Sold for 1600€ to Rekondo restaurant in San Sebastian

This first specimen (lehenbiziko in Basque language) was caught in the Bidasoa river by a local fisherman and was bought as is tradition by the Rekondo restaurant in San Sebastian. The specimen weighed 4.4 kg and was caught by spoon at the Endarlatsa dam.

The Atlantic salmon fishing in the Basque Country is very restrictive and several permits are needed to fish. Salmon specie is in a recovery phase in our rivers, so its fishing is very limited. In the past, salmon fishing was a very important resource for the people in the Basque Country and northern Spain, but overfishing, river pollution and hydraulic dams made it disappear. Decades ago the government developed a very ambitious plan for its recovery.

Today the rivers are very clean thanks to the water purification plants, and the old dams that prevented the salmon from going up the rivers have been destroyed. Fishing quotations are very controlled and only 5% of the total number of fish returning from the sea for spawning are allowed to be caught. In my opinion, there is still a lot to be done to enjoy fishing in our rivers. We lack more ecological policies that educate the river populations on how to take care of the environment in order to enjoy it to the full. Still, unfortunately, it is normal to see children throwing plastic on the ground or plastic waste from an industrial park thrown all over the river bank. This makes my blood boil and these are very important issues that should be addressed.

On the other hand, we have to be happy about the current situation of our rivers. It is a situation with room for improvement but today it is very satisfactory for sport fishermen. Numerous catches of brown trout and sea trout can be made. The capture of salmon is always more complicated due to the limited number of specimens and their feeding habits.

The policy for trout and sea trout is catch and release, for salmon a special permit is needed and there is a limitation on the number of catches with death.

We will continue to fight to improve the quality of our rivers for us and for future generations and in my opinion education is a determining factor in this conservation process.

Pottok or Pottoka

Pottoka is a breed from the Basque Country. It is a slender and strong animal. Very well adapted to the environment of Euskal Herria and at the same time reinforced and molded as a result of this special environment. Inhabiting our mountains and valleys since the Paleolithic Era (40,000 B.C.). The beautiful images of the Ekain and Santimamiñe caves bear witness to this. Until now it has been a loyal and hard-working helper in day-to-day life and development. The pottoka has long played an important role in the tradition and myths of Euskal Herria. All this and the breed’s own personality and antiquity make the pottoka special.

Although the word pottoka in Basque is used to refer to any breed of animal, it began to be used to refer to the offspring of horses and has finally become attached to this special breed.

Some drawings and images of Euskal Herria (Ekain, Etxeberri, Santimamiñe…) have as main subject the horse’s head, favorite prey of the hunters of the Madgalenian age, and the pottoka also appears in several drawings made on bones. These data make us think that the pottoka has lived in the mountains of Euskal Herria since the Paleolithic Age. Therefore, they may be the testimony of the horses of prehistoric times, a breed that has lasted until today and has special zootechnical characteristics.

The Pottoka has had various uses throughout history. It is a well-built animal, with medium and proportionate measurements and a strong muscular body. In character, on the other hand, they are fast, faithful and very resistant. For all these characteristics it has been used for various functions: riding, hunting and wars, cart pulling and agricultural work, pulling mining wagons, grain sowing, for meat (crossed with burguete horses), foreign exports (Indian army) and lately, apart from being used to keep the meadows and mountains clean, it can be seen in various riding activities.

Despite being an extraordinary animal for the above mentioned activities, today it is an endangered animal. Nowadays it has been marginalized to the mountains and useless corners for several reasons: modernity, mechanization of agricultural works, private ownership of mountains and lands and their productive utility, the breed itself and the lack of market for its products.

It is a social horse used to living in a group. The group normally consists of 10-15 females and their respective males. The relationships between the two are very special and in early spring and summer are reinforced. Each group usually lives in its own territory. Traditions are renewed from generation to generation, the topography, the microclimate and the knowledge about the plants are transmitted from one to another.

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San Sebastian is known worldwide for its gastronomy and its beaches but it is also important to highlight its cultural and artistic offer.
In this case we want to focus on the artistic offer of the region of San Sebastian.
In the city are scattered different works of Basque artists such as Eduardo Chillida, Jorge Oteiza or Cristina Iglesias.

In this short article I want to highlight only the most important things to visit.

