"HOLA" from San Sebastian

Trip Start Mar 21, 2010
Trip End Mar 16, 2011

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Flag of Spain  , Basque,
Saturday, June 26, 2010

26 JUNE 2010 - We travelled for only about 2 hours through some beautiful countryside and then arrived in San Sebastian.  The drive in we could already tell WOW this city is beautiful and wish we could stay longer than only 3 nights.  We have been told it rains a lot here, its sunny at the moment and its the best place in Spain for food and the bars are great.  So tonight we are on a mission, we are going to do a Tapas crawl.  We relaxed in our apartment for a few hours and then off we join a group for the tapas crawl.  
We joined our group for the tapas crawl and we went to 4 bars.  First bar was cool, so much delicious finger food on plates sitting on the bar.  You help yourself and then tell the barman how many you had and then pay.  They were soooooo good.

Next bar we went to it was a seafood one, we had a small plate of potatoes with a spicy tomato sauce and a small plate of calamari - both soooo good.  We ordered here , ate and then paid. This place had great atmosphere and you can tell when one is really good, its packed and the locals throw paper napkins and shells on the floor and this one was like that.  Not something you would see at home so it was pretty cool.  

Next bar we go into we put food on our plate and then Troy starts eating.  The barman gets upset and starts going off in Spanish and we had no idea what he was talking about.  Troy looked a bit surprised but then we worked out we should of paid first.  We thought all the bars were the same, you eat first and then pay, no this one you pay first then eat.  Anyway we paid and all was well.  Here the tapas is known as pintxos.  

We ended up in another bar and this one was so packed.  We stayed here for sometime and sat around talking and watching the busy chefs in the kitchen.  The later it got the busier it got.  After this Troy and I decided we weren’t going to go out with the group so we went home.  We had a great night eating pintxos, my god they are so good and yeah the food in San Sebastian is amazing.  Eating this way isn’t cheap and each tapa adds up but to be honest its worth it!  Another top place to eat in the world for us.

27TH JUNE 2010 - We got up later than usual, had our own room so it was so good.  This apartment is so nice.  We had breakfast which was included and it was just a few small cakes, toast and tea.  After breakfast we walked around this gorgeous city.  We walked to one beach and admired the beautiful scenery.  We walked around town checking out the churches and the local jewellery markets.  We walked to the other side of town to another beach which had gorgeous marina and lots of beautiful apartments.  Mary engraved Renee’s name in the sand...... miss her so much!  This place sort of reminds us of Bondi but its bigger and prettier.  We decided to go back to our room, grab our swimmers and go back to the beach.  We went for a swim and it was fantastic.  We took no camera, no valuables just ourselves and a sarong and towel so we could actually swim together.  The water was beautiful and Troy enjoyed the catching the waves, he is a happy boy at the beach.  It was so funny at one stage Troy nearly loses his pants in the surf and we both kill ourselves laughing.  Some of his pants are now too big for him. We got out of the water and our towel and clothes all got wet but luckily we didn’t lose Troy’s glasses.  We walked home wearing wet clothes and wet sarong wrapped around me.  We didn’t have far to go so we jumped in the shower as we were covered in sand.  We relaxed for a while and then hit the bars for another fix of pintxos.  Seriously they are so good especially the seafood.  The seafood in Europe is so much nicer than home, its seems fresher and tastier.We went to 3 different bars for dinner.  First bar was just downstair below our room and the pintxos was pretty good.  We had 4 each and some sangria and then moved on.  We went to the same seafood bar that we went to last night, this time we had patatas bravas (potatoes with spicy tomato sauce) and mussels marinara (mussels with a seafood sauce) both were good.  Mary wanted to do what the locals do and throw the mussel shells on the floor and accidentally got a bit of sauce on a ladies leg, Oooops!  This place once again had paper, shells, cigarette butts, bread on the floor (a sign of a good bar) and the odd pooch sitting around waiting for its owner to stop eating and drinking.  Next bar we went to was the first one we went to last night, now this one is our favourite, 2 euro each pintxos and they were so good.  
We were so full, Troy was already “feeling happy” after only a few drinks, doesn’t take him much.  I had two sangrias and could of had more but towards the end of the night that was enough.  We went back to our room.

28TH JUNE 2010 - This morning we had a late breakfast.  We relaxed in our room till about 1pm and then headed out to explore more of this beautiful city and then hit the beach.  The weather has been great considering this place has a lot of rain. We walked around town and went to a lookout and we saw some beautiful views of San Sebastian. We went to the cathedral and then went home to get our gear for the beach.  We hit the beach on another very beautiful sunny day.  It was packed again and had plenty of topless well tanned women (a boy heaven).  It was so nice to have a swim in the ocean again and we were laughing at some of the young girls screaming when a wave comes. Mmmmm not as big as our waves.  

We headed back to our hostel and chilled out for a while and then went out for dinner to have our last paella.  It took us quite sometime to find a restaurant serving paella, we thought it would be everywhere.  We finally find one, Mary has paella mixta (chicken and seafood), Troy has paella valencia (chicken) which weren’t the best we have ever had but a bit better than the tastless one in Pamplona.  After drinking our sangria and beer we head home to pack and watch the soccer.  

Our last day here in Spain today.  We have enjoyed Spain.  What we have found is: 

Really good paella is hard to find, its just pot luck (only 2 out of 4 were fantastic).

Tapas (Pintxos as known in San Sebastian) are fantastic and well worth the money. 

Sangria is addictive, fruity taste can vary a lot but its still good.

Spanish tend to be nicer out of the bigger cities and English isn’t as commonly spoken as to rest of Europe (either they won’t speak English or don’t - well we found that which is fine we are just saying what we experienced). We found that generally they aren’t the friendliest or most helpful bunch but of course we came across some fantastic ones too. Spanish wasn’t as easy to pick up as I hoped, my Italian didn’t help much at all, maybe only a few words.

We couldn’t believe just how cheap groceries are in Spain.  They are so much cheaper than Italy an France so eating in can be really quite cheap. San Sebastian has been the best place in Spain that we have been to, its No 1 on our list.  We wish we could of stayed longer.  It is a great place to eat, drink and relax, what more do you want. San Sebastian has the best food in Spain.

One thing we will not miss in Europe is the heaps of smoking in pubs, restaurants and cafes.  Sometimes in really small places it can be quite uncomfortable.  So glad smoking is banned at home.  Also its amazing just how many Europeans loved their dogs and love their cigarettes.  
We leave tomorrow for Bordeaux, France.

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