Our Summer USAC group in Bilbao decided to take a midweek break yesterday, which I am totally okay with.
All 30 something of us students hopped on a bus and were taken to San Juan de Luz, France (Saint Jean de Luz in French). Translated into English, this means Saint Juan of the Light. It is a small fisherman’s town with a population of about 13,000 and is located in the French Basque Country. All of the buildings and architecture have been preserved to keep the town looking picturesque. It is very different from the United States, in that we are continuously trying to modernize the look of our cities, but here I feel as though I have traveled back in time. There’s something magical about walking around the cobblestone streets here in Europe. We got to tour through their most famous market, hang out by the beach, and get some shopping in. They aren’t kidding when they say that France has the best croissants. The language barrier was particularly hard for me. The drive from Bilbao to France is only a mere two hours, and the border is clearly separated by a river. It’s amazing how such a short drive separates two completely different languages, but the Basque culture remains the same.
Our next stop was San Sebastián, Spain. This is one of the most popular tourist cities in the Basque country that most of you may be more familiar with. Thank goodness the weather was cooperating, because it was beautiful there! They are most famous for their beaches and awesome waves for surfing. The most famous beach is called La Concha and is shaped like a shell. We first stopped to get some lunch at a restaurant. I have to say, all of the food here is amazing. I have yet to eat something that I do not like. I do miss some American food, especially grilled cheese. I don’t know why, but I can’t get it off my mind. I even asked my mom to bring me a grilled cheese when she picks me up from the airport, lol too much? After lunch, we got to attend the Aquarium. I have never been to an Aquarium before, so I was looking forward to being a giddy little kid looking at fish. We even got to see Bruce, Nemo, and Dory! We also toured through a Museum of the Basque influence on Independence in America. It was quite interesting and there were a lot of things I had no idea took place. The Basque culture is full of surprises. After, we hiked up a mountain to get a better view of the beaches and La Isla de Santa Clara. There were castles everywhere! I wish we could have gone in one of them, but that will be for another time. The views were stunning and very rewarding after a long day of exploring.
Safe to say, everyone passed out on the bus on the way home. It was a perfect day for an excursion and I would do it again in a heartbeat. Thank you USAC Bilbao!