Basque Fact of the Week: The River of Moonmilk in Gipuzkoa

The world is full of natural wonders and every corner of the globe can boast spectacular sites. It seems, though, that the Basque Country has a disproportionate number of unique phenomena. From the flysch of Zumaia to a number of wondrous waterfalls to an amazing network of caves and caverns, the Basque Country is teeming with sites to behold. Buried amongst those caverns, though, is perhaps one of the most unique natural phenomena of all: a river of moonmilk.

The river of moonmilk in the valley of Aizarna, Gipuzkoa. Photo from
  • Until 2004, all the moonmilk deposits known in the world were stagnant. However, in 2004, a group of spelunkers announced they had discovered an actual river of moonmilk in a cave on Mount Ernio, in the valley of Aizarna of Gipuzkoa. This river flows for some 150 meters, or nearly 500 feet. The river looks like milk, but with a consistency closer to liquid yogurt. In fact, it is one of two such rivers known in the world, the second also in Gipuzkoa.
  • Moonmilk, or leche de luna in Spanish and ilargi esnea in Euskara, consists primarily of minerals such as carbonate, calcium, and magnesium. These minerals remain in microscopic form instead of crystallizing into larger crystals. Thus, moonmilk has a consistency that is gooey and pasty when wet. And in most places, it is in a semi-solid state, not liquid like the river in Aizarna. There is some debate as to whether bacteria plays a role in the formation of moonmilk. Some deposits have microorganisms, but others don’t.
  • Of course, with something so exotic, there are other stories of its origins. Some believed moonmilk formed from the rays of the moon. Others thought that gnomes put it in caves so that people could use it on their animals (see below). The term moonmilk, or the German equivalent, was coined in the sixteenth century when, in Switzerland, the pasty semi-solid form was found in a cave that was then called Höhle Mondmilchloch, or the cave of moonmilk.
  • While this was a wonderful discovery for scientists, local residents had known about the river for, essentially, ever. When it would rain, a milky white substance would leak out of the mines, even reaching the roads. The locals simply never gave it much thought, it would seem.
  • Moonmilk has a long history of use as both a healing ointment and beauty aid. In Europe, people would rub moonmilk on cuts sustained by their livestock, believing it would heal them faster. And, indeed, analysis has shown that moonmilk contains actinomycetes which is a producer of antibiotics. And in China, a bronze jar over 2,700 years old was discovered with a mixture of moonmilk and animal fat, thought to be used as a cosmetic face cream.

A full list of all of Buber’s Basque Facts of the Week can be found in the Archive.

Primary sources: Moonmilk and Cave-dwelling Microbes by John Roth; Moonmilk, Wikipedia

Basque Fact of the Week: Subh the Basque – Slave, Concubine, and Ruler of Córdoba

I’ve posted a few times about the intertwined history of the Basque Country and the neighboring Muslim empire during the Muslim occupation of Iberia. The more I look, the more intriguing bits of history I find. Not only was there a close relationship between the two kingdoms/empires, but at least a few Basques became important figures in the heart of the Muslim Caliphate. None rose to greater prominence than Subh the Basque, who began her Islamic life as a slave.

