The Basque matterhorn and bipolar meadows


The Aralar mountain range lies in the south east of Gipuzkoa stretching out into Navarra. At the prow of this rock, the majestic shape of Txindoki (1,331 m) represents the most easily recognised picture postcard view of the Gipuzkoa mountain, just like the Matterhorn in the Alps, and it symbolises the untamed geography of this land. Despite its undeniable dominance, behind Txindoki there are enormous ranges reaching sometimes even greater heights, held up by rock buttresses in all directions. It is a singular, diaphanous, sublime place with two personalities: its white and inhospitable ranges in winter contrasting with their fresh, green counterparts in summer. Tens of walkers go up the valleys and cross this megalithic and pastoral plateau where horses and sheep graze. Mountaineers and walkers greet each other as they cross paths. Clouds drift by overhead. But time doesn’t seem to pass. The Visitors’ Centre is in Lizarrusti (Ataun). It has a restaurant and a hostel with 36 bunk beds.