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My girlfriend wanted to take advantage of the two bank holidays during the Queen's Jubilee celebration the first week of June. We thought of going to Greece, Cyprus, Tunisia — somewhere close and sunny that wouldn't cost too much. But then I remembered that my voice teacher owns a couple of flats in French Basqueland. He offered to let us stay there, and then I saw The Basque History of the World in a charity shop and our holiday was set.
This book proved indispensable. While the writing may be clunky at times, the material is so fascinating the stylistic deficiencies are easily overlooked. I knew nothing about the Basque before reading this book, and I now feel I have had my eyes opened. I learned so much about the history of the land, the culture, even bits about the language. At least a couple of locals were visibly pleased that I was showing interest in Euskera. As we drove from town to town, across the border into Spain, inland into the mountains, I kept quoting bits about everything Basque: whaling, pelota, chocolate, peppers, architecture, family traditions, language, religion, singing, etc., etc. More than any tourist guide could have done, this book inspired trips to Bayonne, St. Jean Pied-de-Port, and various little towns in between.
I cannot say enough about how fascinating the information in this book is. Reading this book you'll learn so much about perhaps the oldest European people and the land they inhabit and pick up a few recipes along the way, as well.