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Fiestas and Festivals

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Destination Pamplona and Navarra

Navarra

Nestled between the Pyrenees and the Spanish plains, sits the province of Navarra. Neighbour and family to the Basque Country.

Known to some as the home of the Running of the Bulls and Hemingway’s Pamplona, its a little-known gem.

An ancient kingdom, with its own castles, palaces, cathedrals, fortresses and charming hidden villages. Preserved over time, Navarra is home to many many surprises, and now Basque Experiences is opening its doors for you…

Navarra Tours

The city of Pamplona, ancient, historic and full of surprises. Home to the Running of the Bulls in July, the inspiration to Hemingway’s ‘Fiesta’ is a charming mediaeval walled city.  Its palaces, castles, churches and cathedral are those of an ancient capital. Founded by Romans, invaded by Barbarians, fought over by Spain, history seeps from its stone walls.

Less than 2 hours drive from Bilbao airport and 4 from Madrid, its also well connected by train. Five star hotels, Michelin Starred restaurants, local produce and wine, Pamplona is a real capital. Mountains and hiking, Basque villages and culture to the north. The south sees wine, fields of wheat, orchards and deserts. Used many times as a film location, Game of Thrones being a recent highlight.

A long weekend, or part of a longer multi-day Tour, Navarra and Pamplona are a special destination. Off the route for many visitors outside of the July Running of the Bulls shenanigans, its a warm and dry city, easily visited on foot. And for those who do wish to walk, its the first major stop on the Camino de Santiago, the Way of St James!!

  • Olite Castle
  • Pamplona Bulls
  • Bardenas Desert Navarra
  • Pamplona Town Hall
  • Pamplona Cathedral
  • Olite

 

BBKLIVE2017 Bilbao Live Music Festival

BBKLive2017 Bilbao!

For the second year running Basque Experiences have the pleasure of working with the team at Last Tour! BBKLive is an annual live music festival on the Kobeta hill right in the centre of Bilbao. The three day festival celebrated it’s 10th anniversary this year as bbklive2017, and Basque Experiences were only too willing to help.

International and Basque

This year’s line up saw 80’s favourites Depeche Mode headline along with Las Vegas’ finest, The Killers and the pride of Belfast, Two Door Cinema Club. Other big bands entertaining the mixed local and European crowd were Primal Scream, Brian Wilson, !!!, 1975, Fleet Foxes, Royal Blood, Explosions In The Sky, Justice, The Parrots, Cabbage…. its a long list! Do you want me to name them all? 😉

Work was done…

Its not all watching bands you know. We had the pleasure of taking some UK music journalists around Bilbao on the Friday. A great bike tour around some of the coolest spots in Bilbao. San Francisco, Dos de Mayo, Pozas, San Mames, and of course, past the shiny Guggenheim! All of this pedalling was fuelled by regular fuelling spots at some of the best and most original bars in Bilbao. After all, its what we are good at here as well…. Here are some great photos we took of our guests. I know for a fact that they had a great time, and that some, if not all will be back next year!!

  • Basque Country Tour

 

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??

 

BBK LIVE 2016 Bilbao

BBK LIVE is ‘THE’ music festival in the Basque Country

Every July sees BBK LIVE, a 3-day music festival often coinciding with the San Fermin Fiesta in Pamplona, take place up on the Kobetamendi Hill on the outskirts of Bilbao. This year saw acts like Tame Impala, New Order, Pixies, Foals plus loads others entertain locals and many visitors from Europe and further afield too. About 40,000 people were there for each of the 3 days.

This year however instead of just being there to see the bands Basque Experiences were actively involved!! (no we aren’t singers although a performance or two has been known….) Last Tour the organisers of BBK LIVE had us entertaining some of the invited Press on the Saturday morning, and as something different we took them on an Underground Bilbao Tour with our good friends from Tourne… before you ask I don’t mean on the Metro either…. Taking in some of the cities public art but more importantly some of the street art that is dotted about the city. So graffiti, art installations, temporary displays and underground culture. Mixed in with a bit of Bilbao’s other ‘culture’ that of the Pintxo and I think the guests went back to work on Saturday afternoon with big smiles on their faces and a lot more about Bilbao to write about…. Private Guided Basque Tours of the Basque Country with Basque Experiences…

  • BBK LIVE 2016
  • BBK LIVE 2016
  • BBK PRESS

 

My France with Manu – Filming Basque Country (part 2)

Fantastic couple of days filming ‘My France with Manu’ in Basque Country!!

Manu Feildel and his Channel 7 TV filming crew from Australia were here in the Basque Country last week filming for an episode in the latest ‘My France with Manu’ series, and Basque Experiences have been organising and ‘fixing’ in Getxo and for the later shoot in Donostia / San Sebastian.

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