Jack (81) told me that his parents were born in a small town in southern France that he’s never seen. He asked — would it be possible to pull together a trip that combined Northern Spain and Southern France? He wanted to follow Hemingway’s footsteps in Spain, learn more about his Basque heritage, see Lourdes before he died and stand in the tiny mountain town where his parents grew up. This trip had challenges — the first being a little thing called the Pyrenees Mountains that separate the two countries. Trains don’t go over…they go around. I ultimately found a group tour in Spain (Barcelona, Pamplona, San Sebastian, Madrid) that covers off nicely on both Hemingway and Jack’s Catholic faith. And, then I found an inexpensive flight that will take him to Toulouse where he will work his way west thru Lourdes, Sarrance, Oloron-Saint-Marie, Pau, Bayonne and Biarritz.
I encouraged him to have someone join him on the second half of this trip. I really wanted another family member standing there with him when he steps out of the car and takes his first look at Sarrance (see photo). Thankfully, his 26-year-old grandson is going to meet him there and they will complete the rest of the trip together. I hope the kid realizes how special these types of trips are. I have memories of joining my Aunt on a trip to Ireland in her 80’s that are precious to me. Jack heads off on this adventure 60 days from today.
If I can ever help you or a family member with a similar trip back to the “Old Country” as my relatives would say, I’d love to help.
Update: Jack and his grandson let me know that they located a half-dozen relatives, a street named after his family, and even saw the home his parents were born in. I’m happy to be a travel agent every day but days like that are especially sweet. A very kind review from Jack is included on my Testimonial page.