I was tasked with the job of finding a summer holiday destination that would be hot and sunny, have a beach, cold beer, nice “nibbles”, (i.e. food), and a bit of shopping. Since the whole family; me, my dearly beloved, our two grown up kids and their dearly beloveds, were all going on said holiday it had to be easy enough for us all to get there from different starting points. I chose San Sebastian, Spain, just over the border from France in the Basque region and accessible by train from Paris and from Dusseldorf by a flight to Bilbao then a bus. Et voila – we were there.
San Sebastian met all the requirements!
Hot and sunny – you bet. We had temperatures in the high twenties everyday and adapted very nicely to the daily routine of a little siesta time.
Beach – well there are 3 to choose from. Our apartment was a 1 minute walk from La Concha and along with crowds of people we swam, and relaxed and strolled along the beach everyday. It was fascinating to watch the daily routines of beach-goers, from never-ending activity building sandcastles and moats, digging channels and holes, to the disciplined return walk along the entire length of the beach for the retiree brigade.
There were body-boarding schools for cute little kids at La Concha and over at Zurriola there were full on surf schools.
Cold beer – check, and Sangria and some people may have indulged in Mojitos too.
Nibbles – yes, yes, yes. In this part of Spain the tapas are called Pintxos. We made a few forays into the old part of the city in the evenings to sample the nibbles; tasty seafoods, olives, peppers, salt-cured ham, cheeses and more. Simply delicious.
Shopping – very nice indeed. Great shoe shops, lots of surfie clothing, shorts, togs and tee-shirts. Most of us were restrained, even though the sales were on and even though I found a gorgeous floaty dress in a chic designer boutique……………
San Sebastian has a charming shabby chic Paris-like look to its architecture; the buildings, caramel coloured as if Haussmannian crème brulee, are suggestive of a warm sunshine-filled life. This place was the summer holiday destination for the Spanish royalty from about the middle of the 19th century and has cemented its reputation as a seaside resort since. The old town has narrow picturesque streets and it’s easy to while away the time wandering this way and that with no particular need to be anywhere in a hurry.
We hired bicycles and went for a spin along the entire route of the cycle way from the furthest point on Ondarreta Beach where an iron sculpture, The Wind Comb is embedded in the rock face, along the Ondaretta and La Concha beachfronts, through the port near the old town, up past the Aquarium round the headland where another iron sculpture, The Empty Construction, sits then over the river past the giant slab-like Kursaal conference centre and along the Zurriola beachfront to its farthest point.
For more exercise there’s a lovely walk up Mount Urgull where the Jesus sculpture stands, illuminated above the town pointing you in the right direction.
All in all, a wonderful holiday basking in the sunshine, resting, relaxing, eating and exercising and enjoying the company of our loved ones.