By Alazne Oiarbide
Wake up with the sound of the alarm while the sun hits you in the face. Open the window and look at the view of the forest while listening to the singing of birds. Go to the bathroom and see the Aizkorri (1551m). That is my day to day.
I live in Idiazabal, Goierri, a little town on the south of Gipuzkoa that has no more than 2300 inhabitants. It is part of the Basque Autonomous Country, an autonomous region that is located in the north of Spain. There are two co-official languages, the Basque and the Spanish which are completely different, starting with linguistics. The culture also differs from the Spanish part and it is mainly known for its gastronomy and the most cherished dish, pintxos—a piece of bread with some food. The Basque Autonomous Country is surrounded by mountains and its characterized for its green color; besides, it also has numerous beaches and some of them, such as La Concha (Donostia-San Sebastián), are part of Europe’s best beaches according to TripAdvisor. Therefore, in the past few years, the Basque Country has been known worldwide due to its appearance in series as Game of Thrones.
As I have mentioned earlier, today I am not going to talk about the Basque Autonomous Country, but Idiazabal. My town is known due to the cheese that was named after the town and it is produced using the milk of Latxa sheep. Many tourists come to see the cheese factories and the cheese museum, but they all leave after that. It has one main street where you can find a couple of bars, a pharmacy, a few cloth shops, a bakery and the town hall that is located in the square. It is a little town but the surrounding areas are worth visiting.
When you are about to enter the town, you notice that it is surrounded by mountains and the color that stands out, once again, is the green. I live outside the town center, in the countryside. When I was a child I remember saying that I did not like the place where I lived because I was far from the center, but as I grew older I realized that I was really lucky to live where I lived.
The forest is part of my backyard and I can walk freely to the top of Arantzamendi (614m) whenever I feel like it and enjoy the views along the way. The walk takes around 30 to 45 minutes and the path is surrounded by trees. I have done this walk several times, but every time I discover new things, such as hidden little waterfalls.
On foggy mornings, when everything is covered by fog and you cannot see clearly, you can create beautiful compositions thanks to the trees.
Once you reach the top you are congratulated with an amazing view of Txindoki (1346m) and the mountain chain of Aralar. If you still have energy, you can continue your hike up to Atxurbi (781m) and see the Aizkorri closer up and some little towns in the distance. Once on the top, you will be able to see the two most known mountains of Goierri, on the left you will see Txindoki and on your right, you will have Aizkorri. It’s such a speechless view.
If this was not enough, you can go down the hill back to Arantzamendi and follow the path until Hirumugaeta (725m), another mountain from where you will enjoy an overlook of the town Idiazabal (on your left- hand side) and Arantzamendi (on your right-hand side).
Therefore, if you like doing mountain trails, there is a place for you too, since you can enjoy the view while running. Every September Idiazabal holds the Axari Trail (in English it would be something like Fox Trail), a trail that is a homage to Mikel, a man that was part of the Idiazabal running team. The race is done inside the nature park of Aralar and Aizkorri-Aratz and we can differentiate two trails: Axari Trail Txiki (16km with an incline of 750m) and Axari Trail (25km with an incline of 1550m). On both trails you will be able to see Hirumugata, Arantzamendi and Atxurbi.
Due to my degree and my master’s degree, there was a time that I lived in big cities such as Barcelona, but there is nothing like living in the countryside; the peace that it offers and the pure air that you breathe is priceless.
I hope you have enjoyed this little insight into the countryside of Idiazabal. If you ever happen to be in the Basque Autonomous Country, apart from visiting the coast and the cities, I will recommend you to visit the mountain area and enjoy its views. There are so many places to be explored!