Two wines, both alike in Vintery, In fair Gernika where I made my scene.

October 1, 2010

Wake up, get ready, and go.
Today I went to Gernika and Lekeitio. Don't ask me how to pronounce the second one, I don't know.How it looks?
The bus was on time, and the roads were windy. Not with moving air, they were simply intensly wound.
The hills and country side was mildly exotic, and new, and therefore beautiful.
The Basque certainly have reasons to be proud.
(There is a joke here, that the Basque will tell any newcomer. 'Puppy' is my dog, and the Gugg is his dog house.)

This dog, my dog.

Koons is an impossible bastard. Still.

Funny lot them.
The symbol of Basque pride, law, and community is an Oak tree.
Not just any Oak tree. The oak tree in Gernika.
Not just any tree, but a very specific Oak tree. Which, as far back as any Basque is willing to remember, has been the meeting place for the lords and nobles of Biscay. Which is now the province of the Basque people.
Basque History has it that when the King of Spain won the Basque allegiance he first swore to allow and uphold the 'Privileges of Biscay.' And for some time there was peace and acceptance of Spanish rule. At least that's how I understood it. I could be terribly mistaken. But there was a peaceful time, and swearing to up hold these Privileges.
Until the Civil War.
Franco, bombed the everliving shit out of Gernika, or rather, Hitler Bombed the ever living shit out of Gernika at Franco's request on Monday, April 26, 1937.
Why Monday? Because Mondays already suck enough, and Franco really wanted the Basque production lines?
Well he did want the production lines, but that's not why he chose monday.
Monday is a very popular market day in Gernika. (Guernica if you are going to google it.)
Picasso did a picture of the event, I'm sure you've seen it.

War? War never changes...

The Tree survived this attack.
So did the council house that sits by it.
Wikipedia tells me "The Basque government reported 1,654 people killed, but modern research suggests between 200 to 400 civilians died"
However my tour guide said 3,500 were counted in the seriously injured to killed.
History is a fickle woman.
However, now the The Tree and Council house is more of symbol than anything else, there is still a Council of Biscay who meet and talk about local economy, transit, and all that fun reverent stuff, and they actually make changes, so I guess they have strong political sway. I assume [HUGE ASSUMPTION HERE PEOPLE, THIS ISN'T EVEN CLOSE TO FACT] that it was the cessation of their under the table support of ETA that caused a large declined in ETA activity.[/HUGE ASSUMPTION] (For those of you who don't read code, that means I'm done making Huge assumptions. But worry not, the normally large sized ones will continue to be made.)
You see ETA recently has lost a lot of it's under the table support, and ETA busts are more frequent and their attacks are much less.
Of course, at some point, the Privileges were swept aside and Spain claimed Biscay as mostly its own. (France took a little bit too. The traditional beret is actually a Basque thing, and many old Basque men will wear such a beret here. It is actually considered Hill-billy to do so, like trucker hats floating on the top of the head, they hide baldness. For some reason I want to see Kei$ha wearing a Biscay Beret with her aviator glasses... or are trucker hats finally out of pop culture?)
Back to Gernika, here are some photos for your viewing pleasure.

The Old, and now dead, Oak.

The New young Oak Tree.

This thing was freaking huge.

The Privileges.

Some people are still angry about the lack of respect for the privileges of Biscay.

Next stop,Wine Tasting?!?!
We went to a local wine brewery. (Vintery? Vino-ery? Winery? They make wine dammit.)
With a very short man as our guide here.
This man was half my height, I swear by the Gem within the Lotus, and that makes him 1'7" en pointe.
The makes white wine, and only three types.
The First was called something rather forgettable.
It's taste was likewise. But it was a early bottle, only recently finished. I think it was actually made this year.

The second was called 'Holy Water' in Basque. Don't ask, I don't remember. Use google translate, or word reference dot com.
(If you didn't know word reference dot com is the most amazing free language service on the web. Check it out!)
It was bottled in 2007, and sweetened with honey. Apparently 2007 was a bad year for weather. [Which is the year of my middle shelf wine. Balls.]
However the wine was fantastic. I'm not a big drinker of white wines, but I did like honey sweetening.
(Tasted much better than my own wine experiments from this summer, obviously)

You know what pisses me off? I'm a mostly grown man (still waiting on that growth spurt, I swear it's coming), and I like sweet things. I like sugar more than any child you know. And I'll fight him for it. I will punch a seven year old in the face to preserve my right to helado or any other dulce you can find here.
So naturally I liked the sweeter wine better, especially since I'm new to white wine.
Then the Short man(yes, that would be ad hominim, and kettle calling pot black, I don't care) explained to us that we liked the second one better because our tastes weren't complex enough.
This was most likely true.
But condescending, and it irritates me when the in-crowd looks out and lifts their nose at them. Precisely why I don't like the Guggenheim (Except 'There is no in crowd...oooowwooooowoooooh!').
But the wine was free, so I don't have much to complain about.
Besides, if it's not the choice wine, it should be cheaper, yes?

See this thing? It's what you think it is.

Normally I swallow, but I figured I'd give spitting a try.
I'll stick to swallowing.
Actually in all honesty I've started spitting when I first try a wine.
I think it adds flavor. (Yeah, I did.)
I think it's like the Tea tradition, where slurping loudly is encouraged. It introduces oxygen, which, supposedly, adds to the taste-buds ability to sense... maybe there is also something about smelling? I don't know. I like it.

Next stop: Food!
After wine, what else? A restaurant.
Interesting fact.
Wine is not cheaper than water here.
But it's not much more expensive, a euro difference between a bottle of water and a bottle of wine of equal size at a restaurant? Go for the wine. Always. Water is free out of a tap, wine is delicious.
My Kollish friend will be pleased to see these, pictures of the food.

