Welcome to San Sebastian, Spain, the place where you go to do nothing. After an overnight train from Paris (sitting next to a large Frenchman) I arrived in this little seaside town and took a liking to it. It actually reminds me of my hometown of San Diego, just a lot smaller. Whereas in Paris you strive to do everything, in San Sebastian you sit back and let the waves remind you that your feet need some time off from sightseeing. As for sightseeing itself, there´s not too much in the way of touristy stuff to do in San Sebastian. The two hills on either end of La Grande Conche, (probable misspelling) which is the larger of the town´s two beaches make for great views of the town and surrounding area. The western hill has a small amusement park on top of it and an old watchtower that has the best views of the area. The eastern hill is not quite as tall as the western one, but has the remains of an old fort on it and a large statue of Jesus on top of it. For my Colorado readers, imagine Boulder, but with an ocean next to it and the mountains moved back two miles or so, and you get a rough idea of what this place is like. Like Boulder, San Sebastian is very friendly to outdoor activities like running and cycling. I also saw for the first time what I can only describe as ¨kayak surfing¨(I don´t know the official name). It utilizes a special kind of kayak with fins on the bottom like a surfboard, and people paddle out and ride the waves much like surfing. San Sebastian is something of a resort town in the summer, but the rest of the year there aren´t that many tourists, though there are some people stopping in town along their way to Santiago De Compostela, along the path of the Saint James trail. Being the heart of Basque Country, everything is written in both Spanish and Basque, and it´s very easy to tell the two apart. The Basque language uses the letter x more than any other I´ve seen so far. I´m told that if you live in San Sebastian you´d be fine with just Spanish, but if you moved out into the countryside you would need to know Basque.
I am currently in Santiago de Compostela and leave for Madrid on Monday. I’ll have another post on Santiago in a few days.