National Geographic : 1968 Aug
Director of smiles, a photographer readies relatives and friends for a wedding portrait in St. Jean-Pied-de-Port, France. After the church service, the bride and groom traditionally walk to the cemetery where they will one day lie side by side-an acknowledgment of the lifelong bonds of to know many parts of it. We knew the life of the seacoast and the thundering fury of Atlan tic tempests on the Bay of Biscay (pages 262 3). We tasted the springtime melancholy of San Sebastian, with its shaded boulevards, and the gracious hospitality of fine Basque houses in Bilbao. There we saw the clash of transition from old to new that is affecting so many parts of Spain. An industrial boom has rocked this port capital of the Basque Province of Vizcaya to its foundations. As we approached the town, the sound of roaring trucks and blaring horns mingled in congruously with the clip-clop of a little burro laden with baskets of provisions for some out lying farm. A man with a scythe on his shoul 252 der stood outlined against a backdrop of towering smokestacks. A gray haze of cinders settled slowly over a field where men in berets and women in black head-scarves worked the ground with crude hoes. Yet Bilbao is fighting to preserve its old grace and Basque pride of city. We toured the thriving shipyards with Don Castor Uriarte, a venerable architect whose family is one of the oldest of the province. I asked him about the overcrowding and slum problems that go with any great influx of fac tory workers. He replied firmly: "The vizcainos have always taken care of their own. There were neither slums nor pov erty in Vizcaya before, and there will not be any in the future."