Subh as played by actor Nesreen Tafesh in the series Cordoba Spring. Image found on Nesreen Tafesh’s Facebook page.
  • Little is known about the early life of Subh (Subh al-baskunsiyya, Subh the Basque) or, as she is known in the Basque Country, Aurora. She was born around 940 and was from either Nafarroa or Gascony, possibly from a noble family. As a young girl, she was taken as a slave to Caliph al-Hakam II of Córdoba. Being raised in the Islamic culture, she was well versed in poetry, literature, and Islamic customs. She was a qiyān, or singing slave.
  • There is at least one account that says that Aurora was given as a gift by a treaty to al-Hakam, a treaty signed by the Queen of Nafarroa, Toda. The treaty was with al-Hakam’s father, Abd-al-Rahman III, who was also Toda’s nephew. In this account, she had a brother named Eneko who maybe was also gifted to the Caliph.
  • In al-Hakam’s harem, Subh became a favorite concubine. She was known for her beauty, intelligence, and analytical mind. As the Caliph’s favorite, she eventually became his wife. When she produced an heir, she became an Umm walad, meaning that, when her husband/enslaver died, she would be freed.
  • There are stories that Subh dressed as a young man, sporting both a short haircut and trousers. The reasons vary. According to some, she was simply trying to get more access to royal court, which was limited for women. According to others, her husband al-Hakam was homosexual and more interested in men than women and this was her way of gaining his attention. Similarly, there are stories that al-Hakam called her Ja’far, a male name.
  • Eventually, Subh ended up managing the political affairs of the Caliphate as al-Hakam simply lost interest. She and her trusted secretary/collaborator, Al-Mansur Ibn Abi Aamir (known as Almanzor), effectively ruled the Caliphate. There were rumors, which made it into poems and rhymes, that they were lovers, but if true, the Caliph never took action against them. At her peak of power, Subh was the de facto ruler of Córdoba.
  • When al-Hakam died in 976, their son Hisham II, only ten years old at the time, became Caliph with Subh acting as one regent and Almanzor administering her properties. Almanzor’s influence became so great that Subh essentially gave him power over the army, which he then used to become the effective ruler of Córdoba. Though the alliance between Almanzor and Subh continued for some years, until Subh decided in 996 to try to regain power for her and her son. In the end, Subh was on the losing side and died a few years later in 999.

A full list of all of Buber’s Basque Facts of the Week can be found in the Archive.

Primary sources: Subh of Córdoba, Wikipedia; Subh, Wikipedia; El autentico papel político que ejerció la concubina Ṣubḥ en la Córdoba Califal, Kharfallah Amira

Remembering Dad by Telling His Stories

Getting better with my amazing support team!

Today is dad’s birthday. He would have turned 80. I decided to celebrate his birthday by lying in a hospital bed, much like he did for so many days. Well, ok, it wasn’t like I chose to do this. At the risk of sounding self indulgent or providing too much information, I got an infection between my lung and my rib – something doctors call an empyema. The only way to get rid of it is by draining via a chest tube…

I’ve been in the hospital just shy of a week, which is nothing compared to the months upon months – very likely adding up to a year or even more – that dad spent in various hospital beds, but maybe it gives me a little more appreciation of what he went through all of those days. All of the poking, the constant sudden wake ups in the middle of the night so they can check vitals or draw more blood, and the endless stream of people coming and going, observing you sometimes in a detached way like some sort of specimen. (To be fair, my doctors and nurses have been great and have not made me feel this way, but I know dad did at times.) When he first went into the hospital, back in 1997, his heart was failing after too many heart attacks and he needed a heart transplant. He had to lay in a bed for three months waiting for a new heart. He couldn’t move, couldn’t even shift around in that bed, because he had a catheter that went up his leg and pumped a balloon that kept his heart moving. Three months is a long time to just lay there. His body atrophied significantly. His once strong body, the one that was built herding sheep and bucking hay, was gone. When he finally got the heart, he would often say that the engine was new, but the chassis was, literally, shit.

I think dad’s Basque stubbornness helped him get through all of it. There were times when he wanted to give up, when things either looked bleak (no, that heart isn’t right for him, we’ll have to keep waiting) or he had a particularly bad day. Like after he had a yeast infection that nearly shut down his whole body. His feet and hands were freezing as all of his internal resources were devoted to his heart and brain. We would plead with him to keep fighting – didn’t he want to see grandchildren someday? But, really, I think it was being stubborn and refusing to quit that got him through it all. Along with the amazing support of my mom who was relentless in making sure he got what he needed. That new heart gave him 18-19 years, years where he saw all three of his sons get married (we were all relatively late bloomers) and all of us have our own kids. He got to meet four of his five grandchildren and I know he made an impression on them. And seeing them always brought a sparkle to his eye.

