“Although you can simply refer to him as David, his full name: Jesus Maria David Elexgaray Alonso Arteche Busto Arrospide Achicallende, Honorary Basque of the Hounderville….. born in Liverpool, England, he returned to Busturia, Spain in 1972. It is the Basque home of his father’s family, which he now calls home.”

This quote is from the profile Cobblestone Small Tours, which I include below. They were the first agency in the United States specialized in the Basque Country, well before the Guggenheim Museum opened in Bilbao, and with which I have collaborated ever since. I think it resumes quite well my background; and, of course, says a lot of nice things about me.

David

“He is such a gem. There are so many facets to him. His pride for his Basque heritage, knowledge of the land, sense of humor, anecdotes, and well-spoken English … all these characteristics combined translated into an overwhelmingly pleasant experience.” Ron & Mickey Williams, Arkansas.

Although you can simply refer to him as David, his full name: Jesus Maria David Elexgaray Alonso Arteche Busto Arrospide Achicallende,Honorary Basque of the Hounderville. David is our “right arm” someone we depend on and from whom we solicit advice. He does advance work with and for us. Although born in Liverpool, England, he returned to Busturia, Spain in 1972. It is the Basque home of his father’s family, which he now calls home.

He earned a degree in English language at the University of the Basque Country. David also completed a post-graduate course at the University of Deusto in Bilbao that enhanced his expertise in Guide and Tourist Information.

Employed initially as an English teacher, his adventuresome side beckoned him to travel. A nature-lover and bird watching enthusiast, he now serves as guide for Bilbao & Beyond, Barcelona to Bilbao, and custom and private tours in the Basque Country.

We often refer to David as our Backdoor Man. If he had a different career, surely it would be private investigator. Luckily for us, since 1995 he has been tirelessly searching out hidden treasures and special treats that only a native could discover to share with our groups. David has a wonderfully wicked sense of humor, and speaks such impeccable English that we’re often shocked by his advanced knowledge of American idioms. “

It has been a long time since these lines were written but they are still true in the sense that I still continue providing an insight to visitors to this little corner of the world with the difference that now, over these years, my guiding style has evolved to the point that I prefer to consider myself a host to those interested in experiencing the Basque Country.

That is why I really enjoy being with independent and small group travelers, as it allows me to offer some of the local traditional hospitality like I used to see at my grand parents farm, Etxebarriatze: always with a smile and the best food in the house, as well as, naturally, a glass of wine.