Category Archives: Basque Fact of the Week

Basque Fact of the Week: The Mondragón Corporation

I have hesitated to do a Fact on the Mondragón Corporation, the world-renowned cooperative in the heart of Gipuzkoa, simply because I didn’t think I could do it justice. It’s just felt too big and important that, I admit, I was a bit intimidated. However, The New Yorker recently did a nice piece on what […]

Basque Fact of the Week: The San Sebastián International Film Festival

The 70th edition of the San Sebastián International Film Festival began on Friday and runs through this week. Donostia Zinemaldia, as it is known in Basque, has been a showcase of some of the best of the film industry since 1953. Some of the most recognized names in cinema have appeared on the festival’s red […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Napoleon’s Nephew was a Linguist who Studied Basque

How does an aristocrat – a man born into privilege and titles, the nephew of one of the most powerful leaders of Europe – become one of the most important researchers of the Basque language? Louis Lucien Bonaparte, Napoleon’s nephew, extensively studied the regional variations of Euskara, establishing a critical map of the dialects. While […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Euskalkiak, the Dialects of Basque

One of the challenges I had when I tried to learn Euskara in Donostia was that I was learning Batua but when I went to visit my dad’s family, they spoken the Bizkaian dialect and I had a hard time understanding them. When I told my dad about it, he nodded, saying he couldn’t understand […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Anton Abadia, the Basque Scientist Who Promoted Basque Culture

Leading scientist – once president of the French Academy of Sciences – and key promoter and defender of the Basques. Anton Abadia was both. During his career, he won numerous scientific accolades while also founding the first festivals celebrating the Basque people and their culture. His impact was so great that, in 1997 – one […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Jean Paul “Pablo” Tillac, Illustrator of the Basques

The last one hundred years has seen more change than any other time in our history. The way that place such as the Basque Country are now would be shocking to anyone born one hundred years ago, and the reverse might be true as well. So much has changed. Having a looking glass into the […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Txokos, the Gastronomic Societies

Perhaps the best steak I have ever had was at one of the Txokos – the gastronomic clubs – in Donostia. A few friends of mine were members and took me for dinner one evening. In the heart of the old town – the Parte Vieja – of the city, it was an almost nondescript […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Tartalo, the Basque Cyclops

“And saying that, he [the Tartalo] grabbed the elder brother, put him on the side of a roasting fork, and stuck him on the fire, then he ate the elder brother in front of the horrified eyes of the younger.” The Tartalo, the Basque cyclops, was by no means friendly. As opposed to other mythological […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Pheasant Island, the Basque Island that is Part of both Spain and France

Pheasant Island, called Konpantzia in Euskara, is an island jointly administered by Spain and France, swapping hands every six months. It is what is called a condominium, a territory shared by more than one sovereign power. Because of its unique position on the river that defines the Spanish-French border, the island has seen its share […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Basques and Costa Rica

At the end of June, my wife, my daughter, and I did an ecotour of Costa Rica. We did and saw lots of awesome things, from wildlife (the goal was to find frogs and we saw a lot of them, as well as bats, tapir, monkeys, and crocodiles), whitewater rafting, ziplining, waterfalls, cocoa and coffee […]