On Sunday (12/13/09), when we first got to Zumaia, we stopped for pinxtos and coffee at a restaurant and they had the bersolaritza on the television. It was absolutely amazing, the contest was held in an auditorium that can hold up to 20,000 people, the place was packed. It was incredible to see such enthusiasm for poetry. The berstos were beautiful to listen to. Of course, I couldn't understand a word of it, but it was amazing. I wish I could describe it, but I would not be able to give it justice, you must experience it for yourself.
We watched the competition for awhile and then headed over to the cliffs for some sightseeing. Later that night, back at the apartment, we turned on the T.V. to see if the contest was still on and it was. We watched the end of it. A woman, Maialen Lujanbio, won the national competition, a first in the long history of this unique Basque tradition. She beat out Andoni Egaña, winner of the last four bertsolaritzas. There were only 8 competitors and the contest lasted all day long, it must have been exhausting for the bertsolaris--I can't imagine.
I'm so glad we were there to witness this national tradition, it was truly a beautiful and unique experience.