One of the reasons I chose to work in Basque Country was to be able to explore more towns and cities on the northern coastline. This past weekend some friends and I took a quick one-night trip to San Sebastian, considered by many to be the most beautiful place in Spain (and with good reason). I’d already been there with my family during my year abroad, but no one turns down a chance to return.
San Sebastian is a bit over an hour away from Bilbao, and located right on the gorgeous Bay of Biscay. My friends Chelsea and Kat and I stayed at a great hostel (Olga’s Place, Stay there if you go!) located just one block from the beach. We wandered around the city a bit, strolled along the waterfront, and most importantly, tried lots of pintxos in the old part of town. San Sebastian is considered the heart of pintxo culture, and although Bilbao has its fair share of great pintxo bars, the countertops in every bar in San Sebastian were literally heaping with bite-sized snacks, all yours for the taking. At most places you just pick up the ones you want and eat them on the spot–it makes it difficult to stop, and only when the bill arrives do you realize it may be a good idea to practice self-control.
The greatest part of the mini-vacation was meeting everyone at our hostel. It was a small place, maybe only 25 beds, which lent itself perfectly to a friendly and lively atmosphere. Around 10 p.m. everyone from the hostel–actually everyone, how often does that happen?–grabbed drinks, cards, and guitars and headed down to the beach, where we stayed for four hours getting to know each other and arguing about the rules of King’s Cup. (Why does every person have conflicting ideas of the rule for ten?)
It was a much-needed getaway after a long week of corralling middle-schoolers. Even just 24 hours in San Sebastian felt so restorative, and I hope to go back many times this year.