A visit to Basque Country...the best so far

San Sebastian Travel Blog

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The Cathedral in San Sebastion.

I didn't think I would have time for Baque country during this trip, but I am glad I made the trip.  Basque is an autonomous region of Spain and a minority still want to make it a seperate country.  The active (depending on the month) terrorist/political group ETA means that the the police in Basque tend to have a little more firepower than anywhere else in Spain.  Basque also has it own language which was banned during the time of Franco.  It appears that most of the people spoke Spanish to one another in the big cities, but all street signs were in the local language (Basque).  The bigger problem is that while Catalan (the language spoken in Barcelona) is pretty similar to French/Spanish/Italian, Basque is unlike any other language in the world.

A pincho/tapas restaurant.
  For example here are some translations:

English             Spanish              Basque

airport              aeropuerto        aireportua

center               centro                erdia

toilet                 servicios            komuna

San Sebastion  San Sebastian   Donastia


The beach in San Sebastian. Despite most people were wearing jackets a few people were still out nude on the beach.
..so luckily they understood my Spanish and normally my English.  On the positive sides, the cities seemed so clean and organized.  No garbage in the streets, limited grafiti and plenty of green space both in and surrounding the cities.  San Sebastian is actually a beach town surrounded by mountains that looked absolutely amazing.  I do wish it was a bit warmer to enjoy the beach.  While there were a few nude sun-bathers on the beach, most people had coats.  The Gugenheim museum in Bilbao is the favorite of the many art museum I have been to in Spain and I actually considered going back a second time in the same weekend.  A funicular also gave us a great overlook of the cities.
This crappy drink is what they served me when I ordered a capuccino.
  The cities also had the best food so far in Spain.  I ate Tapas for almost every meal and there seemed to be so much more variety than anywhere in Spain. 

On the down side, transportation was a little more difficult than most cities.  In barcelona, I can go to the main trainstation and pick almost any city in the area and a train will be headed there.  In Bilbao, there are two train companies and one main bus station in which numerous companies operate making it a little bit more difficult to get around on public transportation.  Since some cities also have two names (one in Basque, one in Spanish) I wasn't adventurous enough to rent a car and try to navigate the roads alone.  This would have been the best way to see a little more part of the area and because of that I missed out on the wine region (la Rioja).  Still a great place to go, but a car would be a strong recommendation.

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The Cathedral in San Sebastion.
The Cathedral in San Sebastion.
A pincho/tapas restaurant.
A pincho/tapas restaurant.
The beach in San Sebastian.  Despi…
The beach in San Sebastian. Desp…
This crappy drink is what they ser…
This crappy drink is what they se…