Wine and Independence

Happy Fourth of July! While everyone at home was attending cookouts and celebrating our wonderful country, we celebrated in our own way. My roommate, Sydney, and I went to a nearby café to have breakfast. Normally in the morning our house mother makes up coffee and toast or bread. Here everything is accompanied by bread: we hear “¿mas pan?” at least three times a day. Café con leche has become one of our favorites and we can’t survive without it in the morning. We ordered our coffee and croissants to go in Spanish which is a great accomplishment for us.

At nine o’clock this morning we made our way to Zarautz for a tour of a Txakoli vineyard. The man who runs the vineyard explained the process of making the wine to us, all in Spanish of course, which then needed to be translated. We saw where they bottled the wine for the year and where each step of creating the wine takes place. The man explained that the entire process, before fermentation, of collecting the grapes and creating what is going to be the wine within fifteen to twenty days. This happens in either in September or October depending on the weather and the ripeness of the grapes.

After our tour we were brought out onto a balcony that overlooks the vineyard and given Txakoli to try with snacks and bread (shocking, everything is always with bread). They vineyard also makes different types of vinegar and we were able to sample that as well, and it was delicious. The view from the balcony was amazing and everyone spent their time taking “artsy” pictures from every angle possible and pictures of themselves with the beautiful background. After everyone got all the pictures they wanted we were allowed to purchase what we had sampled. Sydney and I both bought Txakoli and vinegar to take home with us and to give to our house mother here because she had asked for it.

We then made our way to Zarautz to explore the town. Our class was given a brief tour and then let loose to look around. We separated into a couple groups and went and got pintxo, little sandwiches, and coffee before we explored. Sydney, Eliana, and I walked around through the plazas and went into a few clothing stores. We ended up at a small bakery before we had to meet back up with the group.

There was a large group of people singing and dancing together in the plaza where the class was supposed to meet. They were gathered to show that the people of the Basque Country want to be their own nation. There was a sign hanging above where the group was preforming that read, “Tourist remember: this is neither Spain, nor France. You are in the Basque Country.” These people are fighting for their independence on a day that our nation celebrates our own. It was amazing to see a demonstration that gave insight to Basque culture and history, and it was a perfect way to end our day trip. Today was a day that will be ingrained into our memories for the rest of our lives.