This was an early morning start for us as we had to catch the train to San Sebastian. Breakfast in the hotel started at 7 am and we had to be in the cab by 7:15, so you can see we were a little rushed. At least we were able to enjoy something.
We got to the train station right on time, although the signs inside were not so helpful and only by asking the information desk were we able to figure out where we needed to go. The trains in Madrid operate a little differently now, and I like it because it improves safety. You show your ticket and ID, and then they scan your bags, just like at the airport.
Upon arrive in San Sebastian, we headed straight to the hotel. We stayed at Astoria 7.
This place is really cute. The theme is movie stars, and we stayed in the Richard Gere room. You can see that the room is decorated with pictures of him.
In the lobby you can sit with Alfred Hitchcock. Too cute!
After washing up and putting our bags down, we got a map and headed out to see the city. Let me give you a little backstory as to why we picked San Sebastian. A friend of mine, Laura, is getting married in San Sebastian to a Alex, who is from San Sebastian. I asked my family to tag along since I have heard this is a beautiful city.
Before I show you the pictures of the food, I will tell you that San Sebastian is in Basque country in northern Spain along the Bay of Biscay. San Sebastian is continuously top ranked for food in the entire world. Their most well know dishes, other than the tasting menus at the many Michelin starred restaurants, are pintxos. Pinxtos are the tapas of the north