Our weather in San Sebastián today is gorgeous!! Low 80's and sunny, though a little sticky for our taste. We both packed for somewhat cooler weather and have been sweaty-sticky pretty much all day. It is cooling off very nicely this evening and the days are expected to get just a bit cooler each day we're here. Our hotel is right in the heart of old town, very plain and simple compared to the higher end Hotel 1898 in Barcelona. In addition to simpler accommodations, our pace has dramatically slowed down. We checked into the hotel, sat/dozed for a spell, then walked about town. We were hungry, it was 4:30 pm and we hadn't eaten since breakfast. Most bars are restaurants are open; yet, the kitchens close between lunch and supper. We stopped in La Vina - the tapas left from lunch were cold so we opted for a piece of their famous cheesecake. Oh my, oh my, oh my!! We'll be getting more of that before our 6 days here are done. Light, creamy goodness that is not at all sweet!
San Sebastián sits above Concha Bay. It has a wonderful beachfront promenade that runs the entire length of the bay. The city is about 1000 years old. The town burned down in 1813 when Spain, Portugal & England fought the French to get Napoleon's brother off the Spanish throne. As a result the architecture is mostly Neoclassical and uniform. It's also a much bigger city than we anticpated. About 185,000 people live here and it swells to twice that during high tourist season. It's much busier than we expected it to be.
The kitchens open again at 7 pm or so. Old Town, where we're staying, is the best place to enjoy Pinxtos (Peen-chohs) or Tapas in San Sebastián. Each place is known for their own specialty and you'll see some of the same choices in each bar. Part of the fun is going from bar to bar, eating & drinking your way through town. You either snuggle into the bar or spill out into the street, most everyone is standing. We noticed 1-3 small tables in each place. You just have to worm your way in and be a bit pushy to get the staff's attention. Given it's not unusual for us to eat standing up around the kitchen island talking about our day, this was right up our alley. We hit 3 bars last night and enjoyed two local wines. One being txakoli (chah-koh-LEE). Fresh white wine poured from very high to break against the glass and aerate to add sparkle. It's light and delicious. I love the bubbles so for me it works with any food. My favorites so far are the jamon croquettes and the hake (white fish). There were easily 3 times as many people out at 8 pm than at 4 pm. The sidewalks of Old Town are crowded and loud. Large and small groups of people are cloistered in the streets outside the bars, some with food and most with drinks. It's easy to spot the popular bars, and whether the draw is young people, older people or a good mix of both.
Despite our early rise this day, we didn't get to bed until after midnight. We've decided to do our day trips by train and ditch the car. Parking is difficult here and very expensive. About $34/day. Saturday is laundry day and we need to figure out the regional train system so we can go to Bilbao tomorrow, possibly Pamplona on Monday and into France Tuesday & Wednesday.
Here are a couple shots of the txikiteo (chi-kee-tay-oh or bar hopping) and moonlight over Bahia de la Concha
The beachfront promenade is very romantic and we noticed many locals couples out for an evening, after dinner, stroll.
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Location:Calle Mayor,San Sebastian,Spain