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October 2016

Viewing posts from October , 2016

Private Group Tours in the Basque Country

Private Group Tours

We at Basque Experiences love creating Private Group Tours. Be it a small family group for a week’s holiday, a business looking to incentivise its staff or partners, or a wine shop looking to bring a group on holiday, it’s something we do with a passion…

Our enthusiasm to make things just right for you means that you will be in touch with us from the first enquiry until you leave. Attention to detail and the personal touch are fundamental for your trip. We will reply to your mails, talk to you on the phone and together design your visit to the Basque Country. More often than not it will also be one of us guiding you too, so you have continuity from start to finish. Who wants to be passed from person to person when organising something as important as a Private Group Tour?

La Rioja Private Tour

Just recently we completed a super four-day visit in collaboration with a group of 40 visitors from Luxembourg. Some had been before so had encouraged their friend to make a group. We arranged the guides, the transport, the hotels, the visits and the obstacles that come as par for the course for this type of visit. We were on hand at all times to ensure everyone enjoyed themselves and that everyone had the best time they could! Looking at the photos from the wine and bodega tour in La Rioja Tour we organised, I think you will agree!!

So, if its a personalised Private Group Tour you are looking for, drop us a line and lets have a chat!

  • Private Group Tours Basque Country
  • Private Group Tours Basque Country
  • Private Group Tours Basque Country
  • Private Group Tours Basque Country
  • Private Group Tours Basque Country

Bacalao Pil-Pil and Basque Food Competitions…

What is Bacalao Pil-Pil? This emblematic Basque dish…

For a coastal city, Bilbao eats an awful lot of Bacalao or saltcod. There are rumours as to the reason behind this of course, as is always the case with a Bilbao legend, but here isn’t the place to let you know them.

8 days of cooking competions!

Bacalao, in its ‘raw’ state is a smelly, somewhat oily hunk of grey-white fish, covered as you can imagine, in salt. Not the most appetising I can assure you. There are several shops in Bilbao itself dedicated to its sale, with many more across the villages, towns and provinces of Euskalherria, the Basque Country. Its extremely popular and its elevated status in the culinary pantheon of Basque goodies, which is pretty well regarded throughout the world, is down to this one, uniquely Basque dish.

Bacalao al pil-pil

As with many tasty dishes, the ingredients are not complex, bacalao, olive oil, garlic… yes thats it. So the fascination here is with the preparation. I am not sure if you know how seriously the Basques take their food, but believe me, I cant think of many cultures or folk who can compare. As a serious people Basques can sometimes become obsessed with certain things and cooking is certainly one. So much so that it is the national sport (not really of course but it does seem like it at times!)

I am not going to give you a recipe here, or indeed describe the silky, smooth sauce that results from the gentle, sensuous ‘shaking’ that is necessary to create this iconic and mysterious meal. Instead I have a several videos you can watch to see one of the fascinating techniques used to create this wonderfully tasty, fishy, garlicky and oily dish. You will have to imagine how its made and why these competitors, seen here in 2016 Bilbao fiestas’ Bacalao cooking competition, ‘move’ their dishes so. The Bacalao day is one of 8 days of competition…. 🙂

The alternative is to come and visit one of the fiestas across our fantastic corner of the world from Easter to October with us on your own private guided Basque Tour…. 🙂

Roll the camera!! Which is your favourite??

 

Armintza – Getxo Coastal Hike

Armintza to Getxo along the beautiful Bizkaian coast…

Armintza, where is that? Well here at Basque Experiences we love a stroll. Or to put it more exactly a long walk along our fantastic trails, paths, walking routes and hikes. From the shortest city wander, to days on the Camino de Santiago to the hardest mountain climbs, we have them all here in the Basque Country.

One of our favourites, and one that fits perfectly in a day is the great coastal trail from Getxo, to Armintza. We have talked about Getxo and the coast before in an earlier blog (here it is so you dont have to look for it…). However the coast and the paths continue east along this spectacular coast. Its a trek we love to offer to our visitors and combines perfectly with a local lunch. A true Basque Tour, or Basque Experience, one rarely seen by visitors…

Visit Armintza as part of a Private-guided Basque Tour.

This hike along the coast takes around 4-5 hours, depending on your ability, and how long you stop off in Plentzia for a pintxo and a beer 😉  Its a fairly easy trek, with only a couple of parts where the incline and descent are tough on the knees. Accompanied by the Bay of Biscay at all times, the route passes along beautiful light sandy beaches, surfers coves, coastal cliffs, farms, small villages and old farmhouses. You will also get to see vineyards, and lighthouses, civil war bunkers, golf courses, cows, windmills, goats, wild mushrooms, oak woods, eucalyptus plantations… want me to go on?

It really is a great walk, which coupled with that stop in Plentzia half-way for my favourite tortilla de patata, juicy not dry of course, and a cold beer for 3.5€, will see you tired and happy! My favourite way of doing it is to leave Algorta metro station, which is 35 minutes from the centre of Bilbao by metro, and head up to the Getxo windmill and keep going. Leaving at about 10:00 should see us end up in the charming and little-visited fishing village of Armintza for around 2-3:00. Perfect timing to grab a ‘Menu del dia’, for around 10€… Returning is easy, there is a bus leaving back to Getxo on the half hour every hour, you don’t even have to walk back!!! Just don’t fall asleep on the bus though…

Here are some of the latest pics I took…

  • basque coast
  • Path to Armintza
  • Armintza cows
  • Armintza harbour
  • Armintza - Arminza.... guess the difference?