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      August 2011 > Andalucia to Iceland part 8: The House of Many Colours

Andalucia to Iceland part 8: The House of Many Colours

House above Zumaia Next stop – the Basque country. Reaching the north of Spain, we turn along a rugged coastline of dramatic cliffs towards France. Here we have still to choose a hotel for the holiday, and have a list of possibles which Linda has drawn up after trawling the internet while sitting in our mobile office. We finally choose a gem. It’s a house set in gardens on a hill overlooking the harbour town of Zumaia. To just walk in the door is to realise at once you are somewhere different – and special. The keynote is colour: it’s like walking into a Mondrian painting. Everywhere plain bold colours meet, but never clash. Tables, rugs, lampshades – everything is brightly coloured and brought together in an incredible harmony, which is echoed by walls full of modern paintings (which, in fact, you can buy).

This work of art – for that is what the house is – has been lovingly created by Elena, the Basque owner. We are welcomed by Mark, her partner, a 6-foot-3 blond Dutchman, who runs front of house and bakes the two kinds of bread which you are served at breakfast. Elena is not around.

Basque coast We sit on a different coloured chair each. Although they have never worked with a tour operator before, he’s very interested to hear about Inntravel, loves our brochure and begins talking photography with Linda. I know this is the right hotel for us.

“What did you do before you came here?” I ask him, never missing an opportunity to be nosy.

“I lived in Brazil for 20 years.”

“Oh ... doing what?” Linda was kicking my ankle.

“I was a sound man ... working with various directors. I worked with David Attenborough on a monkey film... I need to talk to Elena about this,” he continued. “I’d really like to work with you but this is her house. She’s away working at the moment. You probably know she’s quite a famous actress in Spain...”

I didn’t. These were certainly going to be interesting people to work with. When I got back to the van, I went online to Google Elena’s name. Names of actors and actresses are wasted on me. I live in a bubble, and wouldn’t know Brad Pitt if he popped out of my porridge. It turns out she’s acted in a string of interesting films in both Castilian Spanish and Basque, although is mainly known to the public as the desk-sergeant in a 10-year run of the Spanish equivalent of ‘The Bill’!

We wait for Mark’s call, meanwhile searching for possible walks inland amidst a beautiful landscape of rounded green hills and tiny villages. Perfect peace. The mobile rings. It’s Mark.

“We’ve decided that we’d both love to work with you.”


View over the Basque coast
Posted: 24/08/2011 15:21:04 by | with 0 comments
Filed under: journey, nature, Spain

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