“I highly recommend the experience to others who are wanting a walking holiday / retreat in an area that is memorable, beautiful and different, with a host who is all the same and more.” Niven. Johannesburg. International Coach.


In Georgina's Words

Topics related to our Basque Country self-guided and guided walking holidays based at our farm near the Baztan Valley in the Spanish Pyrenees.

The home of the Joaldunak
I just popped in on Amatxi yesterday and she was bent double over the kitchen table taking in the waist on her grandson’s lace petticoats. Carnival time is coming .. by far the most exciting and loved moment of the year for our village of Ituren.  There is a general buzz everywhere, groups of youths congregating in farm sheds and clinks

Gure Bazterrak

Spanish guitar ballads over dinner with Edorta
I have just found a video on You Tube that Vic put up a couple of years back – so thanks Vic. It shows Edorta, a friend of ours and professional cantautor singing what has become over the years something of a signature tune for us all on our Spanish language & Walking holidays and basque Cultural
Marion at Sumbillanea. Views of our house to the left and above it of Sotillenea, where Sagario was born
A fascinating subject I have long wished to tackle in greater depth is that of Marion’s tri-lingualism. My daughter is 6-years-old and is tri-lingual in Basque, English and Spanish. Before the umbilical cord had been cut at the birthing table in a maternity ward in Pamplona in May 2004 her father had spoken to her in
The personal touch
1.  Make a bee line for Spanish resorts full of other British people. Here, you will often find impatient English-speaking shopkeepers and waiters who find nothing amusing in waiting half-an-hour for you to mumble your order in broken Spanish, when a two-minute conversation in English would suffice. 2. Head for the large metropolises full of busy
Relaxing in the afternoon on farmhouse terrace
 My beautiful friend from Manchester (with the equally mancunian name of Zosia) has lived in the city of San Sebastian for the past 25 years. As an English teacher she always complains about the X-pats in Donosti (the Basque name for this most beautiful sea-side city) who, after years married to Spaniards/Basques, and totally integrated
John, Paul, Sonja and David after a dip in the river near Arizkun
In defence of the Spanish language and walking holidays we run in the Pyrenees I remember an article on how living  near green spaces can be shown to improve mental health. Thanks Paul for routing it out for me!  Add these findings to those of a  previous article on my blog on how exercise is shown to aid mental agility and memory and it therefore makes

Basque Rural Sports

Village school sports day
Another guest post from Veronica of La Recette du Jour. Being in a country where you don’t speak the language well enough to understand everything that’s going on gets you into some odd situations where you can discover all sorts of interesting things you would never have guessed the existence of otherwise. Yesterday was one

Home-made Basque cheese

A guest post from Veronica of La Recette du Jour. We took the opportunity of living a few months at Iaulin Borda in Ameztia in the Navarran Pyrenees. It is next door to a sheep farm run by Sagrario and her husband, Ignacio, so we to went over one day to find out how our neighbour makes
Me at my mobile office in the early days
(Here is an except from Corporate Woman Magazine 2003 on the first humble origins of my company, ´Pyrenean Experience’). Re-edited in 2016.  The Humble Origins of the Pyrenean Experience At 34, I left my Danish lover, determined to make a few changes in my life: firstly my sense of direction – I had always intended to
Learning Spanish as we walk the Pyrenees
When I started our Spanish Language and Walking holidays 12 years ago the combination seemed to make good common sense! Not only would I, at least, get to do two things I loved, but the walks appeared to add another dimension to language learning all of their own.  Walking  immediately put people at their ease – they could hang
Koikili and my daughter, Marion, 6, at our Pyrenean mountain home
Ask Koikil what he does for a living and he will say that he is an unemployed smuggler. Like many of the people here on the Basque/Spanish – French border Koilki was a very young child when he first accompanied his father on his night smuggling missions over the Pyrenees into France. Born in 1955, Koikili’s family had a tradition of horse breeding and so he has
Words are not the only tools of communication, and failing to be aware of the differences between cultures, their traditions and values, can sometimes cause far greater misunderstanding than any linguistic shortcomings. Living in France and Italy I adapted effortlessly to the tradition of greeting each other with kisses on the cheek. In some places

Farming by the Moon

Amatxi in the vegetable garden of Zubialdea in Ameztia
One of the striking things I have learned in this Basque farming hamlet of Ameztia, is just how much of daily life is affected by the moods of the weather and the cycles of the sun and moon.  Amatxi, (our adopted grandmother of 83), always says that the full moon heralds a change in the weather. Yesterday there was

The Romance Languages

The Romance Languages
Similarities between the Romance Languages The similarities between all Romance languages are striking, even to the novice. The Spanish and the Italians, and the Spanish and the Portuguese do not have great problems understanding each other. Having learned one Romance language you have an excellent basis for learning the next, not only as far as
Vultures coming to rest on the rocky crags of Itxusi
One of our most spectacular walks is to the protected area of Las Peñas de Itxusi where we walk along the clifftops of the most northern, ‘natural’, Griffon Vulture breeding grounds in Europe. Itxusi is the Basque word for ‘ugly’, a name given to the area by the shepherds who dreaded loosing a sheep to
Basque feast in the square
    The Costas Spain is wonderfully diverse; not only do its foods and fiestas change tantalisingly from one region to the next but so too do its accents! So where best should you look for Spanish courses in Spain? The ´Costas’ can be struck off the list pretty quickly. They are so full of
Bi-cultural Spanish/English Pyrenean House Party 2000
In 1999 my first ´bi-cultural´ house parties gained coverage on national Spanish television. They were bizarre, great fun, hard work, a fascinating show case for cultural differences between the Spanish and the English (and a nightmare in parallel marketing!) The farmhouse hosted a roughly equal number of Spanish and English-speaking guests and, during this 10-day
The Basque Carnivals of Ituren, Zubieta and Lantz in the tiny mountain villages of the Spanish Pyrenees have now been officially  recognised by UNESCO as an invaluable part of Europe’s cultural heritage!* (The mysterious nature of the Basques, their inscrutable language and impenetrability of the Pyrenees has long kept the prying eyes of the 21st