But, that Basque stubbornness was a double-edged sword. When dad had to start physical therapy to try to rebuild that broken chassis, he quit after the first setback, refusing to listen to the doctors or anyone else. He was just done. And so that chassis never got better. The axels and the frame continued to deteriorate, as did some of the auxiliary features. The analogy went so far that when he was sitting there getting dialysis, it was like being at the mechanic’s, changing the oil in the car. But what can you do when a stubborn Basque has made up his mind? Dad wasn’t going to do the physical therapy and there wasn’t anything we could do to change his mind.

In the end, dad was just done with it all. He was in a rehab center and got sick. They told him he needed to go to the hospital yet again to get treatment. He shook his head. No. He was done with being poked and prodded. He was done with those hospital beds. He wanted to be in his own home, free of the constant buzz that surrounds a hospital bed. We took him home and the next night he passed, in the wee hours of Thanksgiving Day, 2015. I like to think he got a little rest at the end.

Thanks to Lisa Van De Graaff for encouraging me to record dad and his stories when I could.

Basque Fact of the Week: Herensuge, the Basque Dragon

Dragons are ubiquitous across mythologies all over the world and the Basque Country is no exception. Their version – the herensuge – shares many features with other dragons but also has some seemingly distinct traits. The herensuge also features in stories in which a hero vanquishes the monster, providing the hero some bonafides. Though in at least one story a young girl kills the herensuge by throwing an egg in its face.

An artist’s rendition of herensuge, by Iñaki Sendino.
  • The herensuge is a dragon-like diabolical spirit that often takes the form of a snake. Indeed, the word suge means snake in Euskara. Depending on the story, he has either one (more commonly) or seven heads. Various homes can be found across the Basque Country, but most often he resides in the Ertzagania cave in the Ahuski mountain range, the chasm of Aralar chasm, Murugain in Mondragón, or Peña of Orduña.
  • Stories about the herensuge vary across the Basque Country. In the Ahuski mountains, the herensuge attracts cattle to his cave with his breath. In others, it is said that he eats human flesh, consuming up to a person a day in some places. Perhaps one of the more interesting stories, from Ezpeleta, says that, when the seventh head forms, herensuge bursts into flames and flies off to the west, to Itxasgorrieta, or the “place of the red seas,” where he promptly sinks into the water. How his heads form isn’t clear. As he flies, he creates a terrible noise that echos across the countryside.
  • In at least one story, the herensuge is born from an egg laid by a hen in manure. But other accounts say that the seven heads are actually the children of the main dragon and, as they mature, they fall off and reap havoc on their own.
  • In some stories, he is killed at the hand of various heroes. In one, a blacksmith kills him with an iron bar. In another, he is poisoned. In yet another, elaborated in the legend of Teodosio de Goñi, Saint Michael cuts his head off. In yet other stories, a youth – particularly a young girl – could kill herensuge by throwing an egg in his face.
  • In some stories, herensuge is confused with Sugaar, the snake-like consort of Mari. With the advent of the Catholic Church in the Basque Country, stories involving herensuge also became convoluted with the snake in the garden of Eden and the seven-headed dragon that appears in the Book of Revelation. He is even said to be the husband of Lilith.
  • My daughter exhorted me to say that the herensuge is featured in the book The Basque Dragon, which we read together when she was younger.

A full list of all of Buber’s Basque Facts of the Week can be found in the Archive.

Primary sources: Herensuge. Auñamendi Encyclopedia. Available at:; Herensuge, Wikipedia

Basque Fact of the Week: Features of Basque Grammar

When I was trying to learn Basque, one shortcoming I had as an English speaker is that I simply didn’t know the grammatical lingo. There are a lot of terms thrown about – declenation, ergative, auxiliary verb – that are used to describe the grammar that we simply don’t learn in English class. At least, I didn’t. Even when English has the same concepts. Maybe it’s just that we don’t learn it so “academically” when it is our native language. In any case, whenever you look at a Basque grammar book in English, they always refer to these mysterious-sounding concepts that were quite foreign to me.

