Spring in the Basque Country, Part Two

All week I have been trying to post some more photos of our trip, but we have been so busy that it has not been possible until today. Our trip has come to an end and has left a bittersweet feeling in me once again. We walked in the door about an hour ago and immediately, I had to open a jar of white asparagus just to remember the feeling of home again.

It is hard for me to summarize all the places we visited because there are so many. So many places, people, parks, restaurants, coffee shops…

Last Tuesday, after C arrived, we took a day trip to Donostia-San Sebastian upon his request. That’s where we spent part of our honeymoon so he always likes to go back and visit the old part of town Alde Zaharra for some pintxo and txakoli time.

It was a cold day, but we managed to get a few rays of sunshine here and there. We visited Galparsoro Okindegia for some organic rustic bread and brioche, of course and then headed into the old quarters for some pintxos. My favorite spot Aralar was closed, which was a bit disappointing, but managed to find a couple of good places along the way.

We also stopped at the farmer’s market where we got the best tomatoes I have had in a long time, some small but excellent organic lettuces, flat green beans and cheeses. The flower stands were also full of color and beauty.

There was a lot of walking and hiking and although we were hoping to go mushroom picking, the weather had been too cold. Plenty of rain, but a bit more sunshine and warmth were needed. We were really looking forward to that since my dad is a wild mushroom connoisseur and gatherer.

The boys spent one of the only sunny and warm days in Urkiola and Oleta walking around and sitting under enormous trees.

We also made it to the Guggenheim although we spent more time outside in the gigantic playground than inside. I love photographing the building and the river next to it on grey days. The titanium takes on a coppery sheen that is hard to describe.

And finally I had to share some photos of some delicious traditional Basque dishes. On our last day, we had a 4-hour family lunch at Juantxu Jatetxea a very traditional restaurant in my hometown. I couldn’t leave home without eating kokotxas al pil pil, salpicon de marisco or langostinos a la plancha.

I always come back exhausted yet re-energized and full of inspiration. I will share more thoughts and recipes soon. Thank you!

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72 Responses to “Spring in the Basque Country, Part Two”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Such a beautiful region of Basque. Thank you so much for sharing with us. I was doing some family history last year and found out that my family ancestors originated in a town called Olaviaga (no longer exists, but it maybe called Ola now) located close to Bilbao. You have inspired me to think of next year’s vacation in the Basque region:-)

    Rex Olaviaga

  2. K.Line says:

    What gorgeous photos. Makes we want to be there! And the photo of your son is excellent. He’s adorable.

  3. Beautiful-your photography transports me. I love that all of your pics have a dreamy and romantic quality. And it’s fun to see you do your magic with some savory food too!

  4. Michelle says:

    Such gorgeous photography. The colors are amazing in every shot. You must have had such a wonderful trip.

  5. I ALMOST feel like I am there…


    I would love to hear about more sweets that are specific to that region!

    Thank you for sharing!

  6. Maki says:

    Beautiful place. The food looks amazing.

  7. I have so enjoyed the pictures you have so generously posted of your vacation. Absolutely beautiful. I know where you were is gorgeous, but you really have an eye for taking a good picture. Nice work.

    Welcome back. Excited to see what your inspiration comes up with in the kitchen!

  8. cindy* says:

    aran, every picture is gorgeous! thank you for sharing…glad to have you back too! i love that picture of jon, he looks so contemplative. the food, the scenery, everything is so lovely…i just keep staring :)

  9. Alicia says:

    I adore your sons daydreaming/pensive look. I always wonder if its mischief they’re planning. Such a beautiful boy.

  10. 190.arch says:

    Qué hermosas fotos y qué hermoso lugar!
    Yo viví un tiempo en Navarra, estudié en la escuela de arquitectura, quedé enamorada del País Vasco y no se me ha hecho regresar. Después de leerte y ver tus fotos, me ha entrado una nostalgia tremenda del tiempo que pasé ahí, espero que pronto pronto regresemos : )

  11. David says:

    Thanks for the trip photos. Makes me want to race back there…especially since it’s cherry season!

  12. What gorgeous pictures! That is certainly a wonderful place…



  13. What a wonderful writeup, you gave a hunger for it all – the landscape, monuments, markets, flowers, people, .. and oh the food !

    Pays Basque is one of my very favorite regions of France, but I have always wanted to cross the border and discover San Sebastian and Bilbao… Here you have reminded me to move it up on my travel list! Thank you.

  14. Sarah says:

    That looks wonderful. Thanks so much for sharing. What a beautiful region.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Kaixo Arantzazu:

    Irakurten egon naz (betiko lez argazkiak oso politak dira) eta bere jatorria ezagutu nahi zuenez Rex Olaviagari erantzun nahi diot.
    Bueno, mozu bat Jon eta zuretzat, eta Chaderi besarkada handi bat.

    Ikusi arte, Jokin.

    This is an answer to REX OLAVIAGA

    Hello Rex:

    I have read your post and I want to tell you that there is a district called OLABEAGA near Bilbao, and that is the only Basque town or district similar to “Olaviaga” I know. You can look for it in Google as “Olabeaga Bilbao”.

