Welcome back! Thanks for checking out my humble travel blog! Today’s post will be about my time in the incredibly beautiful city of San Sebastian!
The morning of my first day in San Sebastian glorious, I slept in and browsed the internet for the first time in a while. After some time I decided that I needed to run into town to do some laundry. All of my Cloths where wet, I had slept in my damp cloths because I had no dry cloths to change into. My bags where airing out but smelled musty and the room began to smell the same. I threw every thing in my dinosaur back pack (yes its just as bad ass as you think) consulted the oracle and walked into town. Stopping by a little market first and picked up some Fa-breeze ,bread, ham, cherries which were where sold by weight. I made my way to the laundromat and tossed in my cloths. The place was pretty high speed and it even locked the doors until the load was done. I had 30 protected minutes to kill I sat outside and made a ham sandwich munching happily. I decided to hang around and wait for the load to finish, when I went into change it a older woman was having trouble with the machine and we had a little conversation in Spanish. It felt amazing to be able to communicate again, while my Spanish was rusty it was good enough to make small talk.
While almost every one in the Basque understands and speaks some Castilian Spanish a lot people only converse in Euskara which is a one of the surviving pre indo European languages. Just a FYI I’m a language nerd, when my family lived in Brasil we where surrounded by people translating indigenous Indian languages. My grandparents also do translation work so I’ve been around it my whole life.The writing on the buildings was usually in Basque unless you where in the more touristy areas.
Getting back on track!
I loaded my cloths into the drier which gave me another 40 min to explore. This time I made a beeline to the ocean but got distracted by a fantastic looking church the Iglesia de San Ignacio finished in 1897. I took a quick look and kept on my way to the ocean. The city has two absolutely lovely bay areas with yellow sand and turquoise waters. I slipped my shoes off and just sat there listening to the tide come in and watching surfers catch the waves.
I headed back to the laundromat and discovered I still had about 10 min left. There was a little bar with these little bites of food on the table so I asked how the food works and I got the “Oh your a tourist” look the bartender was kind to me though and she explained that these where Pinxos (pronounced peen-shows) You just grab what you want on the plate and Ill bill you. I asked for a beer grabbed a little salmon Pinxo and ordered a beer I hadn’t had before. She even gave me a little bowl of olives! I basked in the sun enjoying my little treats.
Upon returning I discovered that my host had moved my bags outside, I apologized profusely for the smell but they weren’t put off to much or were polite to make a fuss. The day before I spoke with Sala about my bike journey so I think he had some idea. I sprayed the room with the fa-breeze and then laid down for a nap. The nap ended up lasting 4 hours, waking up right as the sun was going down. I ate the rest of my bread and some sort of canned food that I heated up in the microwave and watched Netflix my remaining cherries for dessert.
The next day I was on a mission to explore. I made my way into town after scarfing a quick cereal breakfast, wandering into the older town area. It was cramped and beautiful the streets full of people walking, I walked by a whole group of people dancing on the streets.
I made my way to the Iglesia de santa Maria. The stone Facade was beautiful, there where also signs pointing to a museum, why not I figured.
The San Telmo Museum houses local historical artifacts as well as paintings and art. a Fusion of modern architecture and a 16th century Artillery barracks. I paid the small entry fee and entered the Basque museum. It was very different from the French and English museums. Modern art, Spanish art, and massive sections dedicated to the history and origins of the area.
There was a Church area with giant tapestries hanging probably 20 x 30 feet The highest floor was devoted to more contemporary art.
Not really my thing but I still checked out all of the pieces attempting to read the placards to interpret the artists intent. Slowly I made my way out, lingering in the happiness felt by being surrounded by all the history and art. This is always the most difficult part.
Back on the streets I quickly realized how hungry I was! I started looking for a Pinxos place that looked good, In no time at all I found one. Baztán Bar Restaurant was a cozy little Pinxos Bar and It had a really nice variety of the little snacks.
I painstakingly made my selections paid the barman for the food and a Sangria and sat down to my meal.
This was one of the best meals I’ve ever had. Everything was so fresh and tasty, There was a reason San Sebastian is rated so highly in the culinary world. I ate my first round savoring every bite before returning for a Spanish Tortilla and some little deep fried bites. The Flan for dessert was also great, this is something very hard to find in any quality in the USA.
Fully full I decided that I wanted to climb the big hill with the Jesus statue. I think subconsciously my brain has been wired to want to climb every hill that might have a good view. It took me a while to figure out where to start but I ended up back by the museum, there was a narrow closed off road that led up the first part of the hill. Up and up I went through the dark green forest. small stone walls where covered in orange lichen.
Eventually I encountered some stairs that led be to a old Spanish fort that had to be walked through to get to the monument It was narrow and cramped moving up the staircases. I finally got to the top of all of the staircases and the view was awesome. The sky was blue with heavy clouds sailing through the dome above me. The colorful city and coast before me, aqua beaches and mountains dominating the landscape. I was in heaven.
Having relaxed on the stairs of the summit for some time I descended the hill and explored the park below moving to the other side of the hill. I walked around fallowing the coast and the rain came back momentarily, thankfully it was not to heavy and dissipated shortly. While I was crossing the street I noticed a familiar face. Holy crap is that Aziz Ansari? Lamely I pointed and Asked “Aziz?” He pointed and winked back at me! I was completely surprised and had to check social media to make sure I wasn’t just being racist but surely enough Aziz and his Big white friend where in San Sebastian eating food and exploring. For those unfamiliar Aziz Ansari Is a American Comedian who is in the Parks and Rec TV show he has a few specials on Netflix and a show there as well. Most people either love him or hate him.
That was the cherry on top for my second day in the city.
The next day I walked back to the city to figure out where the train station was and also to purchase a ticket. I went on to pick up a little breakfast at a nice looking bakery, these little bakeries always have such amazing breads and pastries. Eating my little meal I enjoyed the cool misty weather.
I made my way to the train station and figured I would que up and wait to speak to the customer service guy about my bike. When I made it to the front I asked the attendant if I could take my bike with me or if I had to buy a addition. He said it was no problem so I picked up my ticket. The sun was breaking through the clouds and I decided I would round up some grub and eat on the beach. Bread check, meat check, assortment of fruit check. Wine, Check! In Spain a 5 Euro bottle of wine is amazing. a 20 Euro bottle is sublime.
Having made my way to the beach I decided to head to one of the stone arms of the little bay area for a excellent view and a little bit more level surface to eat and drink on. I ate and sketched and drank and relaxed. If your wondering I did drink the whole bottle of wine, along with the cherries it was one of the best things I’ve tasted. More then happy with myself I decided to walk the length of the beach to walk off some of the wine before making my way back to the flat. On my way back to the flat I got a little acai smoothie and ran into some really cool University of Michigan students on vacation there. It was a blast talking to people from my home state.
When I returned I packed every thing up into my finally dry Panniers for the trip to Madrid the next day.
Thanks again for reading here is the link to my imgur albums feel free to use any of the photos for reference or studies!