San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, Eneperi, San Pelayo,…

1 12 2009

On the road to Bakio to Bermeo there are three places that you can´t miss on your visit to Euskadi: the church of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, the restaurant Eneperi and the chapel of San Pelayo.

San Juan de Gaztelugatxe is a small church built in the X century, dedicated to St John. The peculiarity of this church is the place where it was built: on top of a small isthmus (or peninsula) linked to land by a narrow pass. And to get there you must first go down from the small parking lot by the main road and then climb the 237 stairs that lead you to one of the most special places in the Basque Country. You can get a very good idea of the place on this amazing 3 minute video, a bird´s eye of the church. More info, videos and pictures on www.sanjuandegaztelugatxe.com, available only in Spanish (international promotion is not one of our strong points…). I´ve been there several times, the climb is not that hard, the views are spectacular (cliffs, forests and a rough sea) and the legend goes that if you sound the bell three times your wishes will be fulfilled.

On the way there from Bakio, to your left, you will see the sign for Eneperi, an ancient “baserri” or Basque farmhouse turned into a restaurant, www.eneperi.com. The restaurant offers excellent local food in a very cozy atmosphere, and the bar area has just been renovated, adding a glass balcony that overlooks the island of Aketxe. There´s also a “cervecera”, that is, a popular place that offers grilled chicken, chorizo, green peppers, black sausage and the likes, plus wine, beer or cider, on the “help yourself” concept, at good prices. A meadow to lay down overlooking the ocean and a kid´s play area complete the scenario.

And on th right hand side of the road, the chapel of San Pelayo, a very popular XII romanic church. Many Basque couples celebrate there their wedding ceremony, not only because of the special significance of the site, but also because of the great views and closeness to Eneperi restaurant.

For those looking for a more lively atmosphere, there´s the 01, with a huge open air terrace and ocean views. DJ music, live shows,…





Lekeitio

23 11 2009

If you come and visit us, there are several places you can´t miss. Lekeitio is one of them. I spent several childhood and adolescence summers there, with my family (those long summers that started in June and ended by mid September, adapting to school holidays), so it´s a special town to me.

Lekeitio is on the way from Bilbao to San Sebastián, on the very scenic coastal road. It takes about one hour by car to get there from Bilbao, driving on a very curvy road (those that get sick on cars, take your precautions before). They´ve just opened the bypass approaching Lekeitio, so now it´s more accessible.

This is a fishing village, or maybe I should say “still”. The number of fishing boats is rapidly decreasing, and pretty soon this beautiful village will have to find other ways of earning an income. There are three beaches, Isuntza, Karraspio and La Salvaje. There´s an island that is linked to the continent by a wall, that disappears under the water with high tide (on the intro of this web you can see an overview of the town, www.lekeitio.com). There´s a XV century beautiful gothic church, Asunción de Santa María, with an incredible altarpiece. There are great festivals in September, 8 incredible days – not to forget Goose Day, when they hung dead gooses from a a rope on the port (used to be alive) and people on boats hung from their neck trying to break them, while being pulled and pushed up and down in the water.

Still very much untouched by tourism, this town keeps its authenticity and it´s a real pleasure to walk along the narrow streets where fishermen live, have some pintxos at its bars and enjoy the awesome views. And have the daily menu at the Hostal de la Emperatriz (also a spa and a hotel), overviewing the town, the beach, the sea and the island. Or sleep at Palacio Zubieta, paradise of tranquility…