We set off for the city center, and it wasn’t far away. Often booking at the airport is done for cheapness rather than convenience to the city, but Boise is a small city. We were only about 3 miles from the center.
Naturally, we went to the State Capitol:
After that, we went out in search of some Basque speakers. I had learned on Wikipedia that Boise, Idaho has the largest population of Basque people outside of their homeland. For those who don’t know, the Basque people are a separate group that live in the north of Spain and the south of France. They speak a language completely unrelated to any other European language that is meant to be one of the oldest languages on the planet.
There is a street in Boise jam packed with Basque restaurants, shops and a cultural center. A woman at the cultural center told us the Basque chose this area because they were sheep herders and there was a lot of that in Idaho a century ago. She also told us she loved living in Idaho. She enjoyed the mild weather and said it was rarely too cold or too cloudy.
We also learned from a second generation Basque man that the Basque population is apparently still growing. He told us that both of his grandmothers had lived in the village of Guernica that inspired the famous work by Picasso at the time of the bombing by Franco. I can see why they felt inspired to move to Idaho.
He also still speaks Basque. Do check out the video of that:
In addition to speaking some Basque himself, he told us that it is taught in schools up until adulthood, which is fabulous. If you want to save a culture, the best way to do that is to make sure the young people still speak its language.
Boise itself was an attractive city, surrounded by mountains:
We had entered Boise in mountains, but things flattened out quite a lot and became very rural the other way, which made for nicer driving. That said, I think we were quite tired as Chris got pulled over for the first time ever in the US (and in quite a long time generally as I have never known him to be pulled over while I have known him). The officer was actually very nice and just wanted to let him know he’d gone over the yellow line a few times. He basically pulled him over to see if he was on drugs. Due to the new legalization of cannabis in the neighboring states (Oregon and Washington), he was interested to know if Chris was driving high basically. Once he realized we were entirely sober, he wished us a good holiday and let us go without any major faffing.
Fortunately, we had decided not to go as far anyway, and we just went on to Twin Falls, Idaho. It is a gorgeous, gorgeous place. It has a massive canyon:
A fairly impressive bridge:
By evening, I realized that my back had been much better since we got to Idaho. The sunny dry climate seems very good for me in a similar way that the desert climates of the South West were. I realized just how much it had suffered in the cold damp of Seattle (and naturally in the cold damp of England as well). I think this is giving more and more credence to the idea that we should go for somewhere dry in the west.
It was also Back to the Future II day, so naturally, we watched that in the evening.
The next day we continued across Idaho, which is immense. We saw a few more interesting things on the way: