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Published: September 22nd 2008
Yesterday was the International Day of Peace and we started it by visiting the Museum of Peace in Gernika- www.peacemuseumguernica.org. The ETA spent it setting off 3 bombs, the closest to us was in Ondarroa, 30 km from where we are staying. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7628555.stm
The Gernika Peace Museum was inspired by the bombing of Gernika on April 26, 1937. On that day Hitler ordered, with the permission of Franco, the first-ever saturation bombing raids on a civilian center. The city was destroyed and more than 1600 people were killed, many while attending the weekly market that is still held each Monday in the main plaza. The museum focuses on the lesson in peace taught by the survivors of the bombing through their reconciliation with their attackers, in addition to other instances of reconciliation and mediation for peace all over the world. Driving around the area we've seen numerous signs, posters, and works of graffiti, all demonstrating the desire of the Basque to become independent from Spain. Yesterday's bombings were another effort by the ETA to draw attention to this campaign.
We spent much of yesterday afternoon on the beach. It was a beautiful day and there were many kayakers surfing the
Looks like Scotland
waves, as well as traditional surfers. Many families were enjoying the day - the weather here is much like we have in Oregon, only with more rain, so this unusually warm, clear day was welcomed by many.
Last night we cleaned up and drove back into Gernika to make a dinner of tapas, or "pintxos" as they are called by the Basque. We were surprised to see how alive the city was on a Sunday night. There were many older couples strolling along and many young families. Kids were riding their bikes and skate boards and the outdoor cafes and bars were lively. There were numerous bars to choose from (two or three per block) and we picked one that had lots of people in it. Bars here are not what we imagine at home, they are more like cafes and usually attached to a larger restaurant. We ordered our drinks and the waiter gave us a plate for our pintxos and we pointed to what looked good. They are displayed on platters on the bar and are mainly small sandwiches of ham or fish or cheese or peppers and olives. We ended up going to 2 bars (the
point is to have a bite or two at each stop) and the cost for the evening was about $20. We enjoyed sitting at the outdoor tables and watching the scene around us. By 9:15 the bars were closing down and everyone had moved on to dinner. We had some gelato and called it a night.
Today has been an easy-paced day. We slept late (we aren't really sleeping much at all-the beds are tiny and hard as concrete ,we are missing our sleep number mattress! We spend the night rolling from one sore hip to the other. Sam said he feels like a rotisserie chicken!), but we are trying to rest for as many hours as possible. After another filling breakfast we drove further up in the hills to some ancient caves and scheduled a tour for tomorrow morning before we drive to Salamanca. We then drove along the river delta that forms one side of the peninsula we are on, and enjoyed stopping whenever something looked interesting. We explored a botanical park that covered a small island and were the only people there, and then we stopped in the town of Mundaka where there is magnificent surfing
due to the "longest left break in the world." They were preparing for the Billabong Pro world championship competition that begins next weekend (from what we could discern). The town is another fishing village tucked into a small harbor, but the surfing takes place during low tide when an enormous area of white sand stretches across the mouth of the bay in an unbroken crescent. We explored the town and then went into a harbor side restaurant for lunch, our big meal of the day. Sam had tuna and I had hake and we shared a wonderful salad of lettuces, corn, olives, onions, various fishes and tomatoes. The salad was the best thing we've had so far on the trip! We split a bottle of the local white wine and enjoyed tarts for dessert. We waddled back to the car and came home for a siesta!
Tomorrow we start our three days in Salamanca - not sure what our internet access will be but we'll send another post before long.
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