I first met Gontzal Aranguren maybe 15 years ago as part of what became the Seattle Euskal Etxea — the Basque Club of Seattle. Gontzal was one of several transplants from the Basque Country living in Seattle and who became an important part of the fledging club. Gontzal is an interesting twist on the Basque-American identity, being an American-Basque, a Basque who’s mother was from the US. As such, he has strong connections to the US and, because of this, did his university work in the US as well.
Gontzal’s passions have taken him down many paths, including working for an NGO of the Basque Country in India and being an amateur poet. His most recent direction is to parlay his knowledge of the land and history of the Basque Country along with his connections to the US into a business providing tours of the Basque Country. These tours are centered in Donosti, the European Cultural Capital for 2016, and are for small groups of people (up to 5) who want an experience in Spanish or Basque. In particular, for those wanting their tour with a flavor of Euskara, but who only know a smidgen, you are in luck!
I was just in the Basque Country about a month ago and Gontzal was gracious enough to show me some sites I hadn’t had the chance to see before. In particular, he took me to a gastronomic society where, along with a few of his buddies, we had the biggest steak this side of Texas (Gontzal does have some Texan roots). He then showed me Pasai Donibane, a charming water-side village on the outskirts of Donosti. Supposedly, Victor Hugo, who did spend some time there, got some of his inspiration for Les Miserables in Pasai Donibane. Gontzal was a great guide, with a deep knowledge of the history of the area.
If you are looking for a unique way to experience the Basque Country, then I encourage you to check out Golaflin!