22 August 2008

Bayonne Bash

From central France I went south to Pays Basques for a few days visit with a friend and arrived just in time for the lead up to and the opening of the Fetes des Bayonne, a madness somewhat akin to the San Fermin in Pamplona but on a slightly smaller scale.Situated at the confluence of the Nive and Adour rivers, Bayonne has the longest tradition of bullfighting in France. No surprise that the festival is based there.

The attire is white with different splashes of red (t-shirts, scarves, belts, etc.) Even this color scheme is after the one at San Fermin, but older locals often dress in the original Bayonne colors of blue and white. No matter which, with the festival approaching, the colors are seen in increasing abundance.

In my wisdom, I stayed and observed the buildup where virtually every store front turns into an instant bar, watched the World's Biggest Piment Omlette being made, cheered with the throngs in the street for the opening presentation of the keys to the city, oohed and aahed to the fireworks/artifices, and then took the night train out to Paris before any drunken brawls began. Such great memories of music and dancing in the street in a sea of red and white.

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