Thursday, August 3, 2017


Gaztelugatxe is an islet on the coast of Biscay. It is connected to the mainland by a man-made bridge. On top of the island stands a hermitage (named Gaztelugatxeko Doniene in Basque; San Juan de Gaztelugatxe in Spanish), dedicated to John the Baptist, that dates from the 9th century.
With another small neighboring island, Aketx, they form a protected biotope that extends from the town of Bakio until Cape Matxitxako, on the Bay of Biscay.
The strategic location of the site has given it an important role in historic episodes. It was one of the places where the Lord of Biscay, Juan Núñez de Lara, confronted Alfonso XI, King of Castile, in 1334.
In 1594 it was attacked by the Huguenots of La Rochelle, who sacked it and killed the caretaker. In the 18th century it was assaulted by English troops; in the Spanish Civil War the naval Battle of Cape Machichaco took place nearby.
It is not so much the 231 steps up to the hermitage that wears one out in 32oC; the return walk to my car was a lot steeper, longer and hotter. Luckily, a well-placed café helped out.

1 comment:

  1. Oohhhh man! I recall as a Spaniard Basque teen when we would fly back to Spain from Canada and spend the summers in the Basque region and Madrid. These were some of the BEST times in my life!

    Bilbao was a hot spot in the Casco Viejo section; watching Pelota Basca, drinking fresh San Miguel beer with my cousins and taking in the BEST culinary food on the planet in the form of Pintxos (tapas) and the culture was spectacular. I also recall meeting Miguel Indurain (who has won the most Tour de France bicicle races with 5) in 1986.

    Spain has given the world so much culturally and gastronomically; it's no small wonder that the British and Germans flock to Spain every summer to enjoy themselves for a change from their high-stress lifestyles. Rioja and Garnacha wines are my favorites when enjoying a Pintxo of tortilla de patata.

    If you have not visited Spain, what are you waiting for? Buy an Elosegui beret in Bilbao while you are there and enjoy yourselves for once.