Tag Archives: San Sebastián

La Próxima Ciudad – San Sebastián, Spain

We got up early to catch a 6:30 taxi.  The previous night we tried to hire one for the morning and the driver assured us there would be lots of them waiting.  No pasa nada. Don’t worry.

All there were was a bunch of drunk and tired party goers.  We had allowed ourselves 35 minutes for a 10 minute drive and one guy told us he had been waiting an hour.  Panic!  There are no ride share companies in town.  A taxi was it.

The guy was exhausted after going to three parties in three different barrios where he drank and danced the night away.  He said he had a great time as he tried to keep his eyelids open.

I expressed my concern that we’d miss our train and he kindly offered to share his taxi.  Twenty minutes later our chariot arrived.  The remaining people who got there long before us freaked out that we were getting in a cab out of turn.  It was explained and all was well with the world.

Bill tried to give our cabbie friend money and it was turned down with a – it’s for Spain and from Salamanca! ¡Buen viaje!  He certainly saved the day.

The 1.5 hour train took us to Valladolid where we switched trains for a 4 hour journey to San Sebastián – also known as Donostia/San Sebastián (Basque and Spanish).

Famous for their pintxos/pinchos (Basque/Spanish). The Spanish dictionary defines a pincho like ‘a portion of food served, sometimes with a cocktail stick, as an aperitif’. The word “pincho” comes from the verb “to pinchar” which means “to pierce”. The pincho is normally served on a piece of bread or other, served usually with a cocktail stick which you can eat in one or two bites.

* Reality is that it takes multiple bites to finish off a pincho! The person who wrote the definition must have been famished and unless you’re a glutton two of them are a meal!

The train ride was stunning.  A reminder of all the things we absolutely love about Spain.  Lush, forested mountains, quaint villages, rolling farm land and fields of vegetables inter-dispersed with thousand poppies.  Often it feels like we’ve stepped into a fairy tale.

We had been to San Sebastián many years ago for just a few hours when Carlos and Isabel took us on a field trip from their hometown about a half hour away for pinchos and a beautiful afternoon lunch.

San Sebastián is on the coast of the Bay of Biscay and 12 miles from the French border.  The Basque Country.  Where the Urumea River runs along side the town and spills into the bay.

*click photos to enlarge

“We could live here.” rolled off our tongues. The old architecture, the beaches, the long La Concha beach walkway, the forested lush hills, pinchos and bars.  I thought I heard Bill said that but upon reflection I think I imagined it.

Our VRBO was in a much quieter area than Salamanca. The bars across the street closed at 9:00 pm.  Yes!

Everything was new to us so it was enjoyable exploring.  A historical city on the beach was a new kind of perfect.  A best kind of yin and yang.

Much to my surprise at Playa de Zurriola in Gros (across the river) nudity was a thing.  This isn’t a hidden beach.  It’s right there!  Wide open for all eyes to see.  Yes, they were kinda on the corner but you had to walk past that area to get where you’re going.

Yup! I’m a prude. But the kids, do what you want away from kids…

Of course we stopped to soak it all in.  One old dude stripped off his clothing, ran to the water jumped in and frolicked in his nakedness.  I was particularly surprised by his willingness to swim in the cold water!  Just saying.  About 10% of the women sunbathed topless and G-string bottoms were worn by most.

It was kinda funny but this American who sun bathed next to us must have felt some new sense of freedom and was topless.  It had to be her first time since she had tan marks from her bathing suit top.  We watched her swim in the bay and she actually did frolick.  She raised her arms to the sky and spun circles.

It reminded us of three burners we saw on their last day of Burning Man stark naked with super white short tans lines – smiling ear to ear with their new found freedom.  Perhaps we’re missing something.


We refrain from shopping when traveling but this time while exploring we stumbled upon a walking shopping district where sirens sang me into a rocky oblivion!

San Sebastián is certainly an international destination and for good reason.  We enjoyed every minute of it.