  16. Thank You for these wonderful pictures. I hope in june I go to Bilbao too.

  17. Mary Sue says:

    Beautiful photographs!

    How do you manage to upload those large images to blogspot? I try to do that on my site but they can only get to a certain size…

  18. Inés says:

    Aran, argi utzi duzu ederto pasatu duzula, nola ez ba herri honetan ezta?. Eta zure semetxoaren haurpegitxo interesantea…oso majo dago Aran. Badago argazki bat kanpotik hartuta bigarren emanaldi honetan jantoki batena. Zein da?. Oso polita dirudit. Berriro ere milesker eta zorionak Aran eta familia.

  19. Aran says:

    Rex- read my brother’s comment below (where it says anonymous). he explains that there is a neighborhood outside of Bilbao called Olabiaga.

    Michelle- for some reason I didn’t focus on pastries as much although we ate them everyday. i was really craving stews and fish… that’s all i could think about.

    Jokin- eskerrik asko. oso ondo ibili gara betiko lez eta ia hurrengo biajea nozko antolatuko dogun pentsetan hasi gara ja. mosu handi bet danori eta eskerrik asko.

    Mary Sue- I had my template “retouched” so I could upload larger photos but I think it’s possible if you choose the minima wide template. Not sure how but I have seen people do it. Sorry I wasn’t more help…

    Ines- Janarie Juantxukoa da eta mahai luzea be bai. Baltzezko eskaparate hori Bilboko Victor Montes da. Hori buruz dinozu?

  20. Aran how stunning are these photographs, i must have looked at them a dozen times already! I adore the picture of jon that certainly must be matted and hung!

    Oh how i want to visit this region badly and your post is a great tribute to the places you visited.

    now being vegetarian this might sound weird but
    I would want to eat that meal in a heartbeat and one day i shall then find the closest cathedral and thank the gods!

  21. This place is so beautiful. I love your blog, all the wonderful photos and words. Thank you for sharing, it’s always a pleasure to visit your site.

  22. Such a beautiful world….breathtaking in every frame Aran. Stunning pictures. So glad you had a great great vacation!

  23. Dominique says:

    Thank you for the beautiful pictures. It reminds me a travel in Basque country (french and spanish) a few years ago. It was beautiful, and I hope visiting one more time this beautiful country. Thank you sharing…

  24. morgana says:

    Qué gozada de fotos. ¡¡¡ Todas !!! Espero que lo hayas pasado fenomenal. La verdad, tengo pendiente visitar tu tierra y después de leer tu artículo dan muchas más ganas de ir. Mira que no soy marisquera para nada pero al leer “langostinos a la plancha” me ha entrado un hambre… ;-)

    Un beso muy fuerte desde el otro lado del charco y bienvenida de nuevo a casa.

  25. Tartelette says:

    Love that piture of Jon! Priceless!
    Glad you had so a lovely trip!

  26. Wouldn’t it be lovely to live a full, rich life where one could go back and forth between places that they love and not feel sad to leave one? Thank you for sharing your incredible photos and giving me yet one more place I am longing to visit~
    Have a wonderful week,

  27. montague says:

    i want to be there. SO BAD!

  28. Charlotte says:

    Can i ask what camera u use? i have been following ur blog for sometime but never occured to me to ask. =)

    i tried a few of the reciepes. but am never able to create such beautiful finishes on the end product.

  29. Aran says:

    Charlotte- Until Feb I was shooting with a Canon Rebel XT but I got a Canon 50D for my birthday then. Thank you!

    Thanks everyone!

  30. Marta says:

    Welcome back! I know the heart always feel heavy upon returning from home, and I know the split feeling between saying “I just left home” and “I’ve just arrived home”. The story of immigrants is about having your heart split into two places! I hope you get re-invigorated soon and whip up some lovely treats!

  31. SK says:

    such vivid colors… great photos!! it looks like it was a great trip. how amazing that you can go back to the place you spent a part of your honeymoon in.

  32. Inés says:

    Aran nik diñotsudana da bestea. Jontxuren argazki talde hortan dagoena. Kanpotik ikusten da eta mahiak eta aulkiak ikusten dira kalean. Etxeaurrea ikusten da ere eta bi guardasol granate.

  33. PheMom says:

    Your pictures are as gorgeous as always! My favorite is definitely the one of the boy though – beautiful Aran! I am glad you had a wonderful trip home!

    Congrats on that article for the 50 best food blogs – it is so well deserved!

  34. Bridget says:

    Your photos are stunning! Thanks for sharing your trip home with us!

  35. Helene says:

    Beautiful pictures! So nice of you to take the time to share your trip with us. Looks like a wonderful place to visit.

  36. Thank you for sharing your wonderful trip to the region of Basque, i have never been, but it looks like our kind of place :-)

    Your photos are fab!!

  37. Yum says:

    Thanks for sharing those wonderful photos….

  38. welcome home my friend—thanks for the gorgeous glimpse through your stunning photos–looks like an incredible trip—we may have to try and visit your region someday! would be so great! and here’s to you and settling back into things! happy mother’s day aran!

  39. Claire says:

    It looks amazing there. Thanks for all the beautiful pictures!

