The village of Axpe, in the valley of Atxondo, nestles under the limestone heights of 4,777-foot Amboto—one of the highest peaks in the Basque Country outside the Pyrenees. Home of the legendary Basque mother of nature—Mari Urrika or Mari Anbotokodama (María, Our Lady of Amboto)—Amboto, with its spectral gray rock face, is a sharp contrast to the soft green meadows running up to the very foot of the mountain. According to Basque scholar and ethnologist José María de Barandiarán in his Mitología Vasca (Basque Mythology), Mari was "a beautiful woman, well constructed in all ways except for one foot, which was like that of a goat."


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