A museum in every town

San Sebastian is well positioned for day trips to tiny towns, and it seems that every town has its very own museo dedicated to something special in their district .

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Getaria, the birthplace of Valenciaga, a  trendsetter and perfectionist in the rarified realm of haute couture for over half a century, has an amazing modern building that was specially designed and built to display his influence on fashion. When you see the careful cut and drape of fabric to achieve a perfect fit, or to trick the eye into seeing the wearer’s neck as longer or her waist slimmer, exquisite fabrics and embellishments – requiring hours of painstaking stitches to create a unique garment –  you see the results of a master at work.

Ordizia has a gastronomy museum in a lovely old building. Our understanding of ‘gastronomy’ and the museum’s interpretation of ‘gastronomy’ differed. We had imagined ‘haute cuisine’ – or at least a history of regional foods and specialities.  If I had a primary to lower secondary school group I’d be taking them to a great little education centre for learning about food production, healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle.

IMG_1545Tolosa has two museums: one, ‘Topic’, is dedicated to puppetry from around the world, and it offers studies in the art of puppetry (printed information was available in Spanish and English); the other is dedicated to cakes, confectionary and candles (!!). The latter had an extraordinary collection of equipment, many pieces of which only made sense once the guide explained everything (in Spanish).

IMG_1532 IMG_1538Hondarrabia is a museum! This lovely little medieval town (ancient stone houses, narrow twisting lanes and geraniums on balconies) is a delight to amble through. It is separated from France (neat, white holiday homes and pleasure boats bobbing in the marina) by the narrow Rio Bidasoa. However, unless you can sail into Hondarrabia, which would be a very picturesque approach, you have to pass an ugly regional airport and a major railway terminus which includes a railway bridge to France. Such contrasts are common throughout Spain.