I'm currently in Vitoria, el capital del Pais Vasco, home of el Gobierno Vasco, and the centre of the Euskadi political movement. Whilst the new town feels like a dated relic of the post-Franco years, the Casco Medieval, or historic old town, hums with the kind of energy that only the fuzz bass of blaring nationalist rock, bar-fulls of body-pierced, dreadlocked youth, and extremely liberal use of spray cans can bring. It's the political workhorse to Bilbao's cultural peacock.
Although the energy at the moment, I have to say, is somewhat lacking. It's nearly five pm, and the city is still shut down for it's extended lunch break. I'm not surprised when they feed you like this, however. For lunch I had a tapa of crab with aliolli, a first course of brocoli con refrito jamon y pasas (steamed broccoli with finely sliced fried ham and raisins, dressed in a kind of thin salsa verde - definitely one for the scrap book), then carilleras de ternera rellenas de foie (slow-cooked neck of beef, 'stuffed' with chicken liver pate, and served with an amazing red wine gravy - if you were served it on Sunday with roast beef and Yorkshires it would probably make you weep). Finally, queso y membrilloand a slice of pastel frio (Spanish Viennetta, basically). That lot, for eleven and a half euros, and you get wine too... I was expecting a glass full, they gave una bottella! No wonder the city needs three hours to recover from it's collective food coma!
So I might as well sit it out until Vitoria gets going again. Besides, tomorrow I'm going to interview the chefs at famed Basque gastro-pilgrimage point, Asador Etxebarri, and I have research to do. Not to mention a third of a bottle of vino to polish off.