Mi Busqueda para Espana y Yo

Monday, August 16, 2010

13 a 15 de Agosto: San Sebastian

Hello! I'm back in Salamanca now..got back from San Sebastian late Sunday night. Recap of the weekend:
On Friday, we saw the Residencias (the dorms) again and hung out with Portia! We painted our nails and just talked, one of the first times we've had just girl time so it was nice! Then we went out for a little bit at night. We went to Gran Via (a different street off the Plaza Mayor with places to go out but it's more for locals so we wanted to check it out). It was really fun, we went to a chupiteria called Daniel's first then to this place Canabra! I hope we go back to Gran Via later this week!
But anyway then on Saturday Emily and I said our goodbye to Lourdes in the morning (Lourdes got so funny when we almost forgot our bocadillas (sandwiches) because she made us a little bag of them and she wanted us to take it for the train!) We walked to the train station, about a 20 minute walk. The train station is actually inside what we would call a mall and of course across from it was the Spanish version of Dunkin Donuts, Rosco something! I got a little nostalgic. We got on the train around 10am. I was thinking it was not going to be a nice train and I prepared myself for it, no expectations. But when we got in I was actually surprised. It was just like an Amtrak train. Except the chairs were cooler, you could turn a chair to face the other way just by pushing it it was crazy! I sat next to Emily because we had assigned seats which is nice because Amtrak ur usually sitting next to a stranger. It was kind of a slow train but I had my Ipod on the whole time so I wasnt really affected by it. I ate one of Lourdes' sandwiches for my lunch. It was Emily's first time on a train (we took a taxi to get the train 2 days before and it was her first taxi ride too lol) so we took a picture of her and our train tickets, it was cute. I wish I saw stuff through her eyes sometimes because her culture shock is so much more than mine but it's okay! The train ride took like 6 hours but we finally made it to San Sebastian! I was a little worried about how far the station was from our hostel and how far the hostel was from the Semana Grande fiesta and the beach. Taxi takes us on like a 5 minute taxi ride and we walk to our hostel and it is near EVERYTHING! sooo many people were out! We went out to this main street like a block from the beach area and there were like 2 parades going on!! There was like a parade of flags but I think they were all Vasque Country flags (they want independence from Spain so they have their own flags) and there were cannons being shot off from like the government building. Soo many people out and there were all these things going on in the streets like these musicians and breakdancers! It was really cool but a little bit too many people. We walked along the beach (called The Playa Concha). It is really beautiful, no weird forts or umbrellas like Portugal..a lot more young people to, San Sebastian is really known for their surfing I guess so a lot of surfers and there's like little islands that you can see from the beach. We got some traditional Basque Country food while we were there. For lunch the first day I had what I guess you would call a Spanish hot dog. There was a stand with these cute little old ladies and they were making fresh tortillas and were grilling hot dog, chorizo, and bacon so we went up there because it smelled so good and they give you a huge tortilla and fill it up with all that meat and then there were chocolate bars there too and I heard her say in Spanish that that was desert so I was like perfect, I didn't want the ice cream that everyone else was getting later so I asked for the chocolate thinking she'd just give it to me but she put the chocolate bar in the tortilla too! I asked her "No no, solo un chocolate" then she told me in Spanish that the way they eat it in Basque Country is they wrap it in a tortilla and the chocolate heats up and it's basically like a Chocolate Quesadilla! lol. Then after we explored a little, there was a carnival off the beach so we walked around that for a bit too. We went back to the hostel and had dinner at a restaurant. We could hear the fireworks during dinner and all the people were running towards them, I don't think fireworks are as common here as they are in America lol. The hostel though was in this good street with lots of restaurant, bars, and stores so that was cool cus we were next to everything. It was like an apartment style place. The first floor had the receptionist. It was like alll surfers first of all that rent the place and own it lol. They were all young and had the surfer look going so that was cool because we even talked to some that night and they were cool (we met this one italian guy on our floor named Andreo and I said oh like Andreo Bonacelli lol and he's a surfer from Milan hah). The hostel was 5 floors and of course we had the last room in the top floor but that's okay it was good exercise haha. The cool thing is though we had a balcony!
