There’s somewhat of an end-of-term feeling around here and our thoughts have turned to the approaching summer, travels, and of course the beautiful Basque Country. And once again we will shamelessly borrow a video from our good friends at About Basque Country, this time one that showcases the amazing Kakueta Gorge.
We did already write about this landmark site in a previous post but we also think it’s well worth revisiting one of the truly remarkable spots in the Basque Country, a little piece of Amazonia in Xiberoa/Zuberoa!
This also got us to thinking about other interesting or emblematic sites … especially those off the beaten track somewhat. So if you have any suggestions why not let us know? We’d be happy to share your thoughts!
For those of you who may be lucky enough to get to visit the Basque Country sometime, we thought we’d share a few of our favorite places with you.
At the easternmost extent of the Basque Country, deep in the heart of the mountains separating Zuberoa (or Xiberoa) from Navarre, lies the Kakueta Gorge. For some, the explosion of flora that greets those entering into the gorge, the product of a temperate microclimate in this normally harsher mountain landscape, reminds them of the Amazon Rain Forest. For others, its turquoise lake, the vultures that habitually circle overhead, and the chance of seeing strange creatures like the Pyrenean Desman, lend an otherwordly, almost Lord of the Rings-like quality to the landscape.
A purpose-built trail allows visitors to enjoy a 2-kilometer hike into the heart of the gorge. Photo by Havang(nl), via Wikimedia Commons
The Kakueta Gorge is in the terrain of a village known as Sainte-Engrâce (in French) or Santazi, Santa Grazi, or Urdatx (in Basque). The village and its inhabitants have been the object of study of the Center’s own Sandra Ott in her book, The Circle of Mountains. This ethnography, one of the best ever written about a Basque community, addresses multiple dimensions of Basque culture in this this small, isolated community. It demonstrates in vivid detail how people interact not just with one another but with the landscape around them.
A constant flow of water aliments this lush landscape. Photo by Havang(nl), via Wikimedia Commons