Noun cases in Basque, as found on Buber’s Basque Page.
  • Basque is an agglutinative language. What this means is that elements can be joined together to form longer words and, importantly, those elements can be isolated and their meaning identified. This is in contrast to fusional languages, in which elements contain multiple meanings at once.
  • Basque is an ergative-absolutive language. This is a bit tricky for me to understand (this Quora thread helped), but essentially it means that if you go from an intransitive verb to a transitive verb (for example, “He eats” vs “He eats pie” in English), while in English “He” remains the same as it is the subject in both, in Basque, because in one there is no object in the other there is, “He” changes to make this. The absolutive label means that, in Basque, the subject of an intransitive verb and the object of a transitive verb have the same case, while the ergative label means that the subject of a transitive verb has a different case.
    • Blas lo dago. Blas is sleeping. Blas is the subject.
    • Lisa lo dago. Lisa is sleeping. Lisa is the subject.
    • Blasek Lisa ikusi du. Blas sees Lisa. Blas is the subject and Lisa is the object. Blas changes but Lisa does not.
  • Basque is a subject-object-verb (SOV) language. In contrast, English, Spanish, and French are SVO languages. SOV means that the verb comes at the end of the sentence. While this may seem strange, more of the world’s languages are SOV like Basque than SVO like English. No language is 100% any specific order – in English, we do construct SOV phrases such as “I thee wed.” Further, in Basque, the order of the various elements can change to emphasize or focus on different components, so it is even less rigid than English in this regard.
  • Basque has an auxiliary verb that exhibits polypersonal agreement. That Basque has an auxiliary verb means that there is an extra word added to verbs to indicate things like tense or person. That this verb indicates polypersonal agreement means that it changes in response to more than one of its arguments. That is, the verb is different if you have a subject, a subject plus an object (and it changes if it is direct or indirect), or if you have both. It also changes if you have one or more than one object…
  • Basque is a highly inflected language. Inflection means that words are modified or changed to indicate various things such as tense or number. In English, “-s” to indicate plural is an example of inflection. In Basque, there are seventeen cases for noun phrases, meaning seventeen different modifiers to indicate things like who did what, to whom, for whom, when, whose, and to where, for example. Further, these can be further inflected in many cases. It has been estimated that a noun can therefore take in excess of 450,000 inflected forms. As one example, etxearena (that which is of the house) can be declined to yield etxearenarekin (with the one which pertains to the house).

A full list of all of Buber’s Basque Facts of the Week can be found in the Archive.

Primary sources: The Nature of the Basque Language, Thayer Watkins; Basque Language-Grammar, Wikipedia

Basque Fact of the Week: The Irrintzi, the Basque Cry

In an atmosphere full of wonderful sites and sounds, perhaps one of the more unusual sounds heard at Basque festivals is the high-pitched wavering cry known as the Irrintzi. In the mountains and valleys of the Basque Country, the Irrintzi can echo for countless miles, so originally it was a means of communication. Today, it is associated with joy and celebration.

Irrintzi by José Arrue, found on El Diario Vasco.
  • The irrintzi is thought to originate amongst Basque shepherds. The high-pitched cry would reverberate from the mountainsides and thus travel long distances. It was used as a way to communicate across valleys. It was also used in battles. There are accounts from the Middle Ages in which Basques used the irrintzi to intimidate their enemies, particularly Muslim invaders. A particularly bad Hollywood scene in which Basques use the irrintzi to communicate during battle appeared in the movie Thunder in the Sun.
  • Today, the irrintzi is a cry of celebration and is often heard at fiestas, where there are often competitions for the best irrintzi. It can reach 120 decibels – the same as a chainsaw or a rock concert.
  • Irrintzi also means neigh, suggesting that originally it was mimicking the neigh of a horse. However, there are other names for the cry – zantzo or lekaixu – meaning that there could be another origin.
  • The irrintzi saw the limelight when, in 1918, a cry was let loose from Victor Hugo Street in Baiona to celebrate the armistice of the First World War.
  • According to Augustin Chaho, a Basque linguist and author in the first half of the 1800s, the irrintzi is but one of many types of cries used by the Basques. The others include:
    • Khereillu: shouting.
    • Karraxia: confused cry.
    • Oihu: cry of calling out.
    • Deigrito: cry to wake up.
    • Hela: cry of warning.
    • Auhendu: cry of lamentation.
    • Orroko: scream of horror.
    • Marraka: cry of pain.
    • Marraska: tearful cry.
    • Marruma: muffled cry.
    • Heiagora: cry of affliction.
    • Deihadarra: cry of alarm.
    • Uhuri: howling scream.
    • Marrobia: roaring cry.
    • Sinkha: shout of jubilation.
    • Irrintzina: cry of laughter.
    • Kikisai: shout of joy.
    • Hozengu: shout of acclamation.
    • Dundura: a collective shout.
  • The irrintzi is one type of ululation, or high-pitched trilling howl. Such cries are common throughout the world, including the Middle East, Africa, and Asia.
  • As an example of an irrintzi, here is a video of Vanessa Sanchez’s irrintzi as she performed it in a lab to understand the muscles and posture involved.

