It doesn't seem like only 24 hours since I was bodyboarding in Biarritz, but I'm still daydreaming of floating on the mountainous waves. Well, they seemed that way to me ;) Very tiring to get out beyond the breaking surf, but worth it when you eventually catch one of the 10-feet monsters and race all the way back to the sand. I can understand why surfers get so spiritual about their sport.
This was my first trip to the French Basque country. Biarritz itself had grandeur without being faded (although lacking the nightlife of San Sebastian). Some of the beaches we passed on the journey, at Hendaye and St Jean de Luz, looked pretty spectacular. We were also lucky to catch the Bastille Day fireworks from the grand plage on Friday.
On the way back I just had time to race around the Guggenheim's Russia exhibition. Fantastic show of 13th-20th century Russian art, from religious icons to Tsarist collections of European masterpieces to Soviet Realism communist propaganda. Does Putin have his own indoctrination style yet?! Many of the items were loaned from the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, which I am now even more determined to visit.
My favourite piece from the museum's permanent collection is still Jeff Koon's kitsch yet friendly Puppy (above). Bilbao is looking plusher than ever, and is an amazing testament to what one high-profile cultural venue can do for a run-down industrial town. No wonder Abu Dhabi is keen to host the latest outpost of the Guggenheim empire…