Holidaying with the hordes

Trip Start Jun 25, 2008
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Trip End Jul 08, 2008


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Flag of Spain  ,
Tuesday, July 1, 2008

From Bilbao we took a bus east to San Sebastian, which is also in the Basque area and very close to the French border.

As we walked up the river from the bus station, we were struck with how pretty it was with gorgeous buildings in a warm yellow stone and a definite holiday feel. It is situated on the coast and the old town juts out between two bays.

One beach has waves and we spent a lot of time there, and the famous Concha bay where the Spanish royal family has a summer palace is on the other side. An offshore island blocks its waves.

On our first afternoon there the beach was packed and full of topless sunbathers (and one totally naked man). It takes a while to get used to but is done in a relaxed manner so seems quite natural after awhile (though I wasn't going to join them).

After hanging out on the beach, we climbed up to the castle on the hill in front of the old town, which has a statue of Jesus on the top. It was a lovely grassy park full of people and their well-behaved dogs and had fantastic views over both beaches and the town.

The Basque area is famous for its take on tapas, called pintxos, so we had to try some. They were tasty variations on seafood and peppers served on French bread. In one place there was a gutter under the bar and everyone was expected to throw their mussel shells and trash into it and they hose it out at the end of the night. Again, quite a good idea but a shock to walk into a place with so much litter visible.

We also enjoyed some light bubbly Spanish wine (I can't recall its name - nothing to do with the quantity drunk) with two Argentineans, an Aussie girl and French guy.

Surprisingly, everything started closing at midnight, but since we had finally forked out for a bed (rather than tenting or sleeping on the bus), it made sense to use it. 

We lazed on the beach the next day and picnicked on incredibly cheap and tasty sangria and French cheese. It is so good to be back in the land of cheese with flavour after most of South America where cheese is like tofu.
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