The Pyrenees: Matthew Carr on Europe’s savage frontier


Matthew Carr The Pyrenees is one of the great European landscapes. It cuts across the mouth of the Iberian peninsula, forming the border between France and Spain. It’s been a place of beauty and of terror; a passage for refugees, dissidents and resistance fighters; and the cradle of both religious heresy and religious pilgrimage. This fascinating region is too often overshadowed by the...

A night out in Spain’s culinary capital


San Sebastian’s picture postcard beach The Spanish village of San Sebastian makes an appearance in Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, the brilliant first novel that would propel the expat writer and his sparse, direct style to international fame, and eventually to remaking American literature. It tells the story of a group of American and British expats who travel from Paris to Pamplona...

Sampling cider in Santillana del Mar


The streets of Santillana del Mar On my second day in Basque country, I left Basque country — but only briefly. We were heading to France in a few days, and I wanted to see more of northern Spain before wandering Basque villages on the other side of the border. We set course for Santillana del Mar, a beautifully preserved medieval village of cobbled streets and tanned stone walls lined with noble...

Bar hopping in Bilbao


Bilbao, in the heart of Spain’s Basque country. I took a short trip to Basque Country to mark the end of Berlin summer with a week of overindulgence in what’s been called the foodie capital of Europe. The Basque people claim to be the oldest group to inhabit the European peninsula. No one knows exactly where they came from, but their presence in the region straddling the northern border of...


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