A Day Hike with Mate Edu…And Lunch!

EDUUglyChurch

Church From Hell

We received a welcomed invitation from our mate Edu to come for a visit & see his village of Bergara, do a decent hill hike in Oñati‘s Aizkorri-Aratz Natural Park and then…lunch! So we packed up Gertie early one Saturday morning, turned on Google Maps & away we went…

The first sight we saw upon arrival at the park was this church – the Sanctuary of Arantzazu…coincidentally the architect (famous, apparently in Spain) was there that very day presenting his new book & giving a talk. It was a scary building – a perfect paradigm of what is called ‘brutalism’ architecture. It was about as inviting as a concentration camp – the inside main chapel looked liked it came from a scene in the Hunger Games.

EDUCrypt

Da Crypt Was Creepy…

Below the church was a crypt that was decorated with dark & menacing murals. Mate Edu said they had been painted by a man who had lived in our hometown of Hondarribia for years. Hondarribia strikes us as a bright, cheerful, sunny place – not sure where all the darkness & doom came from…religion maybe?

EDUScenes

Da Hike…Oñati: Top Left – Sheep Traffic Jam; Wee Pony; Up Hill Slog; Mountain Plateau Pathway Conference

Edu had warned us that start of the walk (in reality, all of it) was a bit ‘tough’ and we guess that by that he meant it was a serious up hill slog for almost 2 hours (Hound #1 Billie loved all of it). Then we reached the top plateau & it was stunning – we lucked out in arriving about 45 minutes before the misty cloud descended and made any views farther than a couple of yards impossible. We were quite amused and impressed that we only heard people speaking Basque – no Español, no English and mos def no French. So we were truly in ‘Basque Land’…

EduWalk

The Mountain Plateau…

We all were in need of a bit of rejuvenating sustenance other than water, and lo & behold there is a pub on the top of the mountain. We quickly ordered up some cervazas & chorizo pintxos & Edu’s favourite – caldo (warm broth) – and had a wee rest table side.

EDUPub

Top O’Da Hill…a Pub! Yay!: Top Left: Siesta Sign – Matts To Borrow; Pub; Pub Dining Room; Coat Rack Basque Symbol Lauburu

The amble down the hill was moderately more pleasant than the sweaty climb up, and we were highly motivated by a luncheon booking that Edu had made which had come highly recommended by his sister. We appeared at the door of Goiko Venta right on the stroke of 3 (Spanish & lunch – go figure).

EDUGroupPics

Top Left: Goiko Venta, Gertie the Land Rover & Crew; Happy Campers on the Terrace

Goiko Venta was a step or two up from our typical menu del día establishments – we thought very high class, and possibly very high prices. But a glance at the menu revealed a €26 luncheon delight – choice made!

EDUStarters2

Top Left: On The House Amuse-bouche – Smoked Salmon; Two Mates; Goiko Venta

EDUStarters

Top: Warm Duck Salad; Vino del Día; Eggplant Thing

The boys went the meat route for starters – a warm duck salad with bitter greens. It did the trick for us two and Hound #2 went her usual veggie path & delighted in the baked eggplant.

EDULunchMains

Top: Lomo de Cerdo (Pork Loin); Steak (Entrecot); Squid in it own Ink

Everyone went their separate ways with the mains…Edu hopped on a Basque traditional dish of squid in its own ink (hard to photo correctly as it’s ALL BLACK); Hound #2 veered hard right (for her) and actually chose a savoury grilled steak; and I finished out the meat menu with a perfectly grilled pork loin with mustard sauce & puréed mash.

EDUDessert

Desserts – Yum!: Cheesecakey Thing with Sorbet; Warm Pear Tart with Scream

We all agreed on one thing – the desserts were all winners. A win-win all round – us, the desserts, Goiko Venta, the hike…

Muchas gracias to our amigo Edu for organising and hosting a wonderful Saturday in el campo…

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