La Bastide Clairance in Northern Basque Country

As suggested by the Eyewitness guide and other brochures, we visited this quaint village of La Bastide Clairance, northeast of Biarritz.

It is a very clean and quiet village, meant for tourism, photography, and a feel-good ambience. There is a small information center,  cafés and restaurants, some artisan shops, a forge museum, and much more.

around the market square

Based on what we saw, two to three hours are enough for walking around and stopping for a cup of coffee. Found some nice kitchen utensils in one of the shops right at the market square. For some reason, I always buy them in France, while on holiday.

La Bastide Clairance

Yes, there is some up and down walking as in most of the towns in Basque country. This little grandmother is not real, just an eye-catcher.

La Bastide Clairance

The tourism center also lets visitors see what the old Basque style classroom looked like.

Old classroom in La Bastide Clairance

We bought some sweet chili paste and powder. Most souvenirs carry the image, the name, the flavor, or the taste of the local sweet chili plant. The only thing we have not found yet – seeds to take back to grow our own.

What to See in Germany

Living in Germany and speaking English, we sometimes get inquiries from friends, family, and friends of friends on what to see in Germany.

German Autobahn signs

The latest one was this: I have a colleague who is asking for travel suggestions in Germany. I have no idea what they are looking for, but do you have any global suggestions?

This answer I had sent by e-mail, and thought it worth sharing now and for future reference as well:

I sometimes travel the world, but when it comes to Germany, I have not been to many places as we tend to visit family here  when we are free. But my traveling students have come back with the following recommendations.

Leipzig and Dresden are worth visiting. Others have claimed the Starnberger See (near Munich) and Munich are worthwhile. Schloss Neuschwanstein is a must for Asians, but a bit kitschig, IMO.

I think I would like the Black Forest and I have been to the Bodensee/Lake Constance (recommendable).

Hamburg has a great night-life from what little I remember from a trip taken there more than 25 years ago.

Berlin… visited twice, but could not really warm up to this city.

Frankfurt is great for being in the center of Germany and allows for many places to travel to by rental car or train.
Some foreigners also enjoy taking a Rhine river cruise. As a matter of fact, there are quite a few interesting places, all in the distance of one hour by car (Bingen, Heidelberg, Marburg, etc.)

Augsburg, so my friends say, is full of history. Also known for its witch hunt in the Middle Ages.

And there are so many nice places, unknown and inexpensive, off the beaten track.

I have always wanted to the visit the volcanic park in the Eiffel (bordering France and Luxembourg).

Tell your friends, wherever they stay, they can also get some recommendations locally. Ask your hotel and tourism office.


What we eat in Germany

Well, this might not be what you expected to see. I just had some delicious Bibimbap from our neighborhood Asian supermarket.

Korean Bibimbap in Oberursel/Germany

For the more traditional food and beverages Germans like to consume, visit  What the World Eats at TIME photo gallery, where you can view families from 16 countries showing their weekly food expenditure.

Most families looked rather happy, though the German family (slide 15 of 16) looked as grumpy as ever. Despite all the beer and wine bottles featured on the table.

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