For a relaxing weekend in Spain, look no further than San Sebastian! I told my mom I would stay away from “the bad place” but I couldn’t hold off any longer. After four years of coming and going to Spain, I finally made it to the North – to Pais Vasco. Pais Vasco is a part of Spain that 1) is home to former terrorist group ETA and 2) wants to form its own country because its people claim they aren’t like the rest of Spain.
Well, my thoughts on the second part of the Pais Vasco description are this: it is Spain. The only main difference is that the tapas are the best I’ve ever had and that the language was strange. In Pais Vasco, they speak Basque/Vasco. Really, it is just like the rest of Spain, but just a few slight differences – the same differences you see in Barcelona (Catalan) and Valencia (Valenciano). Again, the tapas were great – all the reason to go back again.
I went with my Extremadurian/American friend, Kristen. We had our first travels together to Romania back in December 2011. Neither of us had been to San Sebastian, so I jumped at the chance to go when Kristen mentioned it to me. This was our plan: Thursday night we’d go for tapas in Valladolid. Friday and Saturday were allotted to San Sebastian! Sunday we’d explore Valladolid again, just before Kristen had to return to Caceres. It was a fantastic plan and we executed it “atope!”
San Sebastian was everything I could have asked for on a relaxing weekend away! We climbed a mountain to visit Jesus (there was a gigantic Jesus statue) – and after half an hour of climbing, we made it! The views were amazing, overlooking the port and Playa de la Concha. We stopped for one of the best canas I’ve ever had, super cool and refreshing. We sat awhile and took in the view some more, which never got old.
|Main plaza along the beach!|
|Playa de la Concha! Springtime happiness!|
|Beautiful flowers on all the trees!|
|Stopping along the way for a photo shoot!|
|Overlooking the cafe where we stopped for cañas!|
|Cool. Crisp. Refreshing. Cañas.|
|San Sebastian, you rock.|
After our trek, we took time to eat some tapas – our first round of many of the trip. Basically, in San Sebastian, you take a plate and help yourself. You show the waiter what you’ve taken so he can put it on your tab – and then you just dig. right. in. YUM! We watched the sun set from the surfer beach, had more tapas, and called it a night.
|Surfer beach for the sunset.|
|The sunset was rather spectacular.|
|View from the port. The white lit building is lit up for different festivals in different colors!|
|Grab a plate and help yourself. Be careful, it's a little crowded.|
|Tapas for two.|
Sunday, we managed to do some walking along the Playa de la Concha to visit a theme park that was on top of another mountain on the other side of the town. We took the teleferico to the top and had another great view of the city.
|San Sebastian, Playa de la Concha|
|Coming up. Going down.|
|Mysterious River? Elastic Beds? (aka, boat ride or trampolines)|
Sunday’s weather was insane! 27 degrees Celsius (74 degrees Fahrenheit) in April! We were stripping like it was our job! We went for a nice boat rideWe decided to rent bikes in the afternoon to go see this famous “comb” statue at the complete opposite end of town from where we were staying. After we arrived, we decided to have more cañas to tell ourselves “good job” and after, we went back to the hotel to head out for another night of tapas. Really, it was a pattern – cañas, tapas, beach, great views, cañas, tapas, bike… It was such a nice getaway from boring Valladolid.
|View of the Bay of Biscay... from the Bay of Biscay! We went on a boat ride! Wahoo!|
|Port of San Sebastian.|
|Port and blue blue water!|
|"The Comb" Statue|
|The comb is rather big...|
I had quite the surprise on our train ride back home: an old train hotel (we were just in a car with seats, not a sleeping car) from the 1800s, seriously! Ok, it wasn’t that old, but it was probably from the 80s, and I couldn’t get over it! Nowadays, Spain’s trains are all high speed and super nice. I can’t say the same for this train. When I asked the ticket taker how old the train was, he told me “the people around you are much older than the train!” Thanks for the joke, funny ticket taker.
|If you've ever been on a Spanish train... I think you'll agree this isn't the norm. |
Seriously, looks like we were in a train in Eastern Europe or somewhere!
All in all, San Sebastian blew me away. I had seen photos of its beach before, but to see it in person is another thing! And the tapas – wow!! I can’t say enough great things about the weekend. Seriously.
So, mom, the next time you ask me if I’m going to “the bad place”, I’ll just tell you “I’m going to get some tapas and enjoy the views.” Then, I don’t think you’ll tell me to “stay away” – but rather, “GO!”