A full list of all of Buber’s Basque Facts of the Week can be found in the Archive.

Primary sources: IRRINTZI. Enciclopedia Auñamendi [en línea], 2024. Available at:; Irrintzi (grito), Wikipedia

Basque Fact of the Week: Juanita “Jay” Uberuaga Hormaechea

When going to Basque festivals or summer dinners, we often forget the effort and dedication that goes on behind the scenes. Even the most cherished traditions – such as the Oinkari Basque Dancers – had to start somewhere and sometimes those ideas are met with resistance. It’s so important to have those individuals that not only devote their time and energy to such endeavors, but are the spark that catalyze something bigger. Jay Uberuaga Hormaechea was one of those sparks, leaving an indelible mark on the Basque community of Boise and beyond.

Juanita Aldrich Hormaechea – Director of The Song of the Basque – Music Week, 1949. Photo found on A Basque in Boise, with credit to the Basque Museum and Cultural Center.
  • Jay was born on October 14, 1908, in the family’s boarding house in Boise, Idaho. She was one of seven children. Her parents, Juana Arriola and Juan Uberuaga, were immigrants from the Basque Country. Juana was from Mutriku, Gipuzkoa while Juan was from Munitibar (he was the brother of my great-grandfather). Both worked extremely hard. Juan delivered coal and worked as a night watchman. During Prohibition, Juana sold bootleg whisky. At home, the first language was Basque.
  • By the time she was thirteen, Jay began working in other boarding houses as a maid. At these boarding houses, she worked hard, but she also danced every day. She also worked at some of the local stores, acting as a Basque interpreter. In 1937, she graduated from the State Beauty College and began working at the Whitehead Beauty Salon, owned by Ruth Yturri. She later purchased the salon and ran the business for another 48 years.
  • There were many firsts in Jay’s contributions to the Basque community of Boise. For example, in 1936, in an effort to bolster the Basque culture in the region, she helped create the Basque Girls Knitting Club. She was a founding member of Euzkaldunak Incorporated and the Basque Girl’s Club. She was the first elected delegate of Euzkaldunak to the North American Basque Organizations. She was the first woman inducted into the Society of Basque Studies in America’s Hall of Fame.
  • Perhaps most important, Jay was the first to teach traditional Basque dance in the United States. Her first formal classes started in 1947, with Jimmy Jausoro and Domingo Ansotegui providing music. Her first performance was in 1948 during Music Week in Boise. That same year, she helped found the Heritage School of Basque Dancing. At first, there was resistance from the local Basque community as they questioned who she was to teach dance and that her efforts would bring embarrassment to the community. However, dance brought them together like they hadn’t been before. Ultimately, her efforts laid the foundation for what would become the Oinkari Basque Dancers.
  • Jay died on May 9, 1997.

A full list of all of Buber’s Basque Facts of the Week can be found in the Archive.

Primary sources: Juanita “Jay” (Uberuaga) Hormaechea, the Basque Museum and Cultural Center; Totoricagüena Egurrola, Gloria Pilar. HORMAECHEA UBERUAGA, Juanita. Auñamendi Encyclopedia. Available at:

Basque Fact of the Week: The Democratic Biltzar of Lapurdi

The Basques have a long association with democracy. John Adams noted their unique government and how they had preserved a voice of the people within it. Adams mostly saw Hegoalde. But Lapurdi, in Iparralde, also had its own unique institutions that represented the people, where every town had a vote in the decisions of the province. And, in particular, nobility and clergy were not allowed to participate.

