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Pell presents the Basque Region

By Avonlea Cummings

Hometown Weekly Reporter

The Dover Council on Aging embarked on an enlightening journey to the Dover Town Library on Wednesday, August 16th, brimming with anticipation as they prepared to traverse the Atlantic and immerse themselves in the land nestled between Spain and France. Renowned world photographer Barry Pell graced the occasion, sharing his immersive presentation on the captivating Basque region.

Pell's impressive global explorations span 170 different countries, where he has spent extended periods delving into the diverse tapestries of cultures, cuisines, and histories. His month-long sojourn in the Basque region, nestled amidst the western Pyrenees Mountains between Spain and France, was a focal point of his presentation.

The Dover COA audience was captivated by the breathtaking mountain landscapes and taken aback by the winding, narrow roads that weave through the Basque region. Given its unique geographical positioning, the region straddles Spain and France, resulting in Basque citizens holding citizenship in one of the two countries based on their residency. 

Pell artfully wove historical narratives into his presentation, accompanying each tale with his stunning photographic captures. He delved into Spain's past, highlighting the region's resilience against Franco's dictatorship, which aimed to suppress the Basque culture and language. Presently, the Basque language teeters on the brink of decline, with a mere 750,000 individuals still fluent in it.

Pell dedicated time to explore Basque cuisine, characterized by an abundance of fish and tapa-like delicacies known as Pintxos. The audience was intrigued to learn that dinner in Basque culture is often enjoyed between 8:30 and 10:30 at night, with many eateries delaying dinner service until the late evening hours. Besides savoring delectable fresh fare, Basque locals have a profound appreciation for wine, as evidenced by their very own Wine Fountain—an accessible tap allowing residents to pour themselves a glass of wine.

As the hour-long presentation drew to a close, and the room brightened with restored lighting, the audience returned to the Dover Town Library, eagerly engaging with Pell in an extended Q&A session about his time spent in the Basque region. The presentation served as a perfect escape from the overcast summer morning.

For those interested in exploring more events hosted by the library, a comprehensive listing can be found on their events page:

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