Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Anglet, France: La Plage (The Beach)

The driver that picked me up just outside of Dax was a younger guy that drove like a maniac. I actually couldn't tell if he was drunk. After an interesting ride I was in the beautiful beach town of Anglet. Anglet is residential surf town in Pays Basque (French Basque Country) with kilometres of beaches. It is bordered by the two well known large towns of Biarritz and Bayonne.

It was time to find somewhere to sleep. Thanks to one night in a hostel in Paris and the genius internet setup of France (the world should follow this setup) I have access to WiFi all over France in just about evety street. I Googled directions to the nearest hostel and walked in.

The hostel was full of French surfers with camping outside, only mixed dorms and 2 mixed communal bathrooms with many individual showers inside. It was a basic hostel with the walls lined with surfboards, outdoor ping pong tables and a bar open until 1am. The beaches of Anglet are residential area with limited shops and restaurants. The hostel was a few streets back from the beach and surrounded only by houses on all sides with a 10 minute walk to the nearest shop or restaurant of any type. Very unique location for a hostel.

I spent most my days and nights with people from the hostel. During my first morning in the hostel I met a French tap dancer that was going to check out a nature park. We went swimming, visited the skate park, went to a farm show where the sheep escaped onto the road and explored the not so exciting nature park. She was from Paris so a terrible swimmer and scared of the waves :P

The rest of my days involved hiring a free bike from town and exploring Anglet and Biarritz, going ice skating, chilling at the hostel, playing ping pong, getting told no when asking for a haircut, getting a haircut the next day by someone that couldn't speak English and doing an adventure obstacle course in the trees with a German guy... I also went for very enjoyable runs along the footpaths parallel to the beach. The beaches were nice and covered with people although many people weren't covered but this surely had nothing to do with making running enjoyable.

The adventure course was actually really fun and my partner very amusing to watch. I felt sorry for the poor guy and had to hold back laughter on a few occasions. He was a law PHD student but required my verbal or physical assistance a few times. After we took almost 2 hours to complete the first section I decided to complete the last section "Indiana" as fast as I could. When I finished he was less than half way. I was entertained watching him complete the second half. He finished so a celebration lunch was in order. It turns out he as also 27 years old, but married with two kids. He told me his wife had just told him that she was in love with another man. This was his get away to clear is mind less after the incident. I didn't really know what to say and felt bad for being amused at his struggle through the obstacle course...

My nights were spent drinking at the hostel bar with many different people each night, going out in Biarritz with people from  the hostel, going to local bars in Anglet, having someone from CS to pick me up and show me the night life of Biarritz, a full moon beach party... and eating Gateau Basque Cake a la creme.

the light poles on the beach have power points

After 6 awesome nights in the hostel it was time to leave. I had a couch lined up in St Jean de Luz.

Lessons Learnt:
France has nice beaches (not quite Aus)
Anglet is an awesome town
Gateau Basque cake is amazing
I can give marriage advice... but I call it life advice.

Basque Country:
For the people that don't know Basque Country. It is a region in the South West of France and North West of Spain. Basque people will generally speak Basque as a first language and Spanish or French as their second depending on which side of the border they're from. This is not a Latin language so completely different to both Spanish and French. Basque people are extremely proud to be Basque. You will see Basque flags everywhere in Basque towns.

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