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Some Things I Love About San Sebastián

I have been in Spain over a month now and I’m just starting to process everything I have done.  Setting up a new life in Madrid has just been a sliver of the adventure. There has also been rich and rewarding travel in northern Spain and the south of France.  Through the beauty of it all there have also been the breakdowns that come with change and uncertainty, but the travel always trumps the tears.

I’ll start with a jewel of a Spanish Basque town that has been on my to-see list for years: San Sebastián, or Donostia as it is commonly referred to in Euskara, the language of the Spanish autonomous community, País Vasco.   Located in northern Spain on the Bay of Biscay, San Sebastián is only 20 kilometers from France and is known for its world-reknown gastronomy, surf, and inspiring coastal views.  Why it took me 10 years of traveling to Spain to make it here still remains a puzzle to me.  The tastes and the beauty of San Sebastián won me over in a matter of moments.  Let me share just a few things I love from this seaside heaven.

La Concha

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This beach does it for me.  I think back at our sunset strolls and evening runs along the promenade and just smile.  From one end to the other, La Concha is a striking scene that really just leaves me speechless.

Monte Urgull

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We raced out before sunset one evening with cheese, chorizo, and cava to climb the hill to the lookout on Monte Urgull. Perspiring and hearts pounding, we made it to the Christ statue at the top which overlooks La Concha below.  We had just missed the sun dip into the sea, but the city lights reflecting on the bay below was landscape enough.  This is a view I will cherish for life.

Pintxos

Pintxos with a view of the basilica.  A dream scene. Sigh.

Pintxos with a view of the basilica. A dream scene. Sigh.

San Sebastián does food right.  As the Parte Vieja starts to glow in evening light, the pintxos bars begin overflowing.  This is how my heaven tastes— small bites of any food you could dream of in pintxo portion.

I want it all...

I want it all…

Un pintxo of arroz, pro favor

Un pintxo of arroz, por favor

Mini hamburguesas--- no need to ask me twice.

Mini hamburguesas— no need to ask me twice.

Salmorejo, yum!

Salmorejo, yum!

Not a pintxo portion, but this paella was amazing.

Not a pintxo portion, but this paella was amazing.

But it gets better.  Two words: Pintxo Pote.

We made our way through town to the less touristy, Barrio Gros, where on Thursday nights the bars and streets fill to the brim.  The deal: 2 euros for a drink and pintxo.  I soon transitioned from cups of vino tinto to cups of carefully poured sidra, a drink of choice in the north.  Hours later we were stuffed after heaping bites of bolas, jamón, paella, tortilla, and the list goes on.  It was a foodie’s bar crawl heaven and I’m praying that there is a Thursday night I can race back up north to do it all again.

Sidra and bolas de carne picante

Sidra and bolas de carne picante

You know it's good when there is trash everywhere.

You know it’s good when there is trash everywhere.

I’ll be back, San Sebastián. Save me a bola.

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Norma Miller #

    I am so jealous!!
    Love Normita

    October 6, 2014
  2. …I ADORE San Sebastián–besides Llanes (and Oviedo), it’s the most beautiful town I’ve come across in the North, as of yet!!…

    Btw–I LOVE what you said about “the travel always trumps the tears”–SO true!!…

    October 6, 2014

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