My daughter Sarah and I took the slow Euskatren from Bilbao to San Sebastian…lots of gritty industrial scenery but also some beautiful farms with red-tile-roofed houses and grazing animals. San Sebastian, or Donostia in Euskaren, is a charming beach town that is a favorite for vacationers. When we were there, the weather was gray and cloudy, but the beach was still lovely. After getting settled in our hotel, we took the funicular to the top of Monte Igueldo for an incredible view of the city, then took a bus from the base of the mountain to Parte Vieja, or Old Town. This part of town is about 1,000 years old, but was burned down during the war with the French, and was rebuilt in neoclassical style. The claim to fame here are the pintxos (peen-chohs) bars, where people stop in for a drink and a tapa. We chose a more restful restaurant where I bravely tried–yes–squid in its own black ink! We were able to get in a good morning walk on the beach and also ran into a parade the next day before we headed back to Valencia and Sarah headed home.
Arrival on the Euskatren.
Playa de la Concha is considered by "Señor Rick" to be one of the best beaches in the world.
Playa de Onderetta is an adjoining beach near our hotel.
We took the funicular up the side of Monte Igueldo.
It was a cloudy day, but the view was still amazing.
We explored Parte Vieja, or Old Town.
This is the Basque restaurant where we had dinner.
It sounds and looks strange to North Americans, but "squid in its own black ink" is a Basque specialty, and very tasty!
The Plaza de la Constitucion, lit up at night, is where bullfights used to be held.
The gothic Cathedral of San Sebastian
Signs of Basque pride are very evident here.
San Sebastian is very close to France, and some of the architecture here looked more like that of Northern Europe than in other parts of Spain.
Pastries, pastries everywhere!
We ran into a parade, apparently related to some kind of Basque fiesta.
This woman was passing out hot chocolate to the crowd.
This statue of Jesus at the top of Monte Urgull over Old Town gives San Sebastian a little bit of a "Rio" feel.
This street, Alameda del Boulevard, separates Old Town from the Centro business district, and used to be where the city wall once ran.
View up from the beach
I can just imagine this beach in the summer.