Le château de la Motte of Ustaritz, where the Biltzar was traditionally held. Photo from Wikipedia.
  • The Biltzar was equivalent to the Juntas Generales, or General Meetings, of other parts of the Basque Country. Like in other areas, the parish or municipality formed the foundation of the Biltzar. Each parish, which included uncultivated lands, meadows, forests, waters, roads, pastures, hunting and fishing, was administered by the owners of houses and their heirs. If the owner was a woman, then her husband or eldest son represented her. Nobles and clergy could attend, but they could not participate.
  • The word Biltzar seems to come from a combination of bil and zahar, and might mean “meeting of the old people.”
  • The Biltzar was held in the town of Ustaritz. A trustee, with a two-year term, was appointed to lead the Biltzar. He could call on the Biltzar to assemble whenever he deemed necessary. Eight days before the assembly, he would send the mayors of each town a list of items to be discussed and each town would deliberate their position. Representatives sent by each town to the Biltzar didn’t actually have the power to vote, they simply bore the vote decided on by their respective communities. Thus, the Biltzar was a democratic institution that directly reflected the views of the municipalities. The trustee would then implement the decisions made by the Biltzar.
  • The only taxes that the people of Lapurdi were subject to were those voted on by the Biltzar. The Biltzar also negotiated the amount of tax that had to be paid to the crown. One of the primary functions of the Biltzar, then, was to maintain financial autonomy of Lapurdi. The trustee also had access to 1000 men to help defend the province if needed.
  • The oldest Biltzar for which we have documentation happened on January 24, 1567. We don’t know of another until 1593. It is thought, though there is no evidence, that the Biltzar goes back much further in history.
  • While we don’t know much about the origins of the Biltzar, we do know about its demise. The last Biltzar was held on November 18, 1789 in the middle of the French Revolution. This Biltzar asked the Estates-General to preserve the Biltzar for Lapurdi or, at the very least, to combine Lapurdi, Zuberoa, and Nafarroa Beherea into one Basque department. The Biltzar also selected the Garat brothers to represent them at the Estates-General. The Estates-General declined both requests and instead created a new department in which the three Basque provinces were combined with Bearn, effectively ending the Biltzar.
  • There had been many attempts beforehand to curtail the power of the Biltzar and give the crown more power over the province, but all of those attempts failed. In one case, Le Camus de Néville wrote to Necker, the minister of Louis XVI, that “I suggest that you change nothing about the administration of this province. These little people, so to speak, stubbornly follow their ancestral laws. We would needlessly publish new regulations which would go against the morals of the Basques.”

A full list of all of Buber’s Basque Facts of the Week can be found in the Archive.

Primary sources: Auñamendi Entziklopedia. BILTZAR. Available at:; Lapurtarren Biltzarra, Wikipedia; Biltzar, Wikipedia

Basque Fact of the Week: Lehendakari José Antonio Ardanza

When I lived in the Basque Country, during the years 1991-1992, Jose Antonio Ardanza was the face of the nation. Being a young kid who knew little about the politics of Euskadi, I didn’t really appreciate all of the intricacies and nuances of regional politics, but Ardanza somehow was this presence that sort of served as a backdrop to what was going on. The third Lehendakari – President – of the Basque Autonomous Community since the reestablishment of democracy in Spain, Ardanza died on April 8, 2024.

