We arrived in Biarritz, on the Atlantic coast of southern France as a result of the well planned ‘van’ hire exercise.
Joe and Carol duly dispatched themselves by train at some wee hour of the morning and the fabulous foursome headed off via ‘autoroute’ (with their frustrating tolls every several kilometres) quickly being engulfed by heavy rain as the just-as-heavy traffic made driving a very concentrated affair. We quit the autoroute before lunch to meander though back roads and small villages everywhere surrounded by fields of sunflowers diligently pointing their spectacular visages towards their source of energy. The village of St Sulpice, with its incongruous Tudor architecture, appeared appropriately in order for us to enjoy a ‘menu du jour’ seated in the car park adjacent to a small café.
We duly found the Biarritz railway station at the appointed hour of 5 pm protected by the waiting companions and headed to the digs recommended by the tourist information office. There we met the intransigence of an Irishman running RyanAir.
Pay up front; no I won’t keep the room for your friend who will be here soon unless you pay now; I can’t take a 100 Euro note and if you don’t have smaller notes to pay for the room I will let someone else have it; it doesn’t matter that the tourist info said we have parking, it’s full so you’ll just have to park somewhere on the street. You get the gist?
Normally I would have politely communicated to this lovely welcoming lady to put her rooms where the sun never shines, but given the unknown availability of accommodation elsewhere and the expectation of those coming by bus from the railway station that a room would be at hand, I bit my tongue. It didn’t taste that good though!
Biarritz is a pretty seaside town; the sort you find the world over. Groomed beaches, surf, expensive boutiques, overpriced and over rated food, attitude and the beautiful people abound.
Biarritz is also in the Basque area of France and proud of it’s traditions. Down a side street we found a vibrant Basque bar and restaurant and promptly settled in. There I dined on a fabulous seafood plate of grilled prawns, mussels, fish, calamari and some other shell fish. There also, Her Hopiness partook of a traditional Basque dinner which looked suspiciously similar to bacon and eggs with chips. Herself swears that it was very tasty and that the ‘ham’ was nothing like bacon.
Retiring to our barely adequate, 66 Euro room where the toilet faces the bed and has no door – it’s effectively in the room – we are presented with every street noise imaginable until the sun pokes its faint rays over the horizon. Our one and only window opens directly onto the pavement where partying seems to abound.
Soon, the peace of the meadow. We hope.