  40. Wonderful photos, the beautiful Basque Country and excellent food.


  41. Camila says:

    I loved your homeland, Aran, I hope to visit it someday. Good to know that traditional dishes are made of seafood ;)

  42. Inés says:

    Boroa!!!!! Zein polita atera dozu Aran…beno zuk letxugak ere Arte Ederra bihurtzen dituzu…

  43. Y says:

    Welcome back :) Wonderful to see you had such a lovely holiday!

  44. sooch says:

    Dear Aran, thank you for sharing such wonderful pictures from your trips, they really speak to my heart and bring tears to my eyes. I live in land scarce Singapore, and though I love the great outdoors I don’t get to travel as much as I would like. Your pictures help me live through the times I’m stuck in this city!

  45. Stunning photography that draws one in without thought.
    Thank you for sharing windows into your special trip.

  46. Kate says:

    I just love love love love your blog, thank you for taking me back to Europe and my wonderful overseas adventures in 2004-2005. For a young lass from Adelaide, your photos and recipes are just the tonic to brighten my day!

  47. gretchen says:

    WOW. gorgeous images. so evocative. really wonderful. thank you.

  48. Jen says:

    A stunning post! Thanks for sharing & welcome back.

  49. Esti says:

    Aran, me encanta cómo has sintetizado tu visita en estas fantásticas fotos (y las anteriores). Qué buena sensación da ver todo con estos ojos tuyos; hay cosas que estando aquí pasan desapercibidas. Y Jon está guapísimo!

  50. idu says:

    Kaixo Aran,
    Ederto ibili zara ezta? Aurrerago komentatu duten bezala, zure begietatik begiratuta, guztia ederagoa da!
    Ai, eta Juantxo-ko janaria! Ez nuen ezagutzen jatetxe hau, laister naiz bixitan!
    mosu bat

  51. How beautiful everything is! Especially your little boy!

  52. great shots Aran, my favorite is the men walking from behind, the one with the umbrella. and those shrimp look just like the giant ones i used in my magazine cover shoot! well, now you have your next trip back home to look forward to :)

    ps. i’m loving the new page design color makover; baby blie is my favorite color and the swirls would make any Adobe-illustrator user proud. bravo! trop chouette :P

  53. Tina says:

    Your photos are stunning. It has to be so hard to leave your family and country. I know all too well that feeling after traveling back “home.” Wishing you days of lovely inspiration!

  54. Dajda says:

    Your photos are excellent, the colours and all – wonderful!

  55. oh dear, such gorgeous photos, u make me want to fly over to Spain immediately. heh. there will be more parts of the trip?

  56. Aran says:

    Ladyironchef- I do have a ton of photos but I think this is it for now. I am eager to start baking and getting back to featuring recipes. thank you!

  57. Lamia says:

    I really want t o go now .itis so pretty

  58. Thank you for your blog, Aran. It inspires me alot ) The photos are absolutely exciting!!! ))
    And the recepies are MMMM!!!! ))))

  59. Bea says:

    Lovely picturesque photos Aran. It’s certainly prompting for a trip over there!

  60. corine says:

    You have made a believer out of me. I can’t wait to discover the basque region. I hope it look 1/3 as good as your pictures or I will be disapointed.

  61. How have I not yet discovered you until today?? I’m so smitten… beautiful photography, excellent texts!!!

  62. Jen Yu says:

    I am so glad that you had a great trip home. Everything looks like a wonderful time (your son – he is sooo cute) and the food! *Almost* as beautiful as the food YOU make :) I’ve been so swamped lately that I had to take some time just to catch up on your posts. Nice to have you back, Aran.

  63. annie76 says:

    Les photos sont magnifiques.

  64. Mrs.French says:

    just when I feel as if I have a handle on this whole photography thing, I see what you can do…I want to be you when I grow up…xo t

  65. Chez US says:


    Life has had us in turmoil for the past couple of months, I am finally getting a chance to sit down and catch up on my favorite foodie blogs. Sorry that I missed the journey to the Basque country – once again, you captured it wonderfully! It looks as if we may get a chance to head back there next Spring – cannot wait! I will have to bug you about places to go, etc.. once we get closer.

    Welcome back!

  66. Di says:

    All of these photos are spectcular! I love the runculus! The food, the people….I visited Bilbao and Asturias in 2000 and loved it! Reminded me of Scotland – so green and luscious – not what you expect in Spain!

  67. Jamie says:

    Ah, it’s been ages since I have visited you here and now I have stumbled on your gorgeous pics of Basque Country. Husband and I had 5 glorious days in Donostia-San Sebastian and Bilbao last year and this brings it all back!

  68. Great photos. I hope i will go there very soon. The place is looking to be very good. I really feel very much happy such type of places and used to book my ticket through EasyClick Travel.

  69. Silvie says:

    ze poliiitaaa dena … ni ere irrikaz nago Euskal Herrira joateko. Euskaraz jakinda neure herria balitz bezala sentitzen naiz, baina oraindik ez naiz inoiz han egon. Oraintxe bertan joango nintzateke ahalko banu, baina udara arte itxaron behar dut …

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