Sunday, July 1, 2012

San Sebastian, Spain

Basque Country!

Last stop in Spain


Our final destination in Spain was San Sebastian, aka Donostia. San Sebastian is located in northern Spain in the Basque region. We spent 2 nights there enjoying the culinary experience that it has to offer and relaxing on the beach.


We were staying in a hostel in San Sebastian, very close to the beach. The hostel was not really a hostel, but a student home – so the place didn’t have to pay fees for being a ‘real’ hostel. The owner was a bit weird and overly friendly (we'll explain why later), and didn’t speak any English. Thankfully there were a group of American-Mexicans staying there to help us translate.  


In San Sebastian there are two main beaches, one on the west side called La Concha. This larger beach is protected from the sea and has a bay with an island and boats surrounding it. The other beach on the east side is called La Zurriola, it’s a surf beach and has more waves. The first day we took a relaxing stroll along La Concha beach. We dipped our feet in the water to cool off while walking in the sunshine.


Afterwards our tummies were starting to rumble… we were told that San Sebastian was famous for its pintxos, similar to tapas but the Basque country version. So we went off to find some ‘pink socks’, as Gaffa liked to call it.


We scoured the streets of San Sebastian’s main old town area for a decent pintxos bar. The majority of places sold pintxos and beer/vino; plates of mini food placed on the tops of the bars. We finally decided on one place called Bar Txalupa Jatetxea, located at Calle de Fermin Calbeton, 3. We stood at the bar and ordered a beer for Gaffa and a glass of sangria for me. The bar was full of plates of different finger food options, two rows of mouth watering little bites for us to try. We got given a fresh clean plate by the bar tender and told to pick what we wanted and show the bar tender so he could tally up our bill. There were so so many to choose from… We only got one of each, and ate half each so we could taste some more! The price of each piece ranged from 2.50 euro up to 4 euro for the more elaborate and seafood options. Everything that we tried was very tasty, but we didn’t want to overeat, we wanted to find another bar to try some different pintxos. So we finished up and asked for the bill. It only came to 13 euros, awesome! They didn’t charge for the drinks, only the food.

jamon con anchoa y pimiento verde & jamon queso de cabra y membrillo 
brocheta bacon y champinones 
 anchoa con pimiento rojo y gulas
old school cash register

Next place we went to was Bartolo Jatetxea; it was less extravagant with their pintxos options. We tried a few but they weren’t as nice as the first place. They did have nice chorizo though!


yummy chorizo

more chorizo 

The next day in San Sebastian we decided to chill out on the beach. We also enjoyed brunch on the beach, with our homemade picnic of cheese, pate and meats.


In the late afternoon we decided to go walking around town. However, we didn’t know that it was the day for the whole of Spain to go on strike and protest! Everything was closed, the streets were filled with groups of people yelling, and signs were hung around the city. We didn’t know what was going on, since it was in Spanish and in Basque, but we got the gist of the political protests... We did find one pub that was open and went in for a drink. We also found some vending machines and bought some more drinks. Back at the hostel we also found out that there was a small supermarket open not far away. So off we went to get some supplies for dinner. Thankfully we weren’t travelling on this day, as there were no buses or trains running anywhere.


That night, the owner decided to come visit us. He brought with him a pile of ramdom hats: tiara, cowboy hat, jesters hat and more…Gaffa and I, and the group of American-Mexicans were hanging out talking in the kitchen at the time, and the owner said he wanted us to wear the hats and take a photo with him… we played along with him and wore the silly hats. After a few drinks, anything goes, right?! Another person staying at the hostel had warned us of this as he had the same thing happen to him the night before, but he was on his own. Luckily there was a group of us this time!

one guess who the owner is?!

San Sebastian is a great place to visit to relax on the beach and experience some culinary delights - it has more Michelin stars than you can poke a stick at. It was a great way to end our tour around Spain.

Back in to France for the last leg of our Euro trip!

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