I woke up early in Mimizan and packed up the tent before any fishermen arrived at the lake. I hopped back over the fence out of the closed campground then took a while to sit and watch the sunrise while eating a breakfast of bread and cheese. I haven’t gotten around to buying any fuel for my stove yet, so I rolled on into town to find a cafe to get coffee.
The rest of the day was an enjoyable ride through the coastal forest next to the dunes. Once again this involved long remote stretches. Coming down the coast I had seen several picnicking/parking areas near beach access points where it appeared that a few people were spending the night in their camper vans. I figured one of these would be a good option for tent camping so I started looking for likely locations late in the afternoon. I started to worry since it seemed I’d hit a dry spell, but eventually stumbled across a large picnic area a little ways before Capbreton. I wasn’t sure if camping was legal here, so I lingered about eating dinner as dusk came on and then setup my tent in the trees.
The night was without incident and the next day I had a short ride to Urrugne just shy of the Spanish border where another Warm Showers host was willing to take me in.
Even with short days, it’s nice to get near the day’s destination before taking much time off the bike. So I rode straight through Bayonne and bypassed the beaches of Biarritz. Stopping only briefly to watch surfers out catching waves.
The landscape changes dramatically here from the flat coastal forest to rocky, hilly terrain and I got my first glimpse of the Pyrenees in the distance. Getting close to Urrugne, I stopped for lunch in St. Jean de Luz and spent some time lingering by the beach and the town’s central square. I was entering Basque country here and signs now had Basque as well as French names. As I proceeded on to Urrugne I also started seeing the occasional Basque flag.
Ingrid and Jon, my Warm Showers contacts, welcomed me into their lovely rural house outside of Urrugne. They live in a big Basque-style house (or at least I took it to be Basque style) with green sheep pastures stretching up from behind their place into the hills.
Ingrid and Jon have traveled extensively so over dinner we had a good conversation about our various travels and I got an introduction to Basque culture and politics. I fell asleep listening to the bells on the sheep grazing on the hillside.