Pretty Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, France by da-AL

We were headed for Basque country. The region has its own language and operates much like an independent country located within two countries. Half is in France (Pays basque français), the other half is in Spain (País Vasco).

my husband and I amid French farmland
We had a great time in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port!

Our vacation started in Spain (which I love so much that my upcoming novel is titled, “Flamenco & the Sitting Cat”) with Barcelona, where we rented a car. Along the way, we had lunch in the city of Huesca. A day’s drive and five miles past the Spanish border, we arrived at our introduction to the Basque region, Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port. We spent a night and the following half day in the lovely one-main-street town.

Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port lies along the river Nive. It’s the starting point for the Camino de Santiago, a pilgrim’s way that’s as popular among the devout as it is with hikers, cyclists, and tourists.


Author and husband in front of French farmhouse
We stayed at this 300-year-old farmhouse that used to be a monastery.

This vacation was our first time staying at people’s homes instead of hotels. The experience turned out to be as exciting and fun as visiting the cities.


Melanie, her place, and her food were all terrific!

Melanie, originally from California, was an excellent hostess. She married into a family that for 300 years has owned this farmhouse and the expanse of grassy farmland around it.

Melanie works hard on remodeling the farmhouse.


My husband and I are good at packing, but with this trip we surpassed ourselves.

I can hardly believe we traveled this light!

Thanks to watching several Rick Steves’ travel videos, we decided that we wouldn’t have any baggage to check in for our flight. This is our entire baggage for our two-and-a-half week trip.

Our vacation had started in beautiful Barcelona. From there we drove through wonderful Huesca, pretty Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port.

Next we were off to enchanting Espelette, and into French Basque Country.

Then, back in Spain, we’d marvel at the food and seaside dogs of San Sebastián, Spain and breathtaking Bilbao

What’s your favorite part of travelling?

62 thoughts on “Pretty Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, France by da-AL

  1. Sandra McCall March 15, 2018 / 9:55 am

    Spain! You lucky girl. It’s on my bucket list- one of these days…To see your packing is encouraging too. I’m going to try to talk my husband into that next time.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Denzil TheBookOwl February 5, 2018 / 12:05 pm

    I’m impressed with how light you traveled Daal. Did you manage or did you find you regretted leaving something back home? I guess it was hard to make a choice of what to bring with you, no?

    Liked by 2 people

    • da-AL February 5, 2018 / 7:28 pm

      the Rick Steves videos (youtube & his site) helped much, Denzil — that plus my husband’s insistence. in the end there were actually a shirt or 2 & extra pair of pants that I didn’t wear! I much recommend – save so much hassle on plane, etc

      Liked by 1 person

    • da-AL February 3, 2018 / 4:51 pm

      you are very kind, Amna – much appreciate it ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Joanne Sisco January 29, 2018 / 2:49 pm

    Wow! I’m a notorious over-packer. I can’t imagine travelling so light! … I have so much to learn 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • da-AL January 29, 2018 / 3:05 pm

      all the more reason to take more vacations, no? LOL

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Patty J January 29, 2018 / 5:09 am

    Looks like a wonderful trip! And impressive packing. It’s one of my traveling fantasies to only pack a carry on. Lol

    Liked by 2 people

    • da-AL January 29, 2018 / 2:26 pm

      the videos were very helpful – those & my husband’s encouragement that we would survive LOL

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Image Earth Travel January 29, 2018 / 1:02 am

    Great post and photos!
    I’m impressed at your packing for two weeks. After 30+ years of travelling with a backpack, I still take too much. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • da-AL January 29, 2018 / 2:25 pm

      that’s so true! would not have done it if it weren’t for my husband’s insistence. but I actually still had a couple of things I never used!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Image Earth Travel January 30, 2018 / 2:09 am

        I need to pack lighter as typically, my gear ways around the 30kgs – one day back and my backpack. My excuse is that I go for months not a few weeks, so need clothes for all seasons. 😉

        Liked by 2 people

        • da-AL January 30, 2018 / 1:37 pm

          that would be hard! winter stuff weighs tons & especially having to have different shoes…

          Liked by 1 person

            • da-AL January 31, 2018 / 10:04 pm

              that is so true! even at home I feel like I only wear a couple of things in my closet LOL

              Liked by 2 people

              • Image Earth Travel February 1, 2018 / 1:10 am

                Ha, ha so do I – weird isn’t it?
                We buy things that we think we need but in the end it’s just a waste of money as they sit in a cupboard, never to see the light of day. 😉

                Liked by 2 people

                • da-AL February 1, 2018 / 11:34 am

                  I had a friend who owned a used clothing store because she immensely enjoyed shopping — but she always wore the same overalls & t-shirt LOL

                  Liked by 2 people

  6. righteousbruin9 January 28, 2018 / 8:23 pm

    I am determined to travel light, starting with my mini-trip to OC, next month. How much more lightly will I be sure to travel, to Europe and beyond, in three years’ time.

    Liked by 2 people

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