The Comb of the Winds
One of the most outstanding works of art is undoubtedly “The Comb of the Winds” by Eduardo Chillida, one could say that it is one of the symbols of the city. It is located at the end of the bay of La Concha on the rocks. It is an idyllic place where tourists can enjoy the scenery and capture some beautiful photos by the sea.

Chillida Leku
Eduardo Chillida is a universal Basque artist who has a museum dedicated to his work on the outskirts of the city. The museum is located in a 15th century Basque-style country house with large gardens where the art pieces are scattered. Eduardo Chillida worked with different materials such as iron, wood and stone. It is a place worth a visit.






The lighthouse of Santa Clara Island in San Sebastian
On the island of Santa Clara in the bay of La Concha in San Sebastian was recently inaugurated the work of the Basque artist Cristina Iglesias. It is located inside an old lighthouse and is made of bronze. It is a representation of the seabed and specifically is a representation of the unique Basque coastal landscape. It has very curious and capricious forms as if sculpted by the water and the wind. It is undoubtedly the masterpiece of Cristina Iglesias. To access it is necessary to obtain tickets through tourism in San Sebastian as the capacity is very limited so hurry up and get your tickets.

In short, the artistic offer of san sebastian is exciting and worth a visit.


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I always say that in La Rioja there are more things than wineries and wine. It is a land with an impressive historical and natural heritage.
In this case our client wanted to make a recording playing her instrument. For this she needed a special place with good acoustics and that was unique for its beauty. It occurred to me that a small gothic-renaissance style church would suit her. The chosen church was Santa María la Mayor in San Vicente de Sonsierra. It is a unique church because of its rich interior and its location. It is situated on top of a hill overlooking the Ebro river from where you can see the whole valley of La Rioja.
We contacted the person in charge of the church and asked to reserve it for us for a while.
After seeing the final result I can’t think of a better place for this purpose. Of course the client was delighted with the place and its acoustics. It exceeded all her expectations.
After visiting a number of other places of interest we stopped for lunch at a typical restaurant in the area.



This 19th century neo-gothic chateau is located in Hendaye, in the French Basque Country. It is only 4 km from the Spanish border and it is very well located facing the sea with views over the French coast, the Spanish coast and the Pyrenees. The view over Larrhune mountain that rises imposingly towards the sky is outstanding. The estate on which the chateau is located is very well kept and maintains for grazing animals such as sheep and horses. The entire estate is located within the natural park of the corniche and today is a public domain property belonging to the municipality of Hendaye.














Antoine Abbadie

The history of the Chateau Abbadie is very curious, as is its architecture in facade and interior design. Antoine d’Abadie was a geographer, ethnologist and man of science in the 19th century who commissioned this work to the architect Viollet Le Duc in 1864. Antoine d’Abadie was a passionate scientist and explorer, he was the first to map Ethiopia where he stayed for 11 years. He was also interested in astrology, celestial cartography and the sources of the Nile. In 1892 he became president of the French Academy of Sciences. The interior of the palace houses an astronomical observatory that functioned until 1979 and has mapped up to half million stars, at his death Antoine Abbadia donated his castle to the Academy of Sciences. He was also a scholar and patron of the Basque language since his father was Basque and went down in history as “euskaldunen aita” the basque father.
















It is an observatory castle in Gothic style, comprises three parts: the library, the observatory and the chapel. The building is out of the ordinary, its facades are decorated with wild animals such as elephants, snakes, crocodiles and other exotic animals that Antoine discovered in his travels. It is a medieval building that combines oriental and arabic architectural details.

It is definitely a place worth visiting. The truth is that it is a pleasure to walk through its gardens facing the sea and admire the wonderful figures that decorate the building.


Elkano from Getaria is the most universal Basque sailor

This is the story of the Spanish expedition that in 1519 left Seville for the Spice Islands in the Moluccas. The difficulty of the voyage is that they would reach their destination sailing westward, since Portugal controlled navigation in Africa and the Indian Ocean. It was an expedition led by Magellan and composed of 5 ships and 235 men. The crew was composed of men of all nationalities: Portuguese, French, English, Germans, Greeks… among them was the experienced Basque sailor Juan Sebastian Elkano. Elkano would take command of the expedition after Magellan’s death in the Philippine islands at the hands of the natives. Elkano’s decision to return to Spain through the west and not to retrace his steps was what made them complete the first round-the-world voyage. In 1522 only 18 men and one ship, La Nao Victoria, arrived in Seville, commanded by the Basque sailor Juan Sebastian Elkano. The first round-the-world sailing had been completed, the first round-the-world voyage that happened to be round. This fact today is comparable to the first trip to the moon and was a revolution in all aspects.




