San Sebastian although picturesque and in the heart of Basque country doesn’t really hold a candle to Biarritz. I guess I’ve got a fever, and the only cure is more France. The reason I started my travels in Southeast Asia is that I feared becoming bogged down in France, never managing to escape its gravitational pull to see the rest of the world. I can even feel the pull now as I sit typing in this wonderful little city by the sea.
Once I have worked my way down the coast of Portugal, and up the East Coast of Spain, I will once again have to resist its magnetic charms. As I drive the Côte D’Azure of the French Riviera, the Southern event horizon of the French cultural black hole threatens to inexorably suck me into its gastronomic bliss. I will try to jettison my vehicle in Nice and make my escape into Germany. So much for living in the moment.
My time in the old town of San Sebastian has been enjoyable nonetheless. Strolling along the malécon is peaceful and relaxing. I had the best cheesecake of my life last night. It was light and not too sweet, and put New York cheesecake to shame. The Basque version of tapas(pintxos) bars here are supposedly excellent as well. I will be heading to lunch at three of the most popular ones shortly.
PLAYA DE LA CONCHA
It All Looks Delicious But I’m Just Not Into It
Okay, so I’m not into the whole Tapas culture thing. I ended up going back to the Restaurant with the excellent cheesecake pictured below. Last night at La Viña my waiter Miguel really made the meal, and today Nadia from Morocco was incredibly sweet. She persuaded me to try something different, and go with the monkfish which had an incredibly different and non-fishlike texture that was very pleasing. She exuded the same kind of joy that Miguel had the evening before. Not the kind of vapid disengaged stuff you get in California, but a sincere variety rarely encountered.
Makes me wish I stuck around to discover their secret. Could be in the cheesecake! I also found out from her that there is a boat from Malaga, Spain to Morocco for 40 euros and only takes an hour. So add a possible Morocco adventure to the summer’s equation.
La Viña Restaurante – A Must Visit In San Sebastian
Best Cheesecake In The World
Nadia From Morocco – The Nicest Waitress In The World!
Miguel Not Pictured – The Nicest Waiter Ever!
Two Champions Of Hospitality In One Restaurant – Amazing!
The Locals Stroll The Malecon
Following The Sunset
Partiers In The Street Below My Hostel On My Last Night
One Last Look Back Before Buying My Bus Ticket To Bilbao – I Shall No Doubt Return
Well, I take it all back. San Sebastian does hold a candle to Biarritz and a very bright one at that. My apologies San Sebastian. I still have no real love for pintxos (Basque tapas), but there is still plenty to love in the old-world charm of the old town where I stayed as you can tell by the photos. Not to mention the stroll along the Malecon and the beach and the views that accompany them. My epiphany occurred after a delicious breakfast as I hiked away from my charming little neighborhood toward the bus station to obtain passage to Bilbao. I passed through the main city that was quite substantial in scope, architecture, and allure. I followed the river that was punctuated by a number of stately bridges and wished I had another day to spend exploring the other parts of the city.
Of course, this is pretty much world travel 101. Never base your opinion on the first day you arrive in a city. It can change dramatically for a variety of reasons. In my experience, it was a case of France addiction withdrawals. San Sebastian and Biarritz are very different. Both are wonderful seaside resorts with beautiful beaches, delicious food, and good shopping. Their flavors and personalities are completely different. They are only an hour apart, and it would be an absolute sin to see one without the other.