San Sebastian

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San Sebastian

After leaving Bilbao we headed to our next destination.

San Sebastian is a seaside resort in the Basque area of Spain, it sits on the bay of Biscay. We arrived at around 2pm on Thursday as arranged with our host. The Sat Nav didn’t know the street our apartment sits on was one way, so we had done a tour of the Bay Area and it’s windy streets before we finally stopped outside the front door.

Thankfully garage parking came with the apartment as parking is really difficult in this busy town. The down side to all this was the array of keys – one for the garage and lift up, another for the front door and another for the inside door. They caused us more than a little confusion during our stay.

This apartment was smaller and more cosy than the one in Bilbao, but pleasant all the same. It provided all we needed, comfortable bed, spacious bathroom, some kitchen facilities and a sofa to sit on. Our host spent quite some time explaining all the activities, though the recommendations and the map came in really handy.

Our apartment was situated at the top of a hill and on our first trip down that afternoon we missed the short cuts and took a longer route down. However it did mean we got to walk along the seafront and into town. Although it was cloudy it was warm and humid and there were lots of people on the beach.

Town life

A few streets inland we found a place for a beer, we sat in front of a bandstand. We could almost have been in an English resort. After that we strolled on looking for a snack for a very late lunch (even by Spanish standards). Tucked away in the town is the old area with narrow streets and older buildings. Our first pintxos were in a bar with numerous hams and chorizo sausages hanging above the bar. I haven’t seen that much meat since our last trip to Seville in 2018. We both had ham and cheese croquettes, Graeme had a chorizo sandwich and I had a prawn skewer. We washed these down with a couple of glasses of excellent white wine. Strolling on through the old town we stopped at another bar whose speciality was freshly cooked deep fried large prawns. I was in heaven!

Finally we found one of our host’s suggestions for dinner. Txepetxa is a wine and pintxos bar, where you can also dine on more substantial dishes. After several days of few vegetables I decided on a mixed salad and marinated anchovies, Graeme had solomio which is steak and chips. The portions were small and he had two. We drank a few glasses of white wine at €2 a glass.

The walk home was uphill most of the way, but we managed to locate the shortcut via a staircase up.

Up in the hills

Friday we spent a leisurely morning in the apartment and didn’t go out till 13.00. The overnight rain had cleared and the sun had begun to appear from behind the clouds. It turned out to be a lovely afternoon. After a spot of shopping and lunch we set off up into the Urgull hill and to a ruined castle that sits above the town. It’s reached from steps and a slope at the end of the harbour and stands 123m high. Having climbed most of the way and taken some photos of our surroundings we stopped for a beer before the final assent.

View from the top of the hill of the town and hills beyond
View across the hills

The castle offers views across the harbour, out to sea and across the town and countryside beyond. Onto of the castle is a statue of Christ erected in 1950. The area saw action in the Napoleonic and subsequent wars and below the castle, on our way down we located an English Cemetery. Rather overgrown, but still containing flowering hydrangeas I can’t decide if it was a sad end for those soldiers or somewhere wonderful to rest. A mix of both I guess.

Overgrown cemetery
English Cemetery

By the time we descended it was 7pm, I was a little sad not to have made it onto the sand or indeed into the sea. But we are pretty clear we want to return here. We wandered into the old town for wine and pintxos, more gambas for me!

After dinner in another local hostelry we found a late night supermarket and took our weary legs back up the hill and steps home. Another 20k plus steps day and a memorable one at that.

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