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Monday, May 27: Day 35 – It’s Memorial Day (Even When You Are in Spain)

Today I watched my dad, Stewart Boone, an avid trumpeter and great patriot, play The National Anthem in front of a crowd of over 100,000 spectators at the 40th Annual Bolder Boulder 10k Foot Race and Memorial Day service in Boulder, CO.

I am so thankful that he fought for freedom for the oppressed and safety for the world. He was one of 11 from his service battery unit of 90 to escape either death or capture in the Battle of the Bulge. They called themselves the Lucky Eleven. Today, my dad is 94 and is the sole survivor of that group. You might say that he is the Luckiest of the Eleven.

It was neat that we could watch his performance while in Spain by a live feed. Thanks to the tech expertise of my daughter Amy who recorded it, you can watch it here.

At our house summer doesn’t start until you have been to a Memorial Day Service. Traditionally, artificial poppies are handed out today and worn on the lapel as a remembrance. In Europe, wild poppies grow everywhere and serve as a constant daily reminder for me.

Basque Tour

Our city tour guide was a congenial Basque and gave us an interesting viewpoint of the city. Ironically, no matter where we went, the loud street cleaners would follow!

It is a tale of two cities – same city, two names. Donostia (Basque name) and San Sebastian (Spanish name). It is a young city as it was burnt to the ground in 1813. When they rebuilt, they wanted to build a city that would encourage tourism. At that time tourists were flocking to Paris so they built many buildings in the Parisian style.

Euskadi is the word for Basque Country. Their language is unique and does not come from any other known language. No one knows its origin but it was first noted in Roman documents in the 2nd century. He said that the Basque written language looks like someone’s head laid down on the keyboard. For example: Jatetxea means restaurant.


Basques have always been associated with the sea, notably whale hunters. The local markets have many fish stalls. Before modern communications, shopkeepers were alerted that a boat was coming into harbor and the auction would begin. The highest bidder got that catch of the day!!!

When you buy at the local markets, the same person that sells you the produce planted the seeds.

It is estimated that a customer spends 8 minutes per bar to order and eat pintxos. With pintxos as readily available, inexpensive and tasty, McDonalds doesn’t stand a chance!

They even have exclusive gastronomy clubs that are INVITE ONLY for membership. Memberships are either inherited or have a large initiation fee or employment comes with a membership.

There are two streets most famous for wandering through to pick up pintxos: Fermin Calbeton and 31 de Agosto. Our hostal was located on the former street.

Locals don’t say “I love you” but rather “I will cook for you forever!


Jose Orteiza and Eduardo Chillada were both famous Basque sculpturists. They both used iron and felt that rusting was part of the art process. They did not get along and their famous art works: The Wind Comb by Chillada and Empty Construction by Oteiza are on opposite ends of the beach. Look at the ocean behind the photo of Empty Construction. You will see about 50 windsurfers.

The Wind Comb

Empty Construction

The sea is a tireless sculptor.

Zumaia is a city to the west of San Sebastian noted for unusual flysch rock formations. These rocks resemble pages in a book. They were not found everywhere. This coastline area is part of a Geopark designated by UNESCO.

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