I finally got to go through all my photos from last months travel! It feels like forever ago and I am already longing for a trip back to the European coast!
So, this trip wasn't necessarily planned. I had no intention of going on another international trip this year. But I promised my sister I would go with her when she was ready to leave her job and start the next chapter of her life the right way: an epic trip. She just so happened to make a move way earlier than I thought! And so we booked our flights 2 weeks before we boarded the plane! My best friend was going to visit her family in Bilbao and we planned our trip around the opportunity! We decided on three major locations: The Basque Country, Iceland, and Morocco.
Flight: Honolulu > Newark > Madrid via United Airlines. [We used smaller, more affordable airlines within Europe including Wow Airlines to Iceland, Royal Air Maroc to Morocco, and Ryan Air for other flights throughout Europe.]
Time Difference: 12 hours
We had two pretty long layovers between Honolulu and Newark. But that gave us the opportunity to stop in the city, visit some friends, eat at a few yummy cafés, and be speedy little tourists [my sister got to see Times Square and The Empire State Building for the first time!]
We flew into Madrid and headed straight for The Basque Country. It took about 3-3.5 hours from Madrid to Bilbao and another 1.5-2 hours from Bilbao to the South of France.
First things first, I fell in love with the South of France. Don't ever tell a Frenchie I said it, but they are really good at anything and everything they do. Whether it is a restaurant, café, hotel, or surf school, it is embedded in an easy cool. And they aren't even trying! It's the kind of cool that hipsters try so desperately to imitate in places like Silverlake or Williamsburgs. You know?
I would love to go back to for at least a month explore the South of France. I am sure there are tons of other places that are oozing with coolness. But since we only had a couple of days we enjoyed as much of we could of Biarritz. Here are the basics and a few places of interest if you ever find yourself in the area!
Language: French + Basque
Time Zone: Western European Time Zone UTC+00:00
Exchange Rate: 0.93 EURO to 1 USD
Price of Gas: $1.37/Liter
PLACES OF INTEREST:
CÔTE DES BASQUES. Surfing in Biarritz is a must! We decided to surf at one of the most popular beaches: Côte des Basques. I highly recommend renting boards and/or getting surf lessons from Ecole de Surf Training Biarritz! They have been operating for over 25 years and provide one of the best surf experiences!
Nora was an amazing host and also offers surf spas, camps and lodging in addition to her surf school! She has a beautiful property with lovely little apartments for rent. Thanks to our friend Elodie, we got the special treatment and were fancy French ladies for the day. They treated us to baguette, oysters, and wine after we surfed! And our new friend Sandrine hooked us up with a couple of Billabong wetsuits to keep us warm while we were in the water! It truly made our experience in Biarritz so much more memorable!
Which brings me to one of my most valuable travel tips: Meet the locals. Meeting residents and seeing a city/town from a locals perspective is a must. I know its not always possible when you're traveling but when you have the opportunity to make friends.. do it!
CAFÉ LIFE. Café life in Biarritz is also an experience and I always enjoy a good cup of coffee. The French are always so good at everything they do and cafés are no exception! Wandering around the city, enjoy the cafés and restaurants, surf shops, and beautiful French buildings! We stopped at Milwaukee Café several times on our trip and really enjoy the coffee and ambiance. We got a good laugh out of the name and concept [Hi.. we came all the way to Biarritz to have coffee at a shop named Milwaukee! Haha.] but we still really enjoyed it all! We also grabbed dinner at the cutest little crepe shop near the casino. I wish I remembered the name! It was a lovely little local spot [we could tell it was very local because we were the only non-French and got stared at as we entered the restaurant.. haha!]
WANDER. This is always a point of interest anywhere you go. Walk around and get lost! It's kind of hard to get lost in Biarritz because of its size but there are plenty of cute little shops and bakeries to go to. Wander around, grab a croissant, and buy a French souvenir! We decided to get matching sweatshirts to remember our time in Biarritz.
You had me at surfing.. and croissants. The South of France has definitely captured my attention and I am already planning on buying a van and living there next summer! Who's with me??
The South of France. A dream.