Blogs from San Sebastián, Basque Country, Spain, Europe


Europe » Spain » Basque Country » San Sebastián July 13th 2022

Our bodies still think they’re in Toronto, so we sleep in until nearly lunchtime yet again. We both think that San Sebastián is now close to our favourite place on the planet, so we’re feeling very sad that this is our last day here. Issy says that we’ll feel happier if we go for a long hike, so we head off towards the lush green hills of the Mount Ulia ridge at the east end of Zurriola Beach. It’s hot yet again, and it’s a bit of a struggle getting up the steep steps through suburbia. But it’s worth the effort; the views from the forest down over the crowded beach are excellent. The path deteriorates into a maze of goat tracks leading off in all directions. We don’t know where we are or even where ... read more
Ancient watchtower, Ulia Ridge
Kursaal Auditorium and Congress Centre
Zurriola Beach from Ulia Ridge

Europe » Spain » Basque Country » San Sebastián July 12th 2022

We had a big day yesterday so we sleep in and have a morning (and half an afternoon for that matter) of domestics. We eventually decide that that’s more than enough idleness for one day and set off to climb the mighty Mount Urgull which guards the east side of La Concha Bay. The trail starts off gently enough through wide avenues of tall lush green trees, but we’re still puffing hard by the time we reach the public library, well the sign says it’s the public library, although the lack of anything resembling a book suggests the sign could be slightly out of date. If it was ever a public library its readers must have all been very fit. Anyway, the views over the Bay and across to Mount Igueldo on the opposite shore are ... read more
Kursaal Bridge
Zurriola Beach from Mount Urgull
La Concha Bay from Mount Urgull

Europe » Spain » Basque Country » San Sebastián July 10th 2022

We’ve seen quite a few people around town wearing white uniforms with cute red scarves around their necks. The Google machine tells us that this is the dress code for the annual festival of the Running of the Bulls at Pamplona, which looks to be less than a hundred kilometres south of here, and it seems that the festival is on right now. There are still four days to go, so we’re not quite sure whether the people we’ve seen have done their runs yet. If they have, the lack of blood stains suggests that they’ve either managed to get hold of some excellent bleach, or they’ve completed their runs successfully, even the toddlers. Further reading suggests we can stop worrying about the toddlers; it seems that almost everyone in Pamplona (and here too apparently) wears ... read more
Elizbarrutiko Seminarioa (Catholic Church)
Mount Igueldo
Mount Igueldo funicular

Europe » Spain » Basque Country » San Sebastián July 9th 2022

Our cute little apartment has a washing machine so we decide on a morning of domestics … well that was the plan until we couldn’t find the detergent or the clothes pegs. So it’s off to the supermarket. The detergent is easy, but the pegs, well ….. I think briefly about asking, but surprising as it may seem, “clothes pegs” didn’t make the top 50 or so on my list of important phrases to learn in Spanish. Several supermarkets later I spy some on the shelves, and my long and dangerous (they drive fast here) mission is now complete. But our problems have only just begun. “I don’t know how to work the washing machine”, says Issy. I didn’t do the clothes washing module in either of my engineering degrees, but still all is not lost. ... read more
Old San Sebastián waterfront
Zurriola Beach
Zurriola Beach sunset

Europe » Spain » Basque Country » San Sebastián July 8th 2022

We hope that zombiness isn’t a permanent state, but it’s hard to be sure as we awake from our travel induced comas in the late afternoon. As we head off to stock up on some supplies from the supermarket, I remark to Issy that it feels like we’re in Europe. Hang on, that comment was a left over from Quebec. We are in Europe, which doesn’t do too much to ease any lingering concerns we might have about zombiness being permanent. Travel is great, well except for the part where you actually have to travel. Arriving at and exploring destinations really is great, but with airports the way they are at the moment, hopelessly understaffed, and the staff that are there hopelessly undertrained, the actual bit where you have to: (1) get there three or four ... read more
Old San Sebastián
Old San Sebastián
 Koruko Andre Mariaren Basilika, Old San Sebastien