The expedition departs from San Lucar de Brrameda near Seville on September 20.
On September 26th they reach Tenerife in the Canary Islands. On October 3rd they continue their voyage to Cape Verde and Sierra Leone, starting from there the crossing of the Atlantic Ocean. On November 29th they reach the coast of Brazil and stop in Santa Lucia, what is now Rio de Janeiro.


On January 12 they reach the estuary of La Plata but it is not the passage they are looking for, but the longed-for passage to the Pacific Ocean.
March 31 arrival at Puerto San Julian, south of Patagonia; Magellan decides to spend the winter there.
May 3 The Nao Santiago sinks while exploring a river.
October 21 they find the entrance to the strait and begin their voyage. A few days later the Nao San Antonio abandons the expedition and arrives in Seville in May 1521.
November 28th they manage to leave the strait with the fleet reduced to 3 ships and begin the navigation through the Pacific Ocean. It will be 3 months of suffering, hunger, thirst and diseases.


March 6 they reach the Mariana Islands and are able to make landfall.
March 16 arrives at the Philippine Islands, Magellan tries to Christianize the locals, thus breaking the agreements with the king.
April 7 arrival at Cebu. Magellan gets involved in local fighting and dies along with several men in a battle on April 27. Other violent episodes will follow in Cebu.
July 8, arrival in Borneo from where they leave on July 29. Still searching for the Moluccas with only 2 ships on this uncertain route, on September 16, 1521 Elkano is elected captain of the Nao Victoria.
November 8: two years and two months after leaving Seville they reach the Moluccas, the original destination of the expedition.
December 21: the nao Trinidad must stay in Tidore for repairs. Elkano begins the return voyage, but by the western route, which he considers more efficient. The first round-the-world voyage is therefore a consequence of Elkano’s decision.


January 25 stopover in Timor, from where they start on February 11 a solo crossing of the Indian Ocean, without stopovers, which will last several months.
May 19 they pass the Cape of Good Hope after a month and a half of efforts to reach it.


July 9, they call at the Cape Verde Islands after 5 months without touching land. They are Portuguese islands so do not say they come from the Spice Islands. They are discovered and some crew members are captured, the rest manage to flee to Spain.
On September 6th they arrive in Sanlucar de Barrameda and in Seville on September 8th, 3 years after their departure. Only one ship and 18 men remain of the 235 that left Seville. Four of those men are Basques: Juan Sebastian Elkano from Guetaria, captain of the Nao Victoria. Juan Acurio, from Bermeo. Juan Arratia from Bilbao. Juan Zubileta from Barakaldo.

Sometimes the weather in San Sebastian can be very adverse. The city is located in front of the Atlantic Ocean, so sea storms have a strong impact on the city. It is spectacular to see the waves crashing against the walls of the city but although it is a very dangerous spectacle. Every year some of the city’s infrastructure are damage by the power of the waves so once the storm is over, is rebuilt as soon as possible.

Some waves can reach to 15 meters in height and crash hopelessly against the rocks and cliffs which is a spectacle worth admiring. Always keeping a safe distance since the waves can make you disappear in a moment. The safest area to admire the strength of the waves is the Mount Urgul which is located over La Concha bay and the Paseo Nuevo. As local Donostiarras we are fascinated by the beauty of the sea and its storms so every year we come to see and feel the fury of the Atlantic sea in the first row. Always with the camera ready to capture that moment when the wave hits the city and jumps the splash of water up to 50 meters above our heads.

When the waves are not so dangerous a perfect place to admire their beauty is “El Peine de los Vientos” this esculpture is located at the end of the bay, on Ondarreta beach. In this idyllic place of San Sebastian you can admire the masterpiece of the artist Eduardo Chillida at the same time you keep an eye in the horizon to see where are the waves coming from and avoid getting completely wet. Very close there is a resturant called Branka where you can hide from the winds and drink a cofee admiring the views over the city.

As you can see even in winter with the worst weather conditions the people of san sebastian go out to enjoy their city. We are waiting for you also in one of those rainy days.


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Palacio de Aiete hotel

The Hotel Palacio de Aiete is located on one of the hills of the city in front of La Concha Bay. It is a very quiet residential area, perfect for those clients who are looking for a relaxing time at the hotel and do not want to hear disturbing noises at night. It is an ideal place to relax and rest whether you come on vacation or for work.

