Discovering Basque country in San Sebastián

The moment I stepped off the train from Madrid and I touched the Basque soil for the first time, I’ve already felt I’m in a completely different world. 5 hours and a half after a comfortable and quite fast journey and I’m on the North-East side of Spain, in Basque country… The smell of the air, the greenness , the mountains and the sea.. Everything is different and so alluring… I’ve chosen San Sebastian because of its fame as the capital of pintxos – their way of tapas. Even though it was so far from other places I wanted to visit in Spain, I was was quite firm and stubborn – I needed to see for myself what’s the fuss all about. And if I thought Madrid food was good, what can I now say about San Sebastián ? What sort of superlatives can I use which actually will depict the food scene here? No idea… Let’s just put it simply, it’s amazing and fantastic;) I just wish I could share it with the special someone who’d would definitely appreciate it:) But that’s for the next time. This summer it was just me discovering the overwhelming food scene here.

But it’s not only food that counts in San Sebastián, although I’m pretty sure it would be a reason enough to come here again. It is situated in a very picturesque place. The last hour on the train transported me to never ending green, misty mountains with the promise of seeing the water-the Atlantic. Already then it was exciting. The weather after the heat in Andalucía and Madrid’s warmth was so inviting – the day I’ve arrived it was cool and cloudy and even rained at some point. I’ve found my airbnb pretty easily and I learnt that I’m the only one staying there for the next couple of days. What a nice surprise after the hostel – flat for myself.

As this time I was staying for couple of days, I took it easy and sort of went with the flow.

I went cycling one day and going on the funicular to the top of the mountain. San Sebastián is a cyclists paradise with its long and safe cycling lanes and generally flat landscape and due to the mild temperatures there’s no better way to discover the town than on two wheels. The view from Mount Igualado it’s worth the queue to the old style funicular.

I spent a day at the beach – which cost me a quite terrible sunburnt. Never trust the north beaches with its wind and light sun as you’ll stay longer than you should. Stupid mistake that cost me at least one day of suffering plus quite real possibility of skin peeling. In Malta I never stay longer than an hour as first of all, I prefer to swim than sunbathe and secondly it’s definitely too hot. Therefore I rarely use sunscreen but here with its nice breeze and refreshing sea, I’ve managed 5 hours and the results were, let’s put it mildly. A bit devastating… And I’m not that fair skinned in general, so go figure…

One day was spent in neighbouring France in Biarritz but a separate post will tell you about it 🙂

And the rest, walking around and trying different pintxos, enjoying the fresh air and the smell of the sea. What else do you need during your holidays ?

Pinxtos in San Sebastián are a serious affair. There are either layered small sandwiches or miniature portions or raciones of main courses. The attention to detail in presentation and taste it’s at its outmost. I think each of the bars has at least one pinxto that’s worth coming back to… I’ve tried several, treating myself to few pintxos then and there. Just bear in mind, these are miniature portions even though they look bigger in the photos… Everything seems bigger in pictures, right? In comparison to the rest of Spain I have visited so far, it is a bit more expensive but taking into an account that even the small pinxto is a piece of art, I think it’s worth it. And besides because of the price you do eat less but of better quality, so it doesn’t make you fatter. That’s what i keep saying to myself lately although I’m pretty sure despite all the walking and cycling here, I did indulge a bit here. But that was the point of this summer, no? Food and language immersion at its best…

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