La Vida es como una Montaña

San Sebastian Travel Blog

 › entry 13 of 29 › view all entries
the marina on la Concha (the "shell" or the beach) in San Sebastian
“La vida es como una montaña,” Betty told me yesterday. I don’t even remember how we got started on the topic, but I was sitting down to eat a delicious seafood and veggie stew she made me for dinner and we began chatting. This little chat turned into an hour-long conversation about life, pretty much.

Her comparison of “life is like a mountain” consisted of learning life lessons as though you´re climbing a mountain. The higher one climbs, the stronger s/he becomes. She, of course, was referring to her daughters. Since Betty and her daughters have (to say the least) a different relationship from the one my sister and I have with our mom, I didn´t see eye-to-eye with her on her philosophy of ¨after a certain point, a parent won´t be at the bottom of a mountain to catch the children if they should fall.
gothic cathedral in la parte vieja
¨ But then again, my sister and I didn´t drop out of high school or leave our two-year-old son to live with our mom for a year... But, ya know, that's another story altogether... Aside from the family drama, it was a really nice comparison. And I loved hearing it in Spanish because even though it was a metaphor, I completely understood what she was saying.


I went to País Vasco (San Sebastian and Bilbao) last weekend with my program. It was a fun trip, but it was cold and cloudy and rainy the whole time. I can see how San Sebastian would be an awesome place for a summer vacation though because it has some great beaches on the Bay of Biscay and very close to the French border. I liked Bilbao even better though (although I was held the minority opinion of the group) because it was more of a city and I guess you could say more commercial.
the bay of biscay with menacing clouds...
The architecture was more modern and the Guggenheim museum was awesome- definitely my favorite museum of Spain so far. It included some awesome works of Dalí and Miró and even some of Warhol and Leichtenstein... a whole bunch of different genres, but really cool. Then I found an all-vegetarian restaurant in Bilbao (thanks to my lonely planet guidebook) so I went there for lunch with two friends and it was dee-lish and refreshing that I didn't have to ask the waiter if there was any meat the entreés, only to have them say no, and then find myself staring at a plate of pork or tid-bits of bacon in my salad.

When we were there, the presidential elections were being held. As you may or may not know, País Vasco is home to the Spanish terrorist organization ETA (Euskadi Ta Askatasuna, or Basque Fatherland and Liberty).
The "Puppy" by Jeff Koons (a 43-foot statue made of flowers) at the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao
That weekend, they assassinated a politician in anticipation of the elections. We, of course, were in no danger, but it was still scary. Spain has three separate regions (País Vasco, Catalunya, and Galicia) that each hold a certain amount of nationalism and eagerness for independence from Spain. It is definitely present here in Catalunya, but not quite so much as it is (with ETA) in País Vasco. The regions' motives range from cultural pride (as displayed by their separate languages) to an uneven distribution (for example, all regions pay taxes to the government in Madrid, but don't always reap the benefits). It was really interesting to learn about all the political differences (Zapatero, the incumbent (socialist) won the elections, by the way) of Spain.

In other news, I helped an elderly woman cross the street this morning because she was afraid of falling in the middle of the road. ¨Tengo miedo de caerme,¨ (I´m afraid of falling) she told me. So I took her hand and helped her across the street, and she said ¨Tenga suerte, guapisima¨(Good luck to you, beautiful). How awesomely cliché is that?
mamacitapatti18 says:
OMG - I LOVE reading your blog and love you and miss you so mucho, Pooh. Write MORE!! I will see you one month from Tuesday and can't wait!! Sending you muchos besos and a big squish. Yo te amo muchisimo, MOM xoxoxo
Posted on: Mar 14, 2008
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the marina on la Concha (the shel…
the marina on la Concha (the "she…
gothic cathedral in la parte vieja
gothic cathedral in la parte vieja
the bay of biscay with menacing cl…
the bay of biscay with menacing c…
The Puppy by Jeff Koons (a 43-fo…
The "Puppy" by Jeff Koons (a 43-f…
The Guggenheim and the Puppy
The Guggenheim and the Puppy
another cathedral
another cathedral
the beach in San Sebastian (with J…
the beach in San Sebastian (with …