☺️May 13, 2019 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C
Der Fluss sieht heute extrem schön aus
Der Fluss sieht heute extrem schön aus
We are in Basque territory. I had heard of this area before but did not realise what it really meant. The Basque people were displaced when the border between France and Spain was drawn up after the war. The Basque people were just forgotten about. They had lived in their own country in this region for centuries. They have their own language, culture and history. They insist they are not Spanish or Catalonian (another group in Spain wanting their autonomy, centred in Barcelona). The Basque people are proud of their heritage and they live in a semi-autonomous area which bridges France and Spain. San Sebastian is the name General Franco, the Spanish dictator, gave this city, but the Basque people call it Donostia.
The Basque people have their own version of Tapas. They call it Pintxos (pronounced Pinchos). They are proud of this amazing way of presenting food and the chefs in the Pintxos bars are very competitive. The idea is that customers move from bar to bar, having one or two pintxos from each location. It means that people move up to 12 times to have dinner. The streets of the old city are packed with this crowd every afternoon and night, all seeking the best pintxos. It is amazing to see this take place. It's like the whole city is having a progressive dinner.
The pintxos are only a couple of euros each, and the variety is extensive. It is difficult to capture the atmosphere in photos but here are a few in an attempt to do so. This finger-food is a fantastic way to provide food for a large number of people. They take the idea to the extreme and the taste combinations are very adventurous - too adventurous for Sam. He couldn't bring himself to try any. He thought the octopus legs and fish eyes were lurking in every pintxos. Sam lacks courage when it comes to trying new foods.Read more
Sam and I set off to explore the beautiful coastal city of San Sebastian. It sits on the Bay of Biscay in the Atlantic Ocean. It faces north and the aspect of the city is magnificent. The beaches in this city are said to be among the best in Europe and, from what I have seen here and elsewhere, I don't doubt it. The beaches have beautiful sand and they are horseshoe-shaped with boats and ships dotting the waterways. There is a shipping harbour and a river that goes out into the sea.
There is a fort on each headland of the horseshoe shape, and two hills which can be climbed for a splendid view of the city. The views are quite breathtaking. Sam and I spent a few hours exploring and climbing the headland. The fort has areas called batteries, and one of them is called the Battery of Napolean because he took the city of placed his army in the fort. About a decade later the Spanish reclaimed the city in another battle and the French surrendered in that very fort. There is a sign that marks the spot. It is incredible to be walking in the very place where such major historical events took place.
There is a museum in the fort, and the chapel is in the centre of the fort right on top of the hill.
This city has about 400,000 inhabitants and it reminds me of Newcastle in terms of size and scale.Read more
The atmosphere and history of European cities reached out and grabs you and drags you into its spell. It is captivating to learn about the culture and history of each new people, the Basques being a new people and culture to me. They are respectful and do not behave drunkenly or disorderly. They obviously respect their culture and what it means to their families. All the families seem to work together in their communal projects, including the restaurants and shops.
The culture here does not revolve around massive shopping centres like it does in Australia. The individual shops are all side by side and provide a specialty and they don't try to do everything.
The historical buildings are all architecturally attractive and they are preserved carefully. There are a couple of modern buildings that have been architecturally bold, like the concert hall and the museum, but they blend with the old rather than create any dissonance.
The city is a place where one could spend weeks just getting to know and relaxing into its beauty and charm. Its are pity we only have a couple of days.
I sat for an hour this afternoon and listened to the best busking violinist I have ever heard. I spoke to her when she concluded her time and she told me in a strong accent that she was Russian and here on two weeks holiday. She was clearly a professional and she confirmed that when I spoke to her. She plays in Russia and teaches older students. Her English was poor but when she played it was like we were in a recital in the Opera House. It was a blessed hour in the town square. Many people were stopping, captivated by the surprising quality from someone merely busking. Hundreds of people walking past felt compelled to dig into their wallets to put money into her violin case. How could you not?Read more
Although it was a 5 hour train journey from Barcelona, we decided to go to Donostia-San Sebastián in northern Spain to get a taste of the Basque culture which is very unique. The Basque people actually at one point wanted to be independent from Spain (like many regions in Spain) and continue to retain their identity with their own language, traditions and more importantly food! This is also why this city has two given names: Donostia in Basque and San Sebastián in Spanish.
This region is well known for it's culinary expertise. We enjoyed going to typical Pintxos (pronounced Pinchos) bars where a wide array of tapas would be displayed to choose from. The selections are heavily focused on seafood as San Sebastián is located on the coast but you can also find some good meat as well. We enjoyed trying both hot and cold Pintxos like veal cheeks, octopus, and sea urchin to name a few. Everything we ate was so unique and different and definitely very fresh!
