San Sebastian

The distance between Pasaia and San Sebastian is fairly short, almost 8km (~5 miles, quick conversion: 1.6km=1 mile). But it seems to be all uphill and steep. We decided to have shorter stages in the beginning of our trip to ease into the rigors of walking with a pack, especially since the Northern way is known for its multiple altitude changes. Plus, a shorter stage would give us more time to enjoy San Sebastian.

Coming into San Sebastian, we took a hiking trail through some mountains. And when going through the mountains, following the waymarking and trail is fairly explanatory. I get more confused when we enter into towns and cities.  It becomes more like a scavenger hunt, trying to find the arrows.  Here’s one on a public trashcan.

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San Sebastian is known as a city of beaches. And what a view it has!  These panorama shots doesn’t do the expansive beaches justice.

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On a side note, the hospitalero and his wife in Pasaia told us that no two buildings are alike in San Sebastian. I definitely appreciate the mix of old and newer buildings in Spain. It’s a great juxtaposition of the past and the present.

Before checking into the hostel, we decided to eat some pintxos (peen-chos). Basically a version of tapas (a variety of small portioned appetizers).  Typically, you go to one place and eat 1-2 dishes, and then move on to another place and eat another 1-2 dishes.  They are generally eaten between lunch and dinner, since dinner is generally eaten around 9/9:30pm.  We stuck to eating at 2 different places since we were lugging around our stuff.

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These were yummy. Lightly salted deep-fried green peppers. Pimientos padron

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The other place we visited. If you notice, bread comes with everything.

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After being pleasantly full and using the bathroom to relieve ourselves, we went to look for the hostel. This took some time since we discovered afterwards that many places can be known/listed under multiple names. After checking into the hostel, we went and explored the city a bit. There was a pretty amazing bridge connecting the city, one side had the larger and more well-known beach, and the other side had a smaller beach that was actually longer during low tide. Sorry about the finger.

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There always seems to be a church at the end of the narrow passageways.

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This plaza was next to the beachfront, with an administrative building on one side, and a park with a carousel.

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Another peregrina we met in the hostel recommended going to see the blowholes at the end of town.

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The blowholes were constructed into the boardwalk, and as the tide comes in, air rushes through the holes in the ground (the cross-like blocks).  The tide was strong enough that we got some pretty good gusts coming out of the holes, and waves crashing on the sides.

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Later in the day, the tide was going out. You can see that the beaches were relatively flat and shallow for quite a distance.

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Being in a seaside vacationing city, we decided to splurge a little on a nice dinner. We got one serving of seafood soup to share (the portions were a little large for us to manage).

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Vegetable paella (I know, paella is a Southern Spain dish, but we were craving veggies and rice)

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And then we asked what the server recommended for dessert. This dessert did not disappoint! It’s like a Spanish version of a souffle cheesecake.

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Thus ended our day in San Sebastian.  We got some beautiful views of the beach on our way back to the hostel (which was clear on the other side of the city).

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The smaller beach was more flat and had these mountainous cliffs. It seems like they built San Sebastian up on the mountain side.

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That’s it for our time in San Sebastian. A beautiful city, a little touristy, lovely long beaches, and lots of character.