Salt mines and mediaeval cities… Alava in the Basque Country boasts some incredible examples! But rarely seen by those visitors who come to discover the Basque Country….
Our culinary history here in the Basque Country is normally linked to our seas and our green pastures, however as we all know, that taste and our sense of it is enhanced by the addition of one key ingredient….Salt!!
Here in Euskadi we have a salt ‘mine’ which dates back millennia, in fact we don’t yet truly know how old as the archaeologists are still working away! Close to Vitoria, it works perfectly for a different Basque Tour, where we could combine a visit and tasting (yes a salt tasting!!) with a Wine bodega and a visit to the beautiful old town of the Basque Capital of Vitoria-Gasteiz.
Full of history, Vitoria-Gasteiz is now very peaceful but it’s past is chequered with many stories, battles and wars. The Roman Empire, the middle ages with the various iberian kingdoms, and some surprising 18th and 19th Century events have all influenced the city! A curiously almond-shaped old quarter, with many of the city walls intact, the old town itself is full of narrow hidden streets with names reflecting the past, Knifemaker Street, Butcher Street and Machete Square (no guesses what happened here…). High, stone, city-walls punctured by mediaeval gates, private palaces and cathedrals, one is the inspiration for Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth. It’s shaded squares sit alongside the ubiquitous Basque bars and restaurants, where one can dine on the finest seasonal food prepared by Michelin star Chefs, and being just an archer’s shot from La Rioja, the wine isn’t bad either….
We love creating private tours, be they for a couple or a small group, or even a business incentive trip or cruise ship excursion. A day here, or even combined with visits to Bilbao, San Sebastian and French Basque for a full Basque Tour, we at Basque Experiences are so much more than just the guide!!