They were dancing in the streets

Yesterday we were disappointed to find out the famous Basque museum in Bayonne was closed because of the holiday.

But as we were wandering around, we heard music and shouting, and came upon a real treat. With no formality, it seemed, a troupe of actors took over a street and started to perform. People gathered around and several hours of entertainment followed.

Not knowing Basque traditions, we found the story line a bit difficult to follow. But in a kind of Commedia-dell’arte style, it seemed that stock characters played out their duly appointed roles, with the audience fully anticipating what should come next.

Not sure about the two with squirrels on their heads, but they seemed to serve as interlocutors, with a bunch of tough bad guys interrupting the action to fight or stare up girls’ skirts.  Those swords they carried? Never forget that Bayonne is the home of the bayonet! The dead fox? No clue.

The music we now know was an old traditional Basque song, to which all the pretty girls got to perform. At the end, others in audience joined in the dance, which all seemed to know. A great time was had by everyone, and we might have experienced a better taste of Basque country then the museum would have offered. Unless they had dead foxes lying around.





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