Beneath Biscay

By Douglian

Last day in Zarautz: a museum and a meal

For our final full day in Zarautz we went to its museum of photography. It was well worth the visit. Organised on five floors, the ground floor held a temorary exhibition of works by the Basque photographer Sigfrido Koch Arruti. Much of his photography was soft focus scenes of Basque life. From there you go up to the fifth floor, and work your way back down. Each floor had a theme, starting with pre-protographic use of images, including such things as magic lanterns, shadow puppetry and, new and fascinating to me, lithophanes. The subsequent floors covered the development of photography proper and the evolution of photographic materials, then photographic themes such as landscape, portrait, abstract and finally the application of photography in various disciplines such as medicine, photo-journalism and arial photography. Six euros well spent.

After that we walked the full length of the beach before turning back as rain threatened. On the way back we stopped for a beer and a pincho at the hotel-restaurant of Spain's original TV chef, Karlos Arguinaño, something of a spanish version of Keith Floyd. It was really just to say we had been there. While we were there however we had a look at the menu and M suggested that she would invite me to eat there in the evening as an early birthday present. How could I refuse?

So back we went in the evening, watching a thunderstorm out at sea on the way. I thought that it might be a bit 'posh' inside so I put on my best crumpled shirt just in case. As it turned out it was not only reasonably proced but also quite informal, despite of the excellent atentive service. We had the menú de degustación, the taster menu, consisting of five set courses, including prawn and avocado, monkfish, carillera (tender pig's cheek) and more, all washed town with a bottle of local txakolina white wine. Each course was explained to as as it arrived.

A good end to our last day in the Basque country. Tomorrow back to Asturias.

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