Santa María de la Antigua, the “Cathedral” of Basque hermitages

22 05 2014

Absolutely off the beaten path, and hardly visited by any foreign tourists, near Zumarraga lies the“cathedral” of Basque hermitages. It´s believed that this amazing church was built on the remains of a XII century fortress. While the outside walls and façade are austere and without much interest, the interior is surprisingly outstanding, completely covered in oak wood coffering. There´s a complex wooden framework all over the ceiling, that makes the interior of this big hermitage a beautiful, relaxing sight. If there´s someone singing on the choir, as it happened during my visit, the effect is simply breathtaking.

Together with the sanctuaries of Loiola and Arantzazu, it is part of the Route of the Three Temples (Arantzazu, Loiola and Santa María) in the Ignatian Land (St Ignatius, founder of the Jesuits, was born in Loiola in the Basque Country). The legend says that the church is made of the stones thrown by the Giants that inhabited the Basque Country before the arrival of Christianism, who wanted to destroy it, as churches were a menace for their survival.




If you really want to see a different church, in a non touristy part of the Basque Country, but close to eveywhere you may stay…this is the place.

The Balenciaga Dress Museum at Getaria, another hidden gem

13 05 2014


Everybody knows San Sebastian, its three beaches, wonderful arquitecture and of course, the great atmosphere and food of pintxos bars. It´s a delightful city that probably ranks No 1 among the most beautiful cities in Europe (my biased opinion!!). But visitors to San Sebastian normally miss the quaint fishing town of Getaria, whose peninsula resembles a “mouse” (“the mouse of Getaria”). Few know that the first person that circumnavigated the world, Juan Sebastián Elcano, second to Magellan (who died in the Philippines before completing the route), was born in Getaria (there´s a monument to this deed).Imagen


And fewer know that Cristóbal Balenciaga Eizaguirre, Balenciaga, the most famous designer of all times, was born in Getaria in 1895. Son of a seamstress, in a very catholic family, he soon became interested in the art of sewing and making dresses for the wealthy. In 2011, Queen Sofía of Spain inaugurated in his hometown the Balenciaga Museum (link) The museum has a collection of more than 1,200 pieces designed by Balenciaga and the building deserves a visit by its spectacular arquitecture. Dresses are shown as works of art and, in an atmosphere where lights have been dimmed so you can center your attention on the designs.Imagen


A must. If this museum were located, say, in Paris, it would be one of the most visited. Unfortunately, it´s in a fishing town of the Basque Country (as is the biggest Rolls Royce museum in the world and many others, but that´s a different story).


This old blog is resurrecting!!

10 05 2014

After my previous blog space, on the Basque Television Network, has closed down all English blogs, I´ve decided to make a come back and return to my very first blog about the Basque Country. It´s been good to notice that 24000 people have visited it in the past three years without any new action on it, so I guess it must be somehow of interest to a few. Therefore, there I go again! Focused on those aspects less known of the Basque Country and surrounding areas, as well as in food (I´m a big foodie, but of good food only!) and drinks (I can´t say I´m a big drinker because that sounds odd, but I love good quality drinks, like cider and wine, for instance). I´ll also be linking this blog to my web, where some of the proposals shown here will be detailed (I want to make this point clear: I´ve been working as a guide for the past 6 years and that´s why I know so many awesome places in this beautiful Basque Country…the link to my web is just an add on should anyone be interested in coming and visiting us)

Thank you for your comments and follows!!

Gero arte,


Mikel Mugalari


Los números de 2011

1 01 2012

Los duendes de las estadísticas de prepararon un reporte para el año 2011 de este blog.

Aqui es un extracto

Un tren subterráneo de la ciudad de Nueva York transporta 1.200 personas. Este blog fue visto alrededor de 5.000 veces en 2011. Si fuera un tren de NY, le tomaría cerca de 4 viajes transportar tantas personas.

Haz click para ver el reporte completo.

I can´t believe this old blog is still receiving visits…and quite a few!!

5 03 2011

all new posts are now on, the official web for blogs for the Basque TV and Radio network…you´ll be very welcome!!

29 04 2010

I´m posting new entries on the Basque Country on the web address on the title…and also old entries that I´ve updated with new info. If you need to know more about us Basques and our land, it´s a page I recommend. And if you feel that I should post here about places close to the Basque Country (same type of hints and topics), please let me know. Thank you all!!

I´m moving…

30 03 2010
It´s been a long time since my last entry on this blog, mainly for professional reasons but also because I´ve been contacted by the Basque Broadcasting Corporation (yes, it does sound like the BBC!!), that is,, and they´ve proposed to publish this blog under their web dominion. I´ve accepted, and the new blog will be published together with a series of other interesting blogs in English language (, at the bottom of page) most aspects of Basque life (gastronomy, sports, culture, tourism,…). The new address is, I hope you will continue visiting this blog and sending your comments or questions. Some of the entries will be new but I will also publish old ones, for the newcomers.

Of course, I will maintain my independent (but non-objective and clearly biased) point of view. Hope you like the new blog!!