Jaiak in Gernika

Feasting in the Basque Country

Euskal Irrati Telebista

After a good Basque weekend, pinxto’s and cider in Donostia and walking in the mountains near Gasteiz, it just had to be extended. Luckily I happened to be invited by my classmate Gotzon to come to a local party in Gernika, which was supposed to be really good. So, I thought, “why not go and see?” The day started early, because the best part of the day would be the big market, where people from all over the Basque Country(including Navarra and the French Basque Country) come and sell own grown farm products such as fruits, vegetables, cheese, cider and txakoli.

Eskualdeko nortasun hitzak

The bus trip from Arrasate was interresting, I had to take three different busses to get there, but I had a great conversation in the bus with a guy who interpreted my question to speak slower wrong, he just spoke louder..

In Gernika, I went strolling over the market, and what they said was true. It was a pretty sight to see all these stands with farmers selling their own growings. The best stands for me were the sheep cheese stands, they always had something to taste, or they sold a pintxo for a Euro. I wanted to buy everything but after a big piece of bread, some chestnuts and sheep cheese, my backpack was full, but even that was bearable. I took a cider and another pintxo, while struggling through the crowd, praying for the rain to wait a few more minutes.

Wel, it didn’t, the 100.000 people that were in Gernika had to find shelter somewhere. So the streets turned in to a sea of umbrellas, too bad for the farmers, cause there was still plenty of cider to be poored.

But where there’s a will.. while many people went into the bars to continue the good times and some more Basque music there, others faced the rain and rewarded themselves with a talo, a corn tortilla, usually filled with chorizo. This whole fair went on the whole day, with as a climax the voting for the best sheep cheese. The lucky winner sold his for 4000 Euro’s!

After the fair, the festivities continued in the many bars the town has. I felt a great Basque spirit in the town, this was my first encounter with a friends group that actually speaks Euskera together. Even I managed to use my very limited Basque, ordering drinks or while pretending to be a local. Besides the laughs I got, they really appreciate it when a foreigner at least bothers to speak a little Basque. I spent a joyfull night with Gotzon and his friends, visiting bars, meeting people, eating talo and drinking a cider or a less traditional Heineken. Now I really believe this is the best day to enjoy Gernika!

Still wonder where that damn tree is..