San Sebastián reminded us a lot of California with its beaches, surfers and chill atmosphere. It was a nice stop to explore this unique region in Spain and we highly recommend it for any foodies.Read more
Today was a beach day which was really good to do absolutely nothing
For lunch we got burgers and in it they had proper bacon and eggs which I haven't had since I left home so that made me very happy
About to head out for dinner now off to Bordeaux on the morning😊Read more
As we arrive Suki throws up and Trav is
holding it in as he leans over the canal. It was a transfer from hell with one of the volunteer surf camp chicks attempting to drive the van. After getting lost we made it to the city but her 3rd world driving skills and windy roads left most of the van ready to chunder. Luckily Trav realized we were only a short walk from our airbnb accommodation and we practically jumped out on the side of the road.
We check in to our airbnb place and met by our lovely host Eva who proceeds to wrote down a dozen recommended pintxos (tapas) bars in old town. After watching an amazing sunset we stroll into old town and check out the block of pintxos bars. It's Saturday night so it's packed with people and impossible to move so we settle for a quick snack then sit down at a quiet burger bar.
The next day we sleep in and walk a short 5 mins to the surf beach. With a weeks worth of surf camp it's time to test out our new skills. We find a place to hire 2 x 8ft long boards and hit the waves. It's a refreshing change from the subpar conditions at Moliets and in no time we're catching waves including a awesome green wave together. The swell is unpredictable and as the tide rises the waves become huge and crash right into the shore. We have some tapas and wash it down with sangria and Lambrusco before taking a picturesque stroll up the mountain overlooking the city with unbeatable sunset views. As the sun sets we walk back into Old Town to catch up with a friend we met at Surf Camp and dine at a few select Tapas bars.
Last day so we decide to walk to the other side of the city and catch a diagonal elevator to another city lookout with an adventure park up the top. The weather has cooled down and it's a relaxing sipping beer overlooking the city. One of the attractions is a massive owl that can sit on your arm if you're willing to pay.
A long walk back to the airbnb place to grab our bags and it starts to pour. We're saturated by the time we reach the bus station and have to change our clothes. It's a nice stay at the airport hotel and we binge watch Blacklist as we prepare for our flight to Germany tomorrow to begin our 2 month volunteering gig at a Husky Farm!Read more
There is only just over 30 miles between Biarritz and San Sebastian but the first thing that strikes you is the difference in culture especially the bars, restaurant's and biggest of all the food.
It couldn't be easier getting between the two on train. Simply get the train to Hendaye at the end of the line in France then walk 200 yards to the next platform which is Irun in Spain (these will hopefully be the last trains for a while).
After arriving in San Sebastian to great weather it was time to have a bike around. There are two main beaches and a great old town which is car free and where all your pintxos (think tapas but don't say that here) bars are. More than 200 of them. More on the pintxos bars and trying to work out how they work tomorrow.
A must is a walk upto the Castillo de La Mota which you can see where ever you are in San Sebastian. It offers amazing views of the city and on the way back dowm on the West side is a hidden bar which will offer you some of the best views and music you will find anywhere to have a beer.Read more
What a difference a day makes. Cold, wet and very windy. Only good thing was the strong winds meant the heavy showers came and left pretty quick.
I'd managed to pick up a ticket to watch Real Sociedad vs Real Madrid a couple of days ago so luckily the weather didn't have too much of an impact on the day. After a chilled morning I headed over to the ground for a few pre game beers and see what was going on.
Not your biggest of clubs Real Sociedad. Atmosphere around the ground reminded me of a Fulham game, a family club with everyone just having a good day out. The real stars were Real Madrid (no Ronaldo sadly) who are pushing fir the title and an average game was saved for Madrid by a Bale winner in the 80th minute. Fair play to the 100 or so Sociedad 'ultras' who didn't stop singing for the entire mate and the old fella next to me who spoke to me in Spanish the whole match. No idea what he said but a lot knodding and shouting at the ref when he did seemed to do the trick.
After the match it was time to head back to the old town to spend an website in the pintxos bars and try and work out how to order the food. Each bar varies slightly which doesn't help but basically you grab a plate help yourself to what's on the bar, order a few hot things (black squid ink risotto in one of the bars was amazing) and the barmen some how at the end seem to know exactly what you've had and everyone else. No idea how they do it but very impressive. Great atmosphere in all the bars with the locals not coming out for food until about 9/10pm the places are still buzzing with people eating and drinking well gone midnight.
Great weekend in San Sebastian will definitely be back. Back on the bike tomorrow and can't wait.Read more
Hey, I just met you... and this is crazy
You might also know this place by the following names:
Alderdi Eder Parkea