Basque country is first encountered in France. We left Toulouse on a highway running in front of the Pyrenees toward Bilbao. In spite of being at the edge of the middle of everything, the Basque language doesn’t belong to the same family as Spanish and French (which belong to the Indo-European family of languages). There are numerous opinions about the origination of Basque, but the most likely is that it is derived from languages that were spoken in the area in prehistoric times.
We stopped just outside LaBastide Clairence, a Basque village known for it’s white houses with wood timber painted red. (I found a lovely green on green one that I liked.) It is also known for the numerous artisans that now work in the village. Lunch here included lamb cooked by the owner’s grandmother’s recipe. It was outstanding. We saw several pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela, wearing symbols of the shell on their packs.