The following extract is from A Basque Diary – Living in Hondarribia, which is available, in print and as an ebook, from Amazon.
A lot of Basque sport seems to involve showing how macho a man is. Lifting really heavy rocks and using sharp axes to chop a massive log the competitor is standing on, are two of them. Something that looks a little more approachable, but which is just as difficult to master, is jai alai, or cesta punta. Through the summer months, you can pay 12 euros to watch games between various local teams of two. It’s like a crazy game of squash, with a ball about twice the size, but a court that is more than four times the length. To make things just that little bit trickier, the players don’t use racquets, rather long skinny baskets that wrap around their wrists to form an extension of their arms. As well as a very entertaining match, the entry price includes a classic Basque dish of marmitako, which is a tuna stew. They throw in a free glass of wine, or two, too.
Another tough sport that you can watch in the summer is the rowing. Every weekend, the teams assemble in one of the coastal towns for an event that lasts about an hour. There is widespread support for the Hondarribia team in our town. Unfortunately, the team colours are an ugly shade of green, but that doesn’t put off every man and his dog (and our dog) wearing it.
You can read more about Basque culture, food and places by checking out
A Basque Diary – Living in Hondarribia.