To Dax and Beyond – I mean Bayonne!


Seignosse – I always pronounced this as “Sen-Oser” but after many corrections I now say “Sen-Yus” – thank you Lauren P J. I guess it’s similar for Tosse?

The Aire location at Seignosse is great with access to Hossegor by bike, and by Bus to many small towns between Dax and Bayonne (€2 per journey which is a little more than an oyster fare). It is a 10 minute walk, past the bus stop we use, to the beach at Les Bourdaines. With this type of access to the surfing beaches the site is busy with arrivals and departures all day and into the night. I would estimate that over 30% of ‘Rigs’ are ‘van-type’ with a stack of surf boards on top. We have only had one rowdy (too much drink) couple of lads during the whole 5 day stay and they went to bed by 2300 hours!

Thinking of statistics, I have driven 1200 miles so far and haven’t come across a single pot-hole yet.  British government take note!!

Dax …

The visit to Dax was a little disappointing as the town isn’t particularly attractive and a little run-down. Struggled to find a decent bistro for lunch and ended up with a prawn salad. I explained, in my best French, that I was a veggie that ate poisson, but that wasn’t met with much enthusiasm. Dax is ‘famous’ for its spa built by the Romans.  I got quite a shock when I felt the water, only to find it was the temperature to burn skin!

Roman Spa in Dax

There are the remains of an early Fort here, but only one wall remains. In the end decided to get the earlier bus home.

I forgot to mention … waiting at the bus stop that morning and the bus turns up.  Told the driver in my best French that I wanted to adult fares to Dax. Driver produced the tickets and requested €4, did a double take and said this bus goes to Bayonne!  I said “pardon” and started back off the bus, at which point the driver looked very peeved and pointed to the produced tickets.  I’m sure the accountant will understand! It seems that sometimes (and this is very variable) you wait at one bus stop to travel in either direction, so make sure you check the sign on the front of the bus.

Bayonne …

Up early the next day to go to Bayonne and waited at the same bus stop hoping that it would be a different driver. Thankfully it was!

Bayonne is a much bigger town, err actually a city, and once you cross the bridge over the river Ardour (the one I mentioned in an earlier blog that was diverted from Hossegor many moons ago) into the Grand Bayonne district it is charming, with narrow medieval streets.  The cathedral here is in the Gothic style and reminded me of the Notre Dame in Paris. Despite views to the contrary I was able to enter the Cathedral without bursting into flames – see 2nd picture as evidence!

The Cathedral of Saint Mary of Bayonne
Model of the Bayonne Cathedral

The river Nive also flows in Bayonne and both meet.  I think the Nive is officially a tributary of the Ardour.

The junction of the Ardour and Nive

When you cross the Nive you enter the Petit Bayonne district and this is where the Basque Museum is situated. Yes, Bayonne is in the Basque Region. The museum is well worth a visit and I couldn’t understand the negative comments reviewers had made? Lots about sheep farmers and Brebis cheese. In their spare time the men do a lot of dancing, there is the Fandango (a regional dance that we’ve all heard of), some dancing that looks like the ‘ pas de deux’ in ballet and some general ‘Morris’ type stuff whilst wearing large hats. Seriously, some really interesting exhibits from the Region. There was also an exhibition about Tromelin Island in the Indian Ocean, where in 1761 a ship ran aground.  The crew built a new ship out of the parts, but it was substantially smaller, that meant that they had to leave behind their cargo of Madagascan slaves. Nice!

15 years later, 8 women and one child where rescued and taken back to France where they where granted freedom. One exhibit of note, was a map being screened showing how the Basque Region was formed throughout the ages. This included maps of Spain and France – 14th Century and there it was … 60% of France was under the monarchy of ‘Angleterre’!!!!

Wildlife Special …

Some interesting wildlife has turned up, first was this I spotted walking past our Rig in Seignosse Aire – one of my favourites …

Female Stag Beetle

This one completely surprised me as I spotted it on the pavement while walking back to la gare in Dax, – an absolute stunner and another of my favourites …

Praying Mantis

We had strolled down to Les Bourdaines beach in Seignosse to walk off dinner that evening and I saw an insect struggling to carry something. This was the ‘something’ …

Paralysed and embedded caterpillar

I watched the wasp find a spot by some grass, then bury the caterpillar (I did put it back after the photo!). When you think about how thin a wasp’s legs are, shoveling sand is quite a task, which she accomplished at an impressive speed. This is the wasp

 

Red-banded Sand Wasp

This one landed on my leg in Seignosse, I assume after falling from a tree. It is the caterpillar from a Vapourer Moth.  Apparently it is the 3rd most commonly searched for caterpillar to identify and is very common in the UK, probably because of the hairs that look like antennae …

Vapourer Moth Caterpillar

And now a sad tale …

Jasmin squealed this morning when putting on her water shoes.  “Paul, there’s a slug in my shoe!” My job to clean up these things 🙂 I looked in the shoe and extracted some matter – it was the husk of our friend we have just been reading about (not the same one, who knows?). On further inspection, the squashed ‘slug’ was the ex-pupa of said caterpillar. Only one point to make in this sad tale, the size differential between the tiny caterpillar and the massive pupa. How does that happen?

Finally …

I’ve been writing this blog for a while now – do you find it interesting? It is aimed at providing a small insight into my retirement travels to a larger audience that my FB site, with more depth and a little humour. Let me know your thoughts, even with just a ‘Like’:-)

Au revoir.

 

 

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4 thoughts on “To Dax and Beyond – I mean Bayonne!”

  1. It makes me chuckle and enjoy reading about lots of new things. Always been impressed by your understanding and knowledge. Some of it is actually quite interesting to read ! Love the pictures and so happy you are both having a fantastic time x

    Like

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