This article was translated by John R. Bopp

(Note: another film from the same period, but about the Northern Basque Country here)

The video has been uploaded along with some final images of Ondarroa, with more quality.  Merci beaucoup, Patrice Fontaine.

Patrice Fontaine is a relative (we assume daughter or niece) of Raymond Fontaine, an amateur French Belgian cameraman who, in the 1950s and ‘60s, took pictures of the places he visited.  Patrice had the marvelous idea of sharing those films on Dailymotion.

One of the recordings uploaded onto this account is a journey taken, camera in hand, in 1961, from the center of Bilbao to the Abra Bay, and shows us the City Hall, the Estuary, the bay, the Bilbao-Zorroza Highway, Getxo, and Portugalete.  There is even some unforgettable footage of the double-decker bus that used to run between Bilbao and Santurtzi.

Still from Raymond Fontaine’s film (1961)
Still from Raymond Fontaine’s film (1961)

This is an incredible document from the past of a country that was just getting over the Spanish Civil War and was poor despite its wealth. We could say it’s an open window to another world rather than another time.

Some of us, who just happened to be born in the year this recording was made, felt a tingle up and down our spine, along with a sense of nostalgia of our lost youth.  But it was definitely more the former than the latter.  Our younger readers will be able to see what Bilbao was like in the last century, what this part of the Land of the Basques was like under the weight of the dictatorship.  

Many thanks to Patrice Fontaine for uploading these films.

Raymond Fontaine – 1962 – Francia

De Bilbao al Abra 1961

De Bilbao al Abra 1961 (full version) por patricefontaine1960




Last Updated on Dec 20, 2020 by About Basque Country

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