San Sebastian Travel Blog› entry 62 of 65 › view all entries
August 11th, 2006 – by: lorford
Entry by Steph Tribe
Well, after another month of backpacking has passed since we last hit the beach scene....we finally arrived at San Sebastian, otherwise known as Donostia!! For the most expensive town in Spain, it is the backpacker hotspot!!!
We were expecting a small town, on the beach with a post office, general store, a couple of cafes, and many bars...we were wrong! San Sebastian is a pumping relatively large town with an old town quarter complete with cobble stone streets but also has several chain supermarkets, a shopping complex, and more bars per square metre than anywhere else in the world!!!!
Our first impressions were that of "oh...just another big city", but we soon discovered that everything you need or want is right on your front door....except during siesta!! We stayed at a hostel 200metres from the beach, the bars, and the pintxos (otherwise known as tapas!), and we took advantage of all of this! However, I must inform you that "taking advantage" of the beach was sitting at a bar overlooking the water whilst drinking none othere than...sangria!!! This was due to the fact that the weather has been quite grey - clouds have been our unwanted friends for the last 5 days....and as I write this, it has started to rain!! So, we havent been able to get to the beach for a swim, but not to worry, we have filled our days with other such fun!!! Also, commencing on the 13th of August, was not only Lara´s birthday, but the San Sebastian festival....which included many different events and activities!!
After getting off the bus, we dumped our bags in the hostel and hit the old quarter for some tapas!! We asked a local for a recommendation, and we made a bee-line straight toward Bar Narrika...and Patatas Bravas was on the menu!!! We knew we were in a quality pintxos bar when we saw the state of the floor...if it is filthy, covered with rubbish and certainly is a place you would not eat in back home...then in Spain, you have come to the right place!! So, we relaxed at the bar, ordered a local specialty of Kalimotxo (red wine and coke...I know this doesnt sound like the way to drink red wine, but it is amazing!) and indulged into our spanish tapas! We ordered Patatas Bravas (fried potato cubes with white sauce and some sort of red sauce)...we loved it!!!! As we stood there and soaked up the atmosphere, we realised that there weren´t any tourists whatsoever in this bar, and yet it was packed, so we decided to stay on with the locals and we ordered some calamari!!! Beautiful....we then knew that our time in San Sebastian was going to be a gastronomical one!
Day 1 - We started the day by exploring the old town and all the spanish jewellery boutiques, and had lunch in a restaurant called "Disco Burger", where we discovered the concept of `terrace tax´ (is what it sounds...you pay more to sit outside!). We then head up Mount Urgull for a view over San Sebastian...it was beautiful, and we decided to just sit atop the hill and reflect on our trìp, those little things we have been missing, and gearing up for our journey home. Afterwards, we walked around the coast and watched the yachts battle the high seas!! After our siesta, we ventured back to the tapas bar for our Bravas specialty and then tried `Argala´, which was a roll filled with turkey, bacon, mushroom, cheese and green peppers...accompanied with Kalimotxo!
Day 2 - Today was Lara´s 25th Birthday!!!!!!!!!!!! After waking up and wishing her the happiest of birthdays, we went for a walk along the beach and sat on the pier for a while before it was time to call her Mum!!! After more birthday wishes from Melbourne, it was time for the event of the day! For her 25th, I took La to the Spanish Day Spa, which was referred to locally as the "Spa Fitness Circuit", as it was a combination of an underwater gym, and therapeutic jets! We then went and celebrated with 2 jugs of sangria over lunch with a great view of the bay! On the way back for our afternoon siesta, we picked up some patisserie´s, to serve as La´s birthday cake. After our sugar hit had subsided, we tried to go out for dinner but the festival was in full swing and we couldnt get in anywhere!!! Although, we still had a great night as the first night of the International Fireworks Competition was about to begin....Ukraine was up!!!
Day 3 - Today we took an hour bus ride out to the city of Bilbao to see the famous Guggenheim Museum!!! After seeing it on the website, there was a weird sensation as it first came into view in reality!! After travelling throughout Europe, I have finally recognised the style of art that I appreciate most...modern architecture!! This building is fascinating, quite along the same lines as Gaudi...in the fact that the architect does not use any straight lines!!!! Most interesting...
We arrived back home at 7:30pm, to only hit our favourite tapas bar for an early dinner (at 9pm mind you!)!! We were known as regulars at this point....and were welcomed as "friends!" We stayed for another 2 Kalimotxo, and then went to see the next entry in the fireworks competition...Castellion!!!
Day 4 - Today was a bit of a chill out day. We had planned on hitting the sandy beach (quite rare in Europe), but our hearts broke when we woke up to find another overcast day! Not only that, but we soon discovered it was a public holiday...so not many shops open! Not to worry, we spent our morning in a cafe enjoying patisserie´s and drinking coffee...and spent the afternoon in a bar drinking sangria which will probably be for the last time as we leave Spain tomorrow!!! We went to our tapas bar for dinner and had Bravas and said goodbye to our local friends. Now, I know you are probably thinking...did you eat anywhere else or experience any other food???? Well, I will tell you that the beauty about tapas and being in a town with more bars per square metre than anywhere else in the world is....you can just eat your way through town!!!
San Sebastian definitely was no disappointment and a great way to end our experience in Spain. With all the tapas, sangria and beaches....this was our idea of Spain!! Next stop....Bordeaux - the wine region of France!!!!
PS. Thanks to La for letting me write this entry.....
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