It is a 4 star hotel and its rooms and facilities are brand new. Modern and pleasant designs for the comfort of the client. The mattresses are of the highest quality and even have a cart with different pillows.

One of the things that attracts the most attention is the amount of services offered. For example, the jakuzzi located on the upper terrace where you can relax and enjoy a drink while you enjoy the view. Also, they have a masseur service for total relaxation.

Another free service is the fitness room, where customers can maintain their workout routine. Exercise bikes, treadmills, rowing machines will test the most demanding athletes.

Free parking for all your customers. Yes, that’s right, the hotel has the courtesy to offer the client parking for the entire duration of his stay in San Sebastian.

It also has a lounge club and a convention room, both of which have been completely renovated to offer maximum comfort.

Bera Bera Restaurant

The hotel’s restaurant is inspired by traditional Basque cuisine so the quality is guaranteed. Always fresh products of the highest quality to satisfy the most demanding palates.

In short, the Palacio de Aiete hotel is the perfect place to spend a few days in San Sebastian. In addition, they give you a 15% discount if you book through the website. I leave here the link for those who may be interested.


Little California

One of my favorite places in San Sebastian is the Zurriola beach in Gros neighborhood. It is the beach for surfing and sports in general. It is the beach of the young people. For me it’s like little California in San Sebastian.

It has a promenade that goes from Sagúes at the foot of Mount Ulia to the Kursaal by the Urumea River. The Kursaal building is the city’s convention center. It is a very modern building and it has the shape of a cube. It is a big contrasts with the classic architecture of the city but on the other hand is a very practical building. At first it was a very controversial construction but today it is an icon of San Sebastian and one of the most vibrant points of the city.

Gros neighborhood has some bars and restaurants that are worth visiting. On Thursday evening the famous pintxo-pote is held and for only 2 Euros you can have your pintxo and beer. It is a day in which all Donostiarras come to enjoy the party atmosphere.

As I said before, La Zurriola is the perfect beach to practice water sports. Surfing is the most popular and can be practiced every day of the year. There are numerous surfing schools where you can go to rent equipment or take lessons. Come and enjoy the gros neighborhood!

Check out the waves at Zurriola beach from the webcam!




The “makila” is the traditional basque stick that besides its practical use, is a cultural symbol of authority and strength. For example, it is used in political appointments in the Basque Country. The head of the Basque state, the lehendakari, is sworn in and given the “makila”.

Hand-made piece

Beñat Alberdi from his workshop in Irun he continues the tradition. His grandfather started the trade in 1948, then his father and now he has decided to continue the family tradition.

The handcrafted production of these pieces is not easy and requires time. The process begins in the depths of the Pyrenean forest. In these forests you can find the much appreciated nispero wood. The most appropriate branches are carved in life so that the plant begins a natural tattooing process on the wood. This process can take about a year and that’s when the branch is cut. The “tatoo” is well visible along the entire length of the pole.

Cut in winter, it is debarked in the oven, dyed with quicklime and straightened with heat. Once prepared, the rod is covered at the bottom by a brass, alpaca or silver ferrule, carefully chiselled by hand with Basque motifs. The upper part is crowned by a horn handle that takes shape in a threaded tube covered with braided leather. For the makila called of honor, the hilt is entirely made of silver or alpaca.

Honour and respect

It is a gift that is made to honor another person and show your respect for them. On the upper part of the handle you can carve some typical phrase of the Basque tradition as they are:

“Hitza Hitz” The word is the word

“Hitzemana zor” what is promised is debt

“Ihes etsaiak” escape enemies

“Nerekin beti zuzen” with me always straight

“Nere bideko laguna” my friend traveler

“Nere laguna eta laguntza” My partner and support

Famous people from history

The custom of the Basque people to give away makilas as a symbol of friendship has very old roots. After the First World War, Marshals Foch and Petain and President Clemenceau received makilas. Through these gifts, the Basques of the North of the Pyrenees showed their gratitude. The makila of Marshal Foch had a map of Verdun and on it printed: Hemendik ezin da pasa (From here you do not pass).

A long list of personalities from political, social and sports life have been given the Basque makila. Here some examples; The Pope Juan Pablo II, Ronald Reagan president of the United States, Juan Carlos king of Spain and more.

Here i share the link to the website of these Basque artisans. The last makila artisans.