In Ochagavía

Plaza in Ochagavía

Ochagavía, Navarra, Spain – December 8th, 2010

For lunch on the second day of our road trip, Marketa and I stopped in Ochagavía, the most prominent village in Navarra’s Salazar Valley. We walked alongside the river, admiring the traditional architecture and taking pictures like crazy. Then we found a reasonably priced sidrería (Cider-house) to eat at. Marketa ordered “cow’s face” as she called it – some sort of cheek meat, while I ordered traditional Basque meatballs, Basque pate, and cuajada for dessert.

Marketa saw some Kukuxumusu merchandise in a store window in the plaza, so in we went. I was ecstatic to find several animated movies from my childhood – in Basque! Red-faced but determined, I asked the lady behind the counter for Haran Sorginduaren Bila – also known as The Land Before Time. She was very sweet. “I see you like cartoons, just like me!” she said. As she was scanning the movie, though, she realized that it wasn’t just in Spanish, but in Basque! I told her that was why I was buying it, because I was studying Basque a little.

At that, she went out to the street and called in her friends. “This is an American girl, studying Euskera!” she announced. All of them were pretty impressed. “You’re doing what we could not,” they told me. “We’ve tried to learn a little bit, but we’re too old now, it’s too late, we’re the lost generation.”

“Our grandparents spoke Basque, our parents understood it. But then came the Franco years… It skipped us. But now the children are learning again! And even you, an American!”

/A Semester in the Basque Country of Spain

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2 comments on “In Ochagavía

  1. It’s really interesting for me to see and recognize this place so near where I come from and live! It’s so true about the basque: Loads of people who live here (including me, although I am trying to scavenge a few words and phrases here and there!) can’t speak basque, but it’s really been repopularized among young people recently!

    • It’s really an interesting linguistic/historical/social/political situation. In my Basque class each student had a different reason for being there, some simply because they loved the language and wanted to support it, others resented having to learn it for their jobs.

      In a way I’m just getting going with this blog, but I’m hoping to put up several more posts about my time in Spain, and especially Navarra. 🙂 Thanks for visiting.

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