Pintxos, beaches, lush green rolling hills, and the land of the oldest language in Europe… Donostia was truly a splendor for a weekend trip…
This weekend trip started with a bright and early 4:30 AM bus ride to catch the first metro to the Barcelona airport from my tiny Gracia apartment. As painful as these early morning trips were, it was always worth it to save a little cash and sneak in some extra trips.After a quick pass through airport security and a short hour plan ride via RyanAir, we arrived at the tiny airport in San Sebastian! The airport was located a 30-40 minute bus ride outside of the city of San Sebastian, but do not fret- the ride was beautiful.
Through the lush green hills, our bus meandered and climbed through small Basque villages until we reached the city center. The geography reminded me of Santa Cruz, California, with a Spanish flair, and I felt instantly at home.
Once we arrived to the city, it was still early morning, and the sleepy Basque city was just awakening for the day. Fresh bread baked in panderias, and coffee was on everyone’s minds. We strolled through the modern city to the old town, where our hostels were, and took in the beautify of Basque architecture- a twist on what we knew to be French and Spanish architecture.
It was much colder than we thought it for a May trip to a beach town, and our beach gear was not sufficient in the least bit. The wind whipped through our sweaters, and the crisp morning air made our eyes water. But on the bright side, the cold morning kept many inside and we were able to wander through the beautiful and charming streets.
You know those pictures that you see on tumblr or NatGeo of paradise with the crystal blue waters and a town built right up to the water with islands scattered in the water? Yeah, that’s basically San Sebastian. I mean just look at this masterpiece….
I then went to grab some lunch at a bar in the city center. That’s not for a lack of strolling by the beach on my way there. I mean, with views as beautiful as these, why would you spend your time away from the shore…
Lunch consisted of a bunch of pintxos. Basically these are like little snack hors d’oeuvres type things that have a toothpick on them so that you can easily pick them up and eat them. They’re all set up on the bar and you grab a plate and take whatever you want.
As with any recommendation I make, never be afraid to do things on your own when you travel. Eat alone. Explore alone. Just be alone. You never know the people that you will meet, the things that you will see, or the places you will get to experience if you stay in seculsion with your group. So get up, get out there, and explore!!
Where I went, they were all between 1,50 and 2,50 and ranged from croquetes to tortillas de patatas to anchovies but most all of them were served on a small slice of bread. I ended up getting a croquete, tortilla de patatas, crab and some kind of cod thing (I know, very specific right?). I normally don’t eat seafood, but the owner recommended the crab and cod to me and I actually really like the cod! The crab.. well, not so much. But it was still a great experience to try all the pintxos from a really cool bar.
Fully fed (and definitely swimsuit ready) I went to meet up with the rest of the group at the beach. The walk along the water was absolutely beautiful and now that it was warm and sunny, it was the perfect weather to just sit out and tan! Unfortunately, I didn’t last too long on the beach, but I did pick up a beautiful tan and was able to relax in one of the most beautiful beaches on the planet.
After dinner, I went on a sunset stroll across the water. However, I soon found that the sun sets much later here and was able to explore more around the beach, dip in the water again, and explore the shore a bit more.
If you can’t tell from the picture below, the waves were crazy intense once you led the secluded bay. In fact, the city is quite the surf spot. I made a small mental note that my next trip to this city would include a surfing lesson as well, and took some beautiful pictures of the locks…
It was so heartwarming to see a sunset on the water because in Barcelona, the sun sets behind the mountains instead. As a California girl, I can always go for a beautiful, ocean sunset. Even more special was the fact that I knew the Americas were at the other end of the horizon and home really wasn’t that far away….
I had to get up really really early but figured, eh, might as well go tapas/bar hopping right? Even though I went by myself, I found that everyone was really nice and welcoming and I was able to meet some cool locals, as well as travelers. And, I got to listen to everyone’s recommendations on which pintxos to choose so that made the experience a whole lot better.
And then just like that I headed home to my hostel and prepared to leave the next day. My day in paradise was over, and it was another early bus ride to the airport for me…