This touristy seaside city won’t get the full attention it probably deserves because I’ve been sick with bad cold since I got here. However, I will give you the highlights and a few photos.
We drove from Beynac in about five hours, staying off the toll highways more for fun than price (but still saved ourselves about 30 euros I think). The further south we came, the less interesting the scenery. It began to look a lot more like home actually. Biarritz is a much bigger city than I imagined but we had a nice hotel just a block from the beach and it was central to everything. Although it’s only April, it was really hard to find a parking spot so we had to sit and wait for about 15 minutes until someone left. In fact, we dropped off the car a day early we didn’t have to repark after our drive down the coast.
The Hotel Palym is a family run boutique style place with only about 15-20 rooms and for most of the time, I think we were almost the only ones here. They upgraded our room to a view room with a small balcony looking over the main street on the 3rd floor. It was clean, comfortable and nicely updated.
For the most part, we just hung out in and around our hotel, but we did spend one day driving south to St Jean de Luz and Hendaye, and even over the border into Irun in Spain but personally, I was unimpressed with all of these places – yes, there are some pretty beaches, but mostly it’s just a big crowded city with a lot of traffic. My lack of enthusiasm could stem from the fact that I felt like crap on the entire drive so maybe I should ask Erik for his opinion….. nope, he agrees with me. We much prefer small villages…
That being said I think this could be a great place to be if you are a surfer (every second store is a surf shop) or you were here in the shoulder season, but still warm enough for beach weather (nor April). And if you gots lots of dollars, there are some super schmancy places to stay. Oh la la!
Nevertheless, we were not disappointed. We knew what to expect and we always planned on Biarritz being a staging point for the Camino, not a destination point in itself. We managed to get in contact with another pilgrim who is flying in from Madrid on Sunday and we are sharing a ride to St Jean Pied de Port with her on Sunday at 1:30pm. The trains don’t run as frequently on Sundays so we were going to have to wait until 3:00 for a train. This works out much better.
Being sick on vacation: This is the first time I’ve had a bad cold while travelling and it SUCKS big time. I want my own bed, my own bathroom, my own food and my own meds. Ugh. The other downside was that our hotel room did not have any kitchen appliances and when you’re sick and don’t want to go out to restaurants, it makes things challenging. We found a grocery store and I ate bananas, yogurt, ham, oranges, juice, and I even found some chicken noodle soup (that I had to eat cold unfortunately).
Travel Tip: You cannot buy any kind of medication in a grocery store in France – you must go to a Pharmacie. Ibuprofen is still Ibuprofen (with a French accent), Acetaminophen is called Paracetamol in France, and I got some HUMEXLib which seems to be similar to Neocitran except you mix it with cold water. It has Vit C, Paracetamol, and Pheniramine in it. I looked up the info in English online before I went into the pharmacie so that I could show them what I needed. They are very helpful in the pharmacies but they don’t always speak English so it a good idea to read up before you go.
So – next up St Jean Pied de Port for one night, and then the Camino on Monday morning! We should already be in Orisson when you read this. Fingers crossed the worst of my cold is over by then!
Since I spent much of my Biarritz time in bed, hacking and sneezing, I don’t have as many photos to share today but here ya go.