Family: Berriatua

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Camino de Santiago del Norte
Day 8 of our Adventure: Stay in Markina-Xemein
Saturday September 9, 2017


What a fun day!! The best part of any trip to Spain is seeing my family. We spent the afternoon with 24 Aranos (my cousins and their families), exchanging stories and memories, sharing photos on our mobile phones, making plans to get together again during our Camino and talking about our next trip (Mike said that we can come back every 2 years).

We saw my Tio Txomin (age 90) and my Tia Matilde (age 97!), my cousins Andone, Karmele, Marie Loli, and Marie Luisa (Marisa), their husbands, their children and significant others, and their grandchildren. Some of the younger ones speak English, and they made it a lot easier for us to communicate. Meanwhile, my Spanish, which I haven’t used in 43 years, is coming back enough for me to be understood “well enough”. And of course, Google Translate is a life saver!

I overheard a tour guide in Donostia tell a group that “Basques spend 50% of the day eating, and the other 50% of the day talking about food”. True enough, it seems that my family’s favorite pastime is indeed eating. And we did. Chorizo, olives, and croquettes at the bar. Grilled prawns, white asparagus, ham, and salad (to start) at a restaurant… choices of meats and fish, and amazing desserts. Good thing we’ve been walking so much!

Being with my family was wonderful. If I could visit every year for a month I would. I may only be 25% Basque, but I feel “at home” here where my grandmother was born. I love that Mike seems to enjoy my family (both here and back home) as much as I do.

Family members have told me that the picture of the house that I’ve posted is where my grandmother was born. Most of my cousins in the U.S. have photos or paintings of this home, and my cousins in Berriatua wanted to be sure that we had a chance to see it again.

One of my cousins also told me that the restaurant in our hotel has amazing pizza. So, we did what any Basque would do: went to the bar and (eventually) ordered one. I couldn’t believe it. It was one of the best pizzas I’ve ever eaten. This, from a Jersey girl who is certain that the BEST pizza is from New Jersey.

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