Jose Antonio Ardanza, former Lehendakari (President) of the Basque Autonomous Community, died on Monday, April 8, 2024. Image from EITB.
  • José Antonio Ardanza Garro was born on June 10, 1941, in Elorrio, Bizkaia. In 1961, he joined the youth branch of the Basque Nationalist Party (EAJ/PNV), the Euzko Gaztedi. A few years later he and several of his friends were arrested for playing the txistu at a town’s fiesta. He managed to escape and remained in hiding to avoid detention.
  • His studies took him from the Diocesan Seminary of Derio to the Jesuits of Durango and then to the University of Deusto, where he graduated with a degree in law. When the Basque Nationalist Party was legalized in 1979, he immediately joined. In the very first elections after Franco’s death, in 1979, he was elected mayor of Arrasate/Mondragón and then, in 1983, he was elected General Deputy of Gipuzkoa.
  • Only a year later, after then Lehendakari Carlos Garaikoetxea had been dismissed, Ardanza was proposed as a candidate for Lehendakari. He was selected, becoming the third Lehendakari of the post-Franco Basque Autonomous Community (BAC), a position he held from January 1985 to January 1999. He was the longest serving Lehendakari.
  • Ardanza was recognized for his ability to bring differing groups together. One of his early milestones was the Ajuria Enea Pact of 1988, which united most of the political parties (minus Herri Batasuna) against the violence of ETA. He also helped consolidate governmental powers in the BAC, creating the Basque police Ertzaintza. And, he helped navigate the difficult economic times the BAC experienced after Franco’s dictatorship. One achievement was signing the agreement that would bring the Guggenheim Museum to Bilbo.
  • After his retirement from politics in 1999, he became president of the Basque telecommunications company Euskaltel, which he held until 2011.

A full list of all of Buber’s Basque Facts of the Week can be found in the Archive.

Primary sources: Arozamena Ayala, Ainhoa. Ardanza Garro, José Antonio. Auñamendi Encyclopedia. Available at:; José Antonio Ardanza, Wikipedia;

The Adventures of Maite and Kepa: Part 185

The next morning, Maite awoke to find Kepa already wide awake, his goofy smile beaming at her as he lay next to her. She would have been less annoyed by the sun blasting her directly in the face.

The Adventures of Maite and Kepa is a weekly serial. While it is a work of fiction, it has elements from both my own experiences and stories I’ve heard from various people. The characters, while in some cases inspired by real people, aren’t directly modeled on anyone in particular. I expect there will be inconsistencies and factual errors. I don’t know where it is going, and I’ll probably forget where it’s been. Why am I doing this? To give me an excuse and a deadline for some creative writing and because I thought people might enjoy it. Gozatu!

“How can you be so awake so early,” she grumbled as she flipped over and buried her face in her pillow.

“I’m excited for our vacation in Paris,” Kepa relied. “I’m all ready to go.”

“You’re packed and everything?”

“We don’t need to pack, we’ll have everything we need when we get there.”

“Can I at least get a cup of coffee?”

Kepa mused a moment, his smile only slightly deflating. “I guess that would be fine.”

About half an hour later, Maite popped out of the bedroom, steaming cup of coffee in her hands. “Thanks for the coffee,” she said.

Kepa smiled. “Of course.”

Maite sat next to him as she took a sip. “So, how does this work?”

Kepa waved his hands in the air and the virtual map appeared in front of them once again. “I’m not entirely sure as I haven’t tried it yet, but I think we just touch one of the zatia on the map and it will take us there.”

“You think?”

“Well, more I hope that’s what will happen.”

Maite nodded as she took another sip from her cup. She then placed it on the table in front of her, her head crossing through the virtual display in front of them, sending ripples across its surface.

“I think you just destroyed Australia,” chuckled Kepa.

As Maite sat back into the sofa, she saw the ripples flow across Australia which was almost unrecognizable because of the distortions.

“Ha!” chuckled Maite. “Though, Australia is always a place I wanted to visit. Maybe it can be next on our list.”

“We don’t have any resolution there, at least not yet,” replied Kepa. “I can’t see any zatia there.”

Maite shrugged. “Maybe someday. Ok, I’m ready. Let’s go to Paris.”

Kepa’s smile was as big as she had ever seen it. He was really proud to have figured this out. She just hoped the whole thing wasn’t ruined by them being put into some kind of hell hole.

Kepa reached out, his fingertip glowing brightly from the zatia’s power within him. He tapped a white dot that was centered on Paris. As was almost routine for them now, a bright light emerged out of that one point, growing larger and brighter until it engulfed the entire room.

Kepa grabbed Maite’s hand. “Here we go!” he exclaimed.

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