Twenty-two people met up in the southwest corner of France on June 10 to start an alumni hiking adventure in the French Basque Country and discovered that this little-known area is a real gem. Well-kept villages with the trademark white and red houses plus beautiful lush hillsides peppered with herds of sheep, grazing ponies, and a handful of goats delighted this group of alumni and friends during their 10-day adventure—and were much photographed!
The hike started off in little Biriatou and finished up in bustling St. Jean Pied-de-Port, where multiple trails of the Way of St. James converge and then continue over the border into Spain and on toward Santiago de Compostela.
Peter Boynton '69 had planned a trip that included exploring trails to discover the nature of the area during the day and then being coddled in comfort and fine dining in the evenings. At lunchtime, picnics “al fresco” were the rule—Mrs. Fleming would certainly have approved. More than one of these hotel restaurants had a Michelin star, and the dishes were often a work of art—inspiring many to photograph their plates when they arrived at the table.
Peter’s three assistants did an excellent job of scouting the trails and giving updates at dinner time about the next day's hike. The weather was cool and often rainy, and although not ideal, most agreed it was preferable to scorching heat. As with Peter’s previous trips, an à la carte structure provided opportunities to shorten the hiking day and ride in the van to the hotel while the strongest hikers could elect to continue with the full itinerary, allowing all to tailor their day according to their mood and preference. Everyone elected to join the trip to a winery to discover the local Irouléguy wine, which met with great approval.
Thank you to Peter and his team for creating another memorable trip!