Radiology in the Basque Country – Things To Do
The Basque region of Spain and France has so many fascinating attractions that we have decided to include a choice of two tours for the full day tour offered on Sunday before the conference.
Option one consists of vistis to Guernica and Bilbao - two of the most interesting cities of the region. Guernica is famous for two reasons. It has iconic significance as the home of the Guernica Tree, underneath whose branches Basques were granted autonomy in the Middle Ages. However, sadly, in 1937, the aerial bombing of the town in the Spanish Civil War. The bombing gained infamy because it involved the deliberate targeting of civilians by a military force and it was the inspiration for Pablo Picasso’s most famous piece of art – “Guernica.”
Our visit will stop at the Biscayan Assemble and view the famous “Tree” and hear of the history of the Basque people.
Less than 40 kilometers away is Bilbao and the “must see” Guggenheim Museum. This modern structure made of titanium, glass and limestone in itself is a 20th century work of art. After the busy morning there will be time to further enjoy the city of Bilbao, stroll down the old historic streets and enjoy “pinchos” for lunch. Promises to be a wonderful full day.
The second option is a tour to the Rioja region, Spain’s most famous wine growing area and includes visits to a number of wineries. We will have a chance to sample the best of their produce. The stunning Baigorri Winery not only makes excellent
wines but also gives us the opportunity to appreciate the winery itself - it is a major architectural statement. Here we will enjoy a unique setting with lunch after the wine tasting, their their best. The stunning Baigorri Winery no only makes excellent wines but the winery itself is a major architectural statement. Here we will enjoy their unique setting with lunch after the tasting. For a full immersion in the wine art, we will continue to the Ugarte winery that has been owned by six generations of wine growers since 1870 and is situated in Laguardia. Our last visit is to the Ysios Winery whose building is a masterpiece from architect Santiago Calatrava. Gigantic bars of aluminum form the wavy roof which mirrors the mountains in the background.
On Monday we explore San Sebastian, also known as Donostia, which lies along a white sandy bay between the Urgull and Igeldo hills. Our tour starts with the old town or Parte Vieja, with its narrow streets, little squares and tapas bars. South of this district is the commercial and shopping district which extends from behind Playa de la Concha to the banks of Rio Urumea. On the east side of the river is the district of Gros, a pleasant enclave with ambience and the surfing beach of Playa del Gros.
Hondarribia is one of the most beautiful towns in the Basque Country, will be offered on Tuesday. This coastal town is well known for the fortified wall that surrounds the old town. That area is filled with beautiful Basque houses in a myriad of colors and its medieval gate that greets visitors. A wonderful interesting town to visit and a great way to spend the afternoon.
The French side of Basque Country is entered on Wednesday and our first visit is Saint Jean de Luz. This fishing village dates back to the 17th century. The bay on which it sits is divided in two by the mouth of the Nivelle River. On the opposite side is the town of Ciboure. The end of the bay stands the Fortress of Socoa originally build by Louis XIII.
Biarritz was originally a small whale fishing harbor before becoming a seaside resort. This undistinguished village was transformed into elegant resort when Napoleon III and his wife, Empress Eugenie built a palatial summer residence there. Our walking tour on Thursday offers an opportunity to learn about the local history and takes you to all the significant coastal sites.
On Friday we will visit the village that most represents French Basque Country - the village of Espelette. The picture perfect streets are lined with traditional Basque houses, many featuring Espelette’s nunber one export, the Piment d’Espelette or Espelette pepper. The European Union has granted a protected designation to the Espelette region, which means only peppers from this particular area can have the name of "Piment d’Espelette." Then on to Bayonne, the French Basque capital situated where the Nive and Adour rivers meet. The historical center is called Grand Bayonne and is just next to the gothic-style Sainte Marie Cathedral with its 13th century cloister.