Pintxos, beach time, and great views.
Beautiful San Sebastian
After another long six hour drive, we arrived in San Sebastian around 5pm. We rented a three bedroom flat which was about a 20 minute walk from the old town. The owner of the flat, who spoke almost no English, met us and helped us park the car at a nearby lot. He spoke in rapid Spanish (or Basque?) and we missed a lot of the information he gave us. We still managed to get by. It was a hot evening but we decided to walk to the old town to experience pintxos (Basque tapas) for dinner.
The beach was beautiful at twilight. We were surprised at how many people of all ages were out walking in the evening. Most women wore dresses or skirts and even folks into their 80s and 90s were out enjoying the summer evening.
We were quickly overwhelmed at the number of bars and restaurants in old town San Sebastian. It was difficult to choose a place to start! Many people poured out of restaurants onto the pedestrian-only narrow streets. Our first pick was so-so. Luckily, the second one was much better. We tried such a variety of foods: octopus, mussels, iberco ham, shrimp, other random seafood, croquettes, and much more. Most of the food was not labeled and set out on the bar counter for self-service. You simply grabbed what looked good and enjoy.
We laughed a lot, found a neat old square that used to host bull fights (the balconies were still numbered for special ticketing seating), and slowly made our way back through the crowds and somewhat deserted beach.
We were especially excited to buy beautiful paintings on the street from a man who paints with his fingers. Each painting took him about 2-3 minutes. And they're gorgeous!
We got back to our apartment late and eager for a full day in San Sebastian
Old Town, Mount Igeldo, Beach Time, & More Pintxos
We walked to the Old Town and had churros and chocolate for breakfast. The chocolate was as thick as pudding! Such a healthy way to start the day.
Today was a hot one. Over 90 degrees. We walked nearly three miles to the Mount Igeldo funicular. This old cable car took us up the steep hill for some incredible views.
Once at the top, DD#2 and I climbed a tower for even more views.
The girls and I rode an old time roller coaster with incredible views. You can see the part of the scenic track in this picture.
We had a snack and rode the funicular back down before heading to a somewhat calm spot on the busy beach. The girls and I jumped right into the Atlantic for an afternoon swim. The water was cold at first but was much warmer than Oregon's frigid coast! The beach was packed with people of all ages, shapes, and sizes. I think I was the only one wearing a mom tankini. Most women wore bikinis, with or without the top section! DH and my mom enjoyed some people watching while we swam.
We dried off, found some ice cream, and had a short break at our apartment before heading out for dinner.
We took a taxi to a different part of town called the Gros District. We went to a recommended restaurant for the best pintxos of the trip. Delicious! We still didn't know what we were eating most of the time but it was sure yummy. After dinner, we found a nice social square with a playground in the center. The kids happily played for nearly an hour (they met some kids from Texas) while the rest of us enjoyed an outdoor drink.
DH and DD#1 were exhausted and headed back around 10pm. The rest of us were eager to see the sunset and what old town was like after dark. We found a restaurant that served shark! We couldn't resist trying that!
We had a very full day. DD#2 was ecstatic to reach her fitbit record of 40,000 steps in a day! Needless to say, we all slept pretty well.
Mount Urgull & More Wandering San Sebastian
On our last day in San Sebastian, I knew I had to run. I went for one of the most scenic six mile runs ever! Afterward, we got a late start and found a cafe and playground to help us get motivated for the day.
We encountered many lovely churches and parks. We took so many pictures.
DH and I loved hearing this unique bassoon trio. They had serious chops!
We began a slow hike up Mount Urgull. There was a large statue on the top along with even more views of the ocean and city below. Some clouds had rolled in so it was a different view from the day before.
DD#1 was seriously worn out after all the walking.
Check out the man-made giant cube rocks along the shore and jetty!
We made our way down the mountain and had to find a place for a late 3pm lunch. We settled on our last pintxos experience. The small tapas thing is fun, but I think we were all eager for a normal meal. DD#1 and DH headed back to the room for some R&R while the rest of us did some shopping and more beach time. DH has had to trek to the car every evening to reload the parking pass (good for 24 hr).
We have enjoyed buying fruit everyday from local markets. The white nectarines have been everyone's favorite. Eventually, we all connected back at the flat for pizza and much-needed sleep. Off to Salamanca tomorrow!