The Name of the Restaurant where we ate.

These are rocks. Not food.

Tortillas in Spain are closer to Omelets and five times as tasty.

A Lovely Salad. You pick at it, across the table.

First course, Tuna Soup. Except it's called Bonito, not tuna.

Except, Koll Forgive me, I accidentally ate my serving of fish before shooting it.

A lovely desert, with a caramelized sugar topping.

Almost done with said desert.

Where's Lekeitio?
I don't know when but at some point we were in Lekeitio.
This may have been when we went to the beach, but I swear I saw signs of Gernika.
Interesting fact, every Mary+Child statue I could find on a church was missing the child's head.
One had an upside down cross painted on it. ('it' added for those of you who hate prepositions where the end of a sentence is at. I hope this contribution is one you grammar police out there are pleased with. It's not something I usually spend time on. But for you, it is a practice I will indulge in. Too far?)
But I digress. Again, don't worry it will happen again.
There was an optional hike associated with this stop, and I opted to hit up the beach instead.
Then about three minutes pass the last minute, I ran off to find the hikers.
I found them, and I followed.
This hike was worth the trouble. Infinite fold, which may be an exaggeration, but I doubt it.

There were short trees in the way, but I'm taller when I'm on my toes and hold my camera as high as I can.

A view from up top.

The Fourteenth Step.

That's the Island down there.

We followed the path of the cross, which had a fancy catholic name, but I forgot it. Or maybe I simply 'let it go.'
Fourteen steps of Jesus's crucifixion, and fourteen numbered crosses.
At step 7 I found some rain water captured in a square hallow in a stone.
It looked like there were leeches in it, so I didn't drink any, but I did touch it.
Holy Water! 2d4 damage against undead, right?
Good to know because I went to a cemetery next.
But first, Hike Pictures!

Why? Because I am fascinated in them, and I had the time to go check it out.
Again, no one went with me.
Morbid, cynical, buddhist, or human, I was more afraid of getting caught taking pictures in a local cemetery than of anything I 'could' encounter within it.
You can find images of all the things I did 'encounter' within the graveyard on Facebook. (I only have so much battery life, and I can sit in this cafe for only so long.)
Very pretty things, made for people who never get to see them.
When I die, don't bother. Spend the money to figure out how to get my body into the ocean.
I'd rather the lifeless husk that in this scenario was once me be recycled back into a living and working mass rather than have people make attempts at preserving it, or removing it from the interbeing.
Diogenes of Sinope said, when I'm dead throw my body outside of town.
People asked if he was concerned with wild animals eating his corpse.
He asked to have a stick to fend them off with.
When explained that he wouldn't have the senses to fend anything of, he returned with questioning what difference it made if he had taken leave of all his senses. I always liked this jerk.
His name is where we derive 'Cynic' from.

Then to the beach.
This is a little known basque vacation place, not a tourist vacation place, not even a Spanish vacation place.
The Beaches were wide and mostly uninhabited. (This could have also been because it was the first of October.)
There was a island not far out, that could be walk/swam to along a sand bar.
So I did.
On this island there was a tiny little lump of earth, that could be climbed.
So I did, barefoot, weasel growling at anything that made a sound in the bushes. (Turns out the island is overpopulated with little lizards.)
In the photos it is hard to see, but there is a flag at the top.
I liked that flag.
Oh Yes.
Yes I did.
Don't worry I'll have like 340 days of teeth brushing before I return, so I'll be totally clean by our Wedding. (Don't think I haven't forgotten!)
I conquered that Island.
I also found underwear in a bush near the flag. It was sitting on top, but you had to do a bit of rock climbing to get to the flag-pole, and they were not visible from below the rocks. I'm certain no one had sex on the flag, but as for the rocks where I was standing, I'm sure someone could have gotten creative.


Needless to say after all this I was tired.
I spent my Friday night inside sitting with Carmén watching the news.
We switched the channel to the Basque weather channel.
Entire sentences in this language are one word. And entire paragraphs are two words.
It was great fun to see Carmén making fun of the way it sounds.
It was particularly funny because I struggle to differentiate between really fast and slurry Spanish and basque.
(When going out to the bars, and hearing women argue, you cannot tell the difference, I swear. Not even natives. No, really.)
However it was nice to share in the language divide with someone who is also divided from me by, to a lesser extent, language.
Speaking of Basque, don't tell me I wasn't, I may be taking a class for immigrants to learn the language. I may have to lie. And Lying is wrong, and damaging to an artist.
However the damage from saying that I would like to live in Spain, or that I am in process of immigrating will (and I am risking sounding utilitarian here) be outweighed by the gain of learning the beginning of what may as well be a secret language.

Jack pot. I have found, and I kid you not, a perfect Kelly Q. Doppleganger.
Could of been her sister. Except, and I mean this honestly, Kelly has much better fashion sense. (Here is Spain, they have none. While I enjoy the provocative dress of the youth, it grates on my 'what looks good on people' senses.)

No more picture heavy posts.
The interwebs here are super slow.

Conclusions? Ha! I'm struggling in Comp, because I suck at conclusions. Make your own damn conclusions.

Kishpike Out.


  1. A trick for slow connection/ picture heavy posts is to upload your pictures first, and while that's all tied up, write your blog post in note pad.

    Thanks for the food pictures!

  2. I type all my blogs on notepad because my house doesn't have internet, I have to go out and either steal it in a rather comfortable park bench, or go to a cafe and feel oddly obligated to buy wine or coffee... But I am glad you like the pix.

  3. Point of note: NEVER trust tour guides. One told me that Julius Caesar is buried in the Pantheon. He most definitely is not. Also, I miss good wine that I can afford. Your blog makes me terribly homesick, and I've never been to Spain.