A Change in the Weather…

Elantxobe is actually pronounced “El Anchovy,” and that is one reason we are here. A few days ago Michael, better at understanding Basque pronunciation than I, and an ardent lover of anchovies, discovered this spot at the end of the road on the far north coast. “I want to go to that place, he said. Truth is, we don’t know if it really is named for the tiny fish we’ve been enjoying, fried and pickled and cured in olive oil and salt, but the story was too good, and we wanted one more hit of the sea before we head inland for the next two weeks.

 

Even better was to arrive and discover, while eating lunch at a dockside cafe, that a rowing regatta was to be held on day. Within an hour, vans pulling long boats in vivid colors began to snake down the side of the mountain towards the bay, and I realized this was the traditional rowing sport I’d learned about in the Basque culture museum in Gernika  the day before. Young men, mostly adolescents, seven to a boat, six rowing and one steering and yelling encouragment, represent all the towns around. We sat on a sea wall for several hours and watched.  Our hotel was up the hill, and our car even further out of town. Like a lot of these ancient fishing villages, streets are too narrow for cars…

 

In the small-personal-drama department, I lost half a contact at dinner one night about a week ago, and suspected that I had a piece of lens still stuck high behind my eyelid. Not enough irritation to bother me during the day, but at night I could tell something was wrong. Five days later, in Gernika, I found a sweet optician who agreed to take a professional peek. He found the half contact and fished it out. No charge of course, so, relieved and grateful, I bought some artificial tears and new clip-ons to replace the sunglasses I’d lost before we even reached Guayaquil. O vanity!

(This story reminds me when I first used contacts, many years ago, the brother of a friend asked as a joke if they ever got lost “back there behind the eyeball where you might have a whole collection of them.” Turned out to be nearly true.)       

OK. Back to Spanish cuisine! We always have to learn anew how to eat here, as our diet in Cañar is quite spare. So a large three-course lunch with a couple of glasses of 13%-alcohol red wine and rich dessert – and coffee! – always an event of our first giddy day – puts me out of commission for dinner at least, and sometimes for the next day, with insomnia and a headache to boot. Then we adjust… For me, no more red wine at lunch (Michael always drinks beer) but maybe just a glass of txocolí, a sparkling white wine of the region, and tapas instead of the full menú, which can start with paella and go on to steak and potatoes. Still, at the coast it’s hard to resist the amazing seafood, and before we know it, we’ve had another full-on feast for lunch…

 

A rainy day meal in Bermeo, the famous anchovies, deep fried with potatoes.  

And our lunch in Elantxobe –  langostinos a la plancha (grilled scampi) and a salad of fresh tuna and tomatoes with caramelized onions.

And to finish, a photo from Getaria, another Basque fishing town, where restaurants start cooking fish on grills in the streets about 6:00, and by dinnertime (8:00 PM, minimum) the entire town smells delicious…

 

 Now we are heading inland to the mountains, so get ready to hear about “potes” – bean stews…

 

6 thoughts on “A Change in the Weather…

  1. The pictures are great, and text and pics coming thru nicely. I love the tapas..especially clamari, usuall available at even the tiniest and most remote of places. Enjoy. Jan

  2. Judy
    love your updates! You definitely make me wish i were there with you! Went kayaking on the river yesterday w/ Tonya and we were talking about you and Michael. they want to do that trip down the river that you two did last summer. We may have to get you all together again to discuss it!

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