A Good Home

Some pictures for Cynthia

It’s been a long time since I was able to take a long walk – something I loved to do. So Beth Callahan, hiking in France and Spain, decided to ‘take me along’ partway.

She didn’t know that San Sebastian, one of the places pictured here, occupies a place in my heart for one funny and several beautiful reasons.

I was among the first Canadians to arrive there at the height of the passionate ‘fish war’ between Canada and Spain in 1995 and found myself defending my country — while also assuring San Sebastian residents that if they would only agree to cook it and send it back, they could have all our Canadian fish. (Great fish recipes and cooks there.) It made many people smile, though one man never got over his upset at me for being Canadian.

Thank you, Beth, for evoking memories of this special place, and for the other photos too!

Notes from a Hermitage

For blogging friend extraordinaire, Cynthia Reyes (.com), who I have walked some time in honor of during this hike, here are some pictures of Good Homes seen along the way in France and Spain:

Tonight I’m in Llanes, which a Spanish speaker tells me is pronounced “YAH-nez”. There are houses here called “Casas Indianos”. They are mansions built during a time after many from the Northern coast of Spain had gone abroad to the Americas to find a way of making a living during a time of hardship in Northern Spain. These mansions were built as fruits of their labor overseas.

Just beyond Unquera in the North of Spain. It’s been turned into a hiker hostel.

Spanish Colonial? This is in San Sebastián, Basque Country. San Sebastián was one of, if not the, most beautiful and vibrant cities I’ve ever visited.

Chambre d’Hôte “Les 3 Cochons d’Olt” in Arcambal, France…

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24 thoughts on “Some pictures for Cynthia”

  1. Isn’t it lovely when you can walk with friends? And, of course, I am intrigued by your San Sebastian story, especially the man who never got over his upset about your nationality.

      1. The irony: the most public nude beach I’ve ever seen, so those people weren’t buying the swimwear. The beach was just below the gorgeous promenade where grandmothers — many dressed in chanel suits and other fine clothing – pushed their grandbabies in expensive-looking prams. This impression, though, was nicely offset when I met quite ordinary people who had remained friends since early childhood, attending every significant event in each other’s lives – a kind of extended family of neighbours who remained connected throughout their lives. Basque culture was interesting, and their food and many tapas bars were great to visit.

  2. Those are beautiful homes in France and Spain! I looked up the fish war.

    Your story about the man who could not get over his upset at you being Canadian intrigues me. I had a strange experience once with a listener at a brewpub where Rick and I were playing, many years back. People do occasionally ask where we’re from. When I told them the name of the town, one table of listeners withdrew in horror. I took the next break to tell people at that table we were from the east coast and had just moved here. What did they know about the area? It was then I learned some believe there was a cult here in town that “killed and ate children”. I assured the man we did not know anything about that, had heard nothing of it, and the real estate agent had not mentioned it. I’m not sure he was ever convinced. 🙂

    1. Wow, Lavinia! Rereading this, I can imagine how nonplussed you must have been. Reminds me a little of Waco, Texas. I suspect the best gift that place has received is the work of Chip and Joanna Gaines, the builder-designer duo who renovates homes in Waco, and have a number of businesses there that attract tens of thousands. Before that, Waco had such a bad name in the minds of outsiders.

      1. I looked up Chip and Joanna. They sound like a great complementary team.

        I had asked a number of locals here about the alleged “cult”. I was told there was some sort of cult up in the hills long ago, but it had nothing to do with killing and eating children. I suppose that is how myths and legends are born, a kernel of truth fueled by fear and imagination.

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