  73. Rebecca says:

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful photos! What a wonderful trip and beautiful son! Nature is such an important teacher, we try to include it everyday with our 2 yr. old, and I find the tinme of being in the moment so healing, too! By the way, Argentina has the largest Basque population outside of Basque country!

  74. Wow looks like an amazing trip. Thanks for sharin all the great pics. Soooo jealous!

  75. Aline says:

    Absolutely in love with your foos, styling and photos. Congratulations, you definetely have a gift.
    Being a fan of photos myself hope you don´t mind me asking what lenses you use to shoot these wonderful pictures… Aline – Sao Paulo, Brazil

  76. Aran says:

    Aline- for these photos, i used mostly a canon 50mm f1.4 because it is so light and easy to carry everywhere. for food photography, i use the 50mm or the 100mm macro.

    thank you very much!

  77. Mrs.French says:

    oh wow aran…this is so amazing. I am afraid that if I had the opportunity to visit I would never leave…so incredibly gorgeous…your photography and words are lovely as well…so much talent! xo t

  78. B says:

    Nostalia, nostalgia, nostalgia… Glad you enjoyed your trip so much!

  79. Wow..great photos.I love natural beauty and all the city with natural beauty! It makes them so much more vibrant and colorful. I flewthere last year after purchasing a ticket on the ECT sites.

  80. Fantastic Photos. I always love to go on trip as well as to send some gift to my friends on special events. You know one of new site is comming for sending gifts. GO and make a sign up on http://www.boonspace.com and also get a chance to win some prize.

  81. Aliye says:

    I loved this post the most! I am new to your site, and have marveled at your work, not just your photography skills but your culinary ones too. The thing I loved most about this blog is it took me back to my Erasmus year in San Sebastian, and I was happy to see you add photos of La concha, such a beautiful city, warm lovely people and great food and hospitality. I was wondering if you could share some pintxos recipes, it would be great especially bacalao al pil-pil. Gracis, Agur xxxx

  82. Mami says:

    Thanks sooo much for getting back to me, just saw your tortilla recipe – am so going to try this, you are definatley right, it is hard to make the perfect tortilla. Can I be really cheeky and ask if you have a crema catalana recipe?! Many thanks and keep up the good work-it is very inspirational.xxx

  83. What a lovely article and delightful images! You have a beautiful blog ~ congratulations!

    ~ marie, the EpicureanPiranha

    PS. If you find some time in your busy scedule, I would love for you to visit my gourmet webzine ♥

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