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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thank you Brett Tallman!

My friend Brett studied abroad in Spain last Fall. While he was there he visited the Basque region where he fell in love with the town of San Sebastian, known as Donostia to the Basque people. He sent me an email saying he guaranteed I too would fall in love with this gem of a desination on the Northwest Coast of Spain. So since the moment I knew I would be living in Germany San Sebastian has been on the top of my list to vist. I have no idea why it has taken me so long to visit Spain, but the wait has been well worth it. And Brett was right, I am in love with this very special place.

We flew from Munich to the island of Mallorca. And then from Mallorca to Bilbao. We took a bus to the city of Bilbao to check out the Guggenheim Museum. We did not go for what was inside the museum though, we went for the exterior. The only other building remotely similar to this is the Experience Music Project (EMP) in Seattle. I cannot upload picture here but I promise I will when I get back. Yes, I know I never upload pictures but I really am going to get some up SOON. The building is a collaboration of so many shapes and is mostly made out of titanium. It is just fantastic to look at. We walked over a bridge and then along the river across from the museum taking oh so many pictures.

When we had seen the structure from I think every angle possible except from the air we took the bus the rest of the way to the main bus terminal to catch the hour and 15 minute bus to San Sebastian. It was perfect timing because we boarded the bus just before it pulled out.

We were not sure how to take a city bus to the old town where we are staying, so we had a lovely walk along the river board walk. It was a perfect night and I am so glad we were able to walk. Once in town we struggled to find out hostel at first, but eventually with the help of some other travellers we ran into and a nice lady in a pastry shop we found our hostel that was right under our nose just with limited signage.

After settling into our room and getting some great directions and a map from our reception we headed out to dinner. Brett also gave me great advice. The main fair here is Basque tapas known as Pintxos pronounced peen-chose. Many restaurants have these things out on the counter of the bar. It costs less to stand and eat at the bar rather than at a table. You can also order things from the kitchen but all of it is in small portions. I LOVE IT. You get to have so many different things. So perfect for me.

First we went to a place and were sort of getting the feel for what to do. We ordered a sider which is famous here. It is made out of fresh apples without added sugar or carbonation. It is poured from high above the gladd and in small amounts so you consume it in only a few drinks because the longer it is in the glass it looses the little bit of natural carbonation it has. I really like the unique flavor of it. We ate five different pintxos on baguette and then ordered a shrimp skewer that was mmmmm so good. It was a recommendation of the receptionist.

Our next stop was one of Brett's favorite places and now I know why. We each had a glass of the white wine special to the region that was very good. Then I asked for three fish pintxos whatever he decided. My tastebuds have seldom been in a grater state of pleasure than eating those three dishes. A scallop, fish with onions under it, and octopus. I don't know what they did to them but WOW!

After than we wandered a little but were pretty tired so we headed back to bed.

This morning we got up pretty late and it felt so good. :) We left the hostel around noon and headed toward Gros on the other side of the river where we were told is not touristy at all and has a nice beach that many people surf at. For a couple hours we just wandered around. We saw the craziest dog that I think the lady dreaded it's hair. We have a picture of that too because I really wanted it and so we ran after the lady for blocks until Ryan got a good shot. Good thing she didn't notice her stalkers. We also found this awesome store that I treated myself to a few new clothing purchases because they had a whole rack of items for only 5 euro each. I was loving it. Then we went to a grocery store where Ryan got a couple snacks and a bottle of sider that is currently chilling in the fridge for later. It was only 1,50 euro for the bottle. What a deal. We tried to find a pintxos bar the reception told us about in the morning but we could not find it and they were hesitant on the street and the name so who knows if we were even in the right place. But we went somewhere else and enjoyed what we had especially the big green olives that he poured some garlic and olive oil on. Mmmmmmm And after that we went to the beach for over an hour just sitting, reading, splashing in the waves, taking pictures, and enjoying God's magnificent creation that has been named Donostia.

After the beach we walked all along the water on the board walk for hours. Eventually we stopped and each had a drink at a sea side outside restaurant. I tried the red wine cola combo that they drink here. I always like to try what the locals do. Can you believe it I did not hate it? I am going to start mixing all sorts of things with wine and beer after the combos I have tried in Europe.

And now we have been back at the hostel for a couple hours having what Ryan is calling our siesta. He has been sleeping mostly and I have been reading about Spain and now look at how productive I am on my blog. A treat for all my readers and also for me because now I am one step ahead of where I normally am. Even though I have a lot of catching up to do from my last few trips.

Well that has been everything so far. Now I need to go get Ryan up so we can go pleasure ourselves wtih more pintxos for dinner. Adios amigos! (trying to learn Spanish and oddly I am telling Ryan Spanish words even though he is the only one of the two of us who studied it haha)

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