Europe » Spain » Basque Country » San Sebastián July 7th 2022

We land in Lisbon feeling like zombies. We manage to lose Issy’s boarding pass for the next leg not once but twice, but no problem we’re told both times; just go the kiosk and print it again. I wonder what exactly will happen when two pretend Issy’s try to get on the flight. This airport’s just like all its post COVID cousins - queues and more queues, all of them moving at glacial pace. … and officials yelling angrily at everyone; do they really think that passengers are deliberately not understanding the overly complex procedures for getting anywhere at the moment, at least that’s how they feel to us. We land in Bilbao. We’ve spent several frustrating hours over the past few days trying to fill in what we were told was a mandatory health form ... read more

Europe » Spain » Basque Country » San Sebastián November 5th 2021

Leaving a city like Barcelona is not the easiest thing to do. Sure, it's fairly straight-forward from a logistical point of view, but from a traveler's point of view, it is more challenging. Barcelona is a fabulous place that provided a marvelous time for us. It is no small wonder why people rave about it. was time to move on. We'd been on the road for over 40 days and seen great places, great friends and eaten some stunningly tasty food. With only one stop left before our return to the States, how do you transition from such a lively place like Barcelona? You go to San Sebastian, also known as Donostia, in the north east of Spain. Not far from the border with France, this is one place we would recommend to anyone. It's ... read more
Scenes from the overlook
An explosion of flavors
Romantic City Streets

Europe » Spain » Basque Country » San Sebastián October 17th 2021

Heute war ich also in San Sebastian. Beim Frühstück hat man das mit spanischem Käse und Schinken gemerkt, die ich beide probiert habe. Dann startete ich meinen Spaziergang. Die größte Sehenswürdigkeit ist die Seepromenade am Playa de la Concha. Mein Hotel ist nur rund 100 Meter davon entfernt und vom Zimmer kann ich die Bucht und dahinter den Berg Monte Urgull gut sehen. Diesen habe ich aber nicht bestiegen. Oben ist eine alte Festung mit einer Christus-Statue und er bildet die zweite große Attraktion der Stadt. Statt dessen bin ich am Rathaus vorbei in die Altstadt (Parte Vieja) mit dem Plaza de la Constitucion und im Anschluss daran zu einem Starbucks und wieder zurück. Anders als in Frankreich wurde dabei meine CovPass-App nicht gefragt, Masken wurden aber in Innenräumen getragen. Im Hotel konnte ich dann gut ... read more
Spaziergang durch San Sebastian.
Spaziergang durch San Sebastian.
Spaziergang durch San Sebastian.

Europe » Spain » Basque Country » San Sebastián October 16th 2021

Heute habe ich im Hotel Pancakes gefrühstückt und mich dann auf den Weg in den Süden gemacht. Insgesamt waren für den Tag über 400 Kilometer geplant und nach gut 2 Stunden machte ich die erste Tank-, Drink- und Toilettenpause. Etwas später erreichte ich das bekannte Seebad Biarritz, wo ich die Tiefgarage gut finden konnte, aber da ich dort in die falsche Richtung fuhr, musste ich umdrehen und bin dabei hinten an einem Betonpfeiler angestoßen. Das hat mich geärgert. Dafür war es dann kein weiter Weg zur Sehenswürdigkeit und Wahrzeichen Rocher de la Vierge. Das ist eine Marienfigur auf einer kleinen Insel, die über eine Brücke mit dem Land verbunden ist. Hier hat man durch die blaue See und das schöne Wetter dann doch gemerkt, dass ich nun im Süden angekommen bin. Dort habe ich auch noch ... read more
Spaziergang durch Biarritz.
Spaziergang durch Biarritz.
Spaziergang durch Biarritz.

Europe » Spain » Basque Country » San Sebastián September 12th 2019

We left Barcelona early on a stormy morning and caught a fast Renfe train to San Sebastian in Basque country, all the way across the other side of the country on the west coast. 5 and a half hours later we were in San Sebastian or Donostia in Basque language. The Basque language, we quickly learned, is vastly different to any language we've heard and we learned that no-one actually knows the origins of the language though we were later told there was a study to find out the linguistic origins of the Basque language and it was established that it's the closest language to the caveman surprisingly. But everyone speaks Spanish of course, and really I only heard Spanish around me, even bar staff speaking amongst themselves spoke Spanish so I'm not sure of the ... read more
Truffled rice with foie
Squid with 3 sauces
Pinxtos bar

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