In the heart of the Basque country!
16.05.2009 - 21.05.2009 25 °C
We arrived in Biarritz to sunny weather around lunchtime. We met some Auzzies at the train station who were looking for the hostel, but we started walking around and lost them. We are such good friends. We ended up finding the hostel after falling down a hill (our backpacks are 16kg remember?!), and we were pretty pumped to check in and have a nap. But, of course, this hostel is retarded and you can only check in at 1800!!! Who does that??? We were totally wiped and pissed, but the nice cleaning lady showed us a tv room we could sleep in and let us put our luggage away. So we died on the couches for awhile, then went and layed on the grass outside because we didn't want to miss out on the nice weather. Finaaaaaaally 6 rolled around and we got to check in. We got to our room and noticed that our shower was condemned... skeeetchy. So we went to complain, and got a bunch of free internet time for it.. sweeet. We also found out that there were secret showers behind a door in our hallway so we got to use those. That night we just found a grocery store and made some supper. That's right, most of the hostels we are picking now have kitchens in them so we have been making feasts and actually eating for the past two weeks. Feeling nourished is a nice thing. So after a delicious meal of pasta and saucisson we headed to do some laundry and bedtime. There was a sign on the washer that said "No washing after ten oclock"... well Michaela thought you could still dry.. apparently not. Our clothes got locked in the dryer for the night and Michaela made sure Breanne got up to get it at 8am the next morning... come on we are backpackers, what little clothes we have are important to us.
The next day we awoke to not so great weather. Not happy as we came to Biarritz to lay on the beach.... yes that is all. So instead we toured around for about 5 or 6 hours. Turns out our hostel was by a "lake". More like a pond. We don't know what is up with these French people, but they do not know what lakes are. It looked like the dugout in Breanne's backyard. There weren't even any rivers or streams going into it, there was noo way we were swimming in that. Biarritz is known as France's surfing capital (or one of them), so they have a lot of different beaches. We managed to walk to a few of them, including the main one. This is a nice beach because if you decide that you aren't a beach person you can just turn around and hit up the massive casino right behind the beach. Something for everyone.
We ended up back at our hostel sometime that evening and made some food. This was a pretty sweet hostel, really neat bar area, so we figured it would be pummmpin. Boy were we wroong. The bar closed at like 10 or 11 so we nicknamed it the library, because everyone just sat around reading. What is up with that. We thought this was like a surfer's place. But Biarritz has a mainly old person population (LonelyPlanet did not tell us that beforehand).
Next day was also not so nice out, but we decided to hit up the beach anyway (with jackets and shoes). We decided to try to find the closest beach to our hostel instead of going downtown. So we took the scenic route through this little forest where they were chopping down trees and NOT yelling timber, so we walked quickly. We were following little signs that said "Ocean this way".... well the ocean was NOT that way. We ended up going through a creepy forest trail (right out of a horror flick, we came up with our own script.... it was a long walk), through the Equestrian centre, by some random farmhouses, down a sketchy half street (looked like Rorketon), by a golf course, until we turned to the left and finally saw some water. This beach town is not like every other beach town. The ocean is not RIGHT tHERE. We finally got to it, and played in the massive waves for awhile. At one point we even had an audience and they cheered us on. We found a cute little restaurant by the beach and had lunch, then continued on our way. We found a massive supermarket on the way so we loaded up with real food and meat.
We were trying to talk ourselves into taking surf lessons. But the waves here were pretttty massive. (Here's a pic of a surfer about to get eaten by the waves) And private lessons were a little above our price range. Plus we did not find the wet suits very attractive. Not at all. We thought a good idea would be to just ask some random hottie surfers walking around for lessons, but they all speak French and not a lot of English, so we figured that might be difficult. Plus looking at them would be distracting.
The next day was finally beautiful, so we headed to the beach to spend the day soaking up the sun. Which we did. Annnd it was great (we thought of you all in the snow back home the whole time, we swear). Watching the beginner surfers was really starting to scare us, so we decided to check out some other things. We went to TAKAMAKA, the outdoor experience shop. We decided on White Water Rafting because it sounded intense, and it was cheap. The only problem was that we needed to catch a train to get there, which would not have worked out for us, so we thought we were out of luck. Fortunately the young guy working decided he wanted to go too, so he said he would just drive us there and back with him. Niiice, we hopped on that deal. That night we met some guys from Holland and a girl from Quebec at the hostel and tried to find a place to party. But Biarritz is weird, and the buses don't run past like 10, plus all the good bars for young people only open during high season, which was not starting for like 2 or 3 more weeks. Sketch. So instead we asked the hottie working what to do and he told us to take wine down to the beach. So we did. We also tried to start a fire (which we found out later was illegal...) but it was too windy anyways.
The next day we got up early and headed to meet Gerald to go rafting. He also brought along his girlfriend, Lorelai, so she could translate for us (which was very thoughtful). We got to the place which was in the middle of Basque country, peppers everywhere, and sheep, and met our crazy instructor. He started telling us about what we were going to do that morning, and then he brought out the dreaded wetsuits... dun dun duuun. Breanne and Michaela looked at each other and said we cannot get away from those awful outfits. Well, the ones he gave us all were still wet because they had just been washed, which let us tell you makes it 1500 times more difficult to get into. Plus these were full body ones. It took like 20 minutes to get fully into, it was quite the process. We finally got them on and we all looked like space cadets because they were matching. Breanne felt like a teletubby, Michaela refused to do up the neck of hers in order to move (the arms were a little short). We got some crazy helmets and lifejackets and shoes and headed to the raft. It ended up only being the 4 of us plus the instructor, so it was pretty nice. We drove out to the river, unloaded, and then our instructor started prepping us. He started off by making us sit on one side of the raft, then flipped us over without any warning so we were used to the water. This is only the begining of his crazy antics. We had to splash around for awhile and hit each other with paddles, then we finally got going. We learnt a few different moves, went through some rapids. This guy was nuts. He kept pushing Michaela into the water, then making Breanne haul her back into the raft. (I think he just liked the laugh Michaela had everytime she fell out). The river wasn't too crazy or anything, we were just beginners, but we kept hitting rocks because our instructor pushed us into them to "learn", and we got to swim in rapids to learn safety positions. All in all it was a sweet experience, we wish it could have lasted longer. We drove back to Biarritz and it was a super gorgeous day out so we headed to the beach for the rest of the afternoon.
This was our last night in Biarritz, but unfortunately Breanne got a little heatstroke, so she went to bed. Michaela stayed out with the Dutch boys for awhile and met some crazy English guys, had some wine, but headed to bed because we had an early train to catch to Bordeaux!!
Hope the weather is warming up there because we are NOT coming back if it is cold.
Love and miss ya!
Michaela and Breanne