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Thursday, July 19, 2012


We've just returned from a visit to Ustaritz, a village in the Basque country where Patrice's daughter, Florence, lives with her Basque husband, Gerard Iturria. Ustaritz is in the southwest corner of France in the Pyrenees mountains - just a few minutes from the Spanish border, and about 15 km  from the Atlantic ocean.

Gerard's grandfather went to live with an uncle in California as a boy in 1912 following the deaths of most of his family during the great influenza epidemic. He worked as a shepherd and returned 20 years later,  purchased land, married, and had several children. Here is a picture of the home built by Gerard and his father:

The house is on top of a hill with an extraordinary view of the surrounding mountains. Gerard mows the field with an ancient tractor.

On Friday evening we participated in the local festival which included lots of food, lots of wine, and lots of singing traditional basque songs.
The language is ancient, unintelligible, and unspellable. Here are a few verses from one of the best known songs:

Hegoak ebaki banizkio
Neuria izango zen
Ez zuen alde egingo

Bainan horrela
Ez zen gehiago
xoria izango

Want to listen for yourself? Click here.

1 comment:

  1. ce fut un grand plaisir de vous avoir à la maison, trop de la balle !!!!
    Flo & Gerard