After dinner (which was just wine and espagetti bolognesa) we went out. It was fine at first because it was still a little early Spanish time so it wasn't too busy. Then after an hour or two the streets and the bars got packed. It took us an hour to even order a drink and we could only stand by the bathroom cus there was nowhere to go. People were even drinking in the streets. After awhile we were like let's just go, It was packed. When they were showing New Orleans after the Saints won, well this was comparable because everyone was celebrating the Vasque Country wanting to be independent from Spain. It was like their patriotism day. So it was cool but it was too packed. The party went on til 7:20 AM cus we heard it while we were sleeping then there was about 20 minutes of quiet then the noisy clean up started.
But on Sunday, we were originally just going to the beach all day after we checked out but it started raining a little (first time it rained the whole time I've been here) so we decided we were going to go to this aquarium off the boardwalk by the beach. Well first we walk this entire boardwalk cus we could see the sign for the Aquarium so we just did the 20 minute walk only to see that the boardwalk cut off so we could see the Aquarium but you'd have to swim to get yourself the rest of the way there lol so we walked all the way back and all we had to do was turn instead of walk straight on the boardwalk. Well we finally got there and it was only 8 euros for student. We go to the 2nd floor because they told us that's where we should start. Well we get there and there's no fish or anything. It was like a museum and in the glass was all these ships and replicas of ships and basically a ship museum! So we were a little disappointed at first because it was cool for about ten minutes but how many ships can you look at? There was a hanging whale skeleton hanging up so that was cool but then they had all these little dollhouse size figurines of people killing whales or whalehunting, it got a little weird. Well Lauren went to the bathroom and down this one little turn was where allll the fish were!! It was actually one if not the best aquarium I've gone through. They had a lot of weird fish I've never seen before but the coolest thing was this part where they had all the fish, catfish, stingrays, etc, and SHARKS in this glass where you could walk through and it looks like they're swimming above you or to your side!!
Then after the aquarium we walked a little and saw these steps that go up the mountains of San Sebastian where the giant statue of Jesus sits on top of. So we start taking the stairs up thinking we'd only climb up to the first check point which was like this little fort that over looked the city. Then everyone just wanted to keep going so it turns out we walked all the steep pathways and stairs and made it alll the way up to the Jesus Statue!!! It was so exciting. This little fort surrounds him with cannons facing out. You could go inside the statue and take a tour but we were so tired we didn't do that. I did take many pictures of him! There's like a moat you have to cross to get to the statue's entrance! The last flat hill you can stop at before you get to the statue is like a little party going on! There were beer tents, a little music stage where just a bunch of random people were singing and playing guitar so we got a beer, listened to the music, and enjoyed the great view of the little islands, the city, the beach, and of course the ocean! I ddin't even mind that it was drizzling a little bit! Oh I forgot to talk about our breakfast. Well on SUnday morning we wanted to grab some breakfast. We stumbled upon this one restaurant where people were still drinking beer but then at the bar there were all these pastries, and appetizers spread out. We asked the waitress how we can get breakfast. She said you just ask for a plate, take what you want, then at the end she'll charge you and heat up the hot stuff. It was really cool. Except besides the omelets and pastries, everything was seafood! There were like octopus and squid pastries. The only seafood I grabbed was the shrimp cocktail lol. It was too early for so many cold weird seafood lol. After our adventure up the mountain, we got some rest on the beach where the skies cleared up just enough for us to enjoy the sun and clouds of the beach. Lauren, Cameron, and Emily swam to this little ramp where you could get on and do jumps into the ocean off it. It looked cool but me portia and mark weren't good enough of swimmers to do it. Lauren who used to swim in school said it was really hard you had to swim vigorously for at least 10 minutse straight no stop to get there. Then we had dinner at this place called Hollywood's. It took us so long to find it because alll the restaurants were PACKED since it was raining just a little. Everyone either gets in a restaurant or stands on the sides of the buildings. We were the only ones walking still through the rain lol. This place Hollywood's was the only thing not packed and it ended up being a nice break because it was like a glorified Applebee's and the menu was like American films!
Well that was my adventure in San Sebastian! It's a GORGEOUS place! I'd love to come back but probably not on the opening day of their biggest festival/fiesta! A lot of people but the view, the beaches, and the ambience is worth another visit. So beautiful!!! And I got a lot closer to Emily, Lauren, Portia, Cameron, and even Mark because of it!


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