Getting to the Basque Country
San Sebastian Travel Blog› entry 22 of 28 › view all entries
Today was a full day...again. We had to check out of the hotel by 11am so I packed last night just so I was ready and didn´t have to rush in the morning. We left our bags at the hotel and headed out for El Rastro, a large flea market that´s open on Sundays in Madrid. The guidebook warned us clearly that the pick pockets were out in force there and to be very careful without belongings.
Kim held her backpack in front of her and I put all my stuff in my front pocket where I could keep my hand on it just in case. Despite our eagerness to get some good deals on travel gifts we were disappointed. There really wasn´t much there. We didn´t even get the feeling that there were pickpockets were around, or maybe they were just that good.
Much of our day would end up involving travelling. We took the metro to the train station and after a short wait hopped on the train.
The Spanish RENFRE system isn´t as foreigner friendly as I found it in Italy. There weren´t computer terminals to buy our tickets from, we had to go to the counters. That means that it was harder to search information about train routes from the stations. Kim suggested that rather then show up at the train station to get our ticket that we check the internet first. I had done some planning with it while we were at home and had become familier navigating the site.
I´m glad she thought of this. Madrid actually has two train stations. One serves the north side of the country, and the other serves the rest. Coming from Seville we had arrived at the Atoche station. Since we were leaving to go to San Sebastian (on the northern coast) it turns out we would be leaving from the Chamartin station. If we hadn´t have looked on the internet we would have showed up at Atoche and had a big delay in our trip.
Additionally we found out there are only two trains going to San Sebastion from Madrid on Sunday. One early at 0830hrs and one later at 1610hrs. If we had showed up at 10am, even at the right station we would have been bummed and burdened by our luggage for any other things we wanted to do.
We actually purchased our tickets on the internet and were ready to go. The wait at the train station was planned and gave us some time to eat, relax, and get on the train timely.
The train trip was good. The key to a good train trip is to pack munchies and books. We did both and were content for the entire trip.
We disembarked at around 9pm and contrary to Rick Steve´s recommendation to catch a cab we walked to our hotel which was perfectly located in the old town part of San Sebastian right next to a tapas resturant I had been excited to visit.
The Cevecerias La Mejillonera was a cool place we found in the guide book located right next door to our hotel. For 3€ you got a plate (racíon) of mussells dressed to order. They had a lot of sauces/toppings and it came with some bread. We ordered some beers to go with them and were stuffed quickly.
The sites, even at night, around San Sebastian were incredible.