For the love of San Sebastián

Hola from San Sebastián which is referred to by the locals as Donostia. We wake not knowing what the time is; our room is pitch black because our windows are enclosed with roller shutters. Wow! They really don’t look much from the outside but are bloody amazing, no light or sound enters the room at all. I’m tempted to get these beauties for home, I could take snaps of our house and upload them onto the Ethnic Homes and Gardens facebook page (funny page to follow if you appreciate the #woglyf).

Marga meets us at the front door to kindly walk us to the city centre so as we know the short route. On the walk we learn much about life in the Basque country and it’s people who refer to themselves as Donostiarra rather than Spanish.

Marga explains the land marks of Donostia that we must see including; Playa de La Concha bay, Mont Urgull, Monte Igueldo, San Sebastián cathedral and the enormous Jesus statue.

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The view over Donostia from our accommodation

We are reasonably familiar with these attractions given the research we undertook when planning for this trip. Anton’s a bit of a walking historian and I pride myself on having an appreciation for culture but SOSE was probably not my strongest point at school (still not really sure what was!).

Anyhow, it was important for both of us to have a strong understanding of each country before arriving. I guess it’s our way of showing appreciation to the country and respect to it’s people.

Marga clarifies that San Sebastián is a food mecca renowned for its Basque cuisine and explains that Spain has the highest number of Michelin star restaurants in the world, many of these are the pintxos bars packed into the old quarter of San Sebastián. Can you imagine how excited us two fatty boombas are by this foodie culture?

It’s a pleasant fifteen minute down hill walk with plenty of superb viewing spots to over look the city and the bay. Once we hit the town centre to go exploring on our own, we feel confident enough with navigating the back streets to make it home alone. Before Marga parts she books me in for a blow wave on Monday at her salon.

We spend some time in the shops (of course we do) in the new town to buy a little of San Sebastián’s fashion. Wow! The Donostian’s are immaculate, the women are all striking and the men are so darn handsome ~ tanned, strong featured and all have brilliant bodies and oh my their hair is unbelievably lush ~ what a gene pool this place has created!! It’s obvious every single person takes extreme pride in their appearance and it’s easy to distinguish us as travellers from the locals.

In our stroll through the new town we enter the Good Shepherd Cathedral of San Sebastián, we say a few prayers to the heavens and head off with watery mouths for the old town, quickly discovering the food bars.

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Good Shepherd Cathedral~

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The Pintxos bars~

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First serve ~
We get the gist of the honour system, eating and drinking at the packed out bars and then paying before leaving. We sample plenty of Donostian Rioja (wine) and Sidra (cider). The sidra is routinely poured out of a long neck and is held about one metre above the glass, letting it spill out and pouring no more than a mouthful at a time. ~ You could imagine the splash and dash that this causes!! It’s true what we heard about San Sebastian being home to the world’s best pintxos.

We ate our way around the laneways with the hundreds of other people, it was so packed as it was a long weekend across the EU and San Sebastián appeared to be the holiday destination of choice.

The hustle and bustle made for a fun filled afternoon. By 4pm the laneways were sleeping, everyone had headed home to revitalise for the Saturday nightlife of San Sebastian. We head home in need of dumping our shopping bags and to take a siesta with the rest of the city. Seriously loving this place, mandated afternoon naps. Amazing!! Bet everyone lives until they’re 100 here.

We wake to realise the evening is drawing upon us so we wonder back into the city via Zurriola beach, it is a beautiful beach that is hard to fault.

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Zurriola beach at La Concha Bay~

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Magical Sunset over La Concha bay~

We soak up the sunset and then head to Bar Nestor, it’s a cosy and very crowded venue in the Parte Vieja neighbourhood. We miss the 7 o’clock speciality by about two hours, supposedly the best tortilla ever made, there are 16 slices and it’s a first in first served arrangement. People line up to enter for ages

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Bustling Bar Nestor~

We ramble a space at the bar and order the three other dishes this place is known for ~ a big chunk of steak cooked very rare, actually pouring blood rare but seriously delicious..

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We enjoy guindillas (green peppers) and a plate of tomato salad, mopping up the oil and salt with bread

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True European style, I’d hate to imagine our cholesterol reading but the heart attack would be really well worth it.

We continued around the laneways, making new friends as we stopped for drinks in the street and finishing off our night with churros and chocolate. As you could imagine, I’m skinny as by now!!

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Drinking chocolate sauce by the cup is the thing to do~

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Laneway Love~

It’s a big hill climb home, probably walked off 1/ 100th of the calories gained… Ahh whatevs we are in Spain!! We’ll worry about that tomorrow.. X

Anna Owens is the founder of ownsit! A mama working in Community Development and Partnerships Education. Anna is a colour crazy, creativity enthusiast who loves to design, collect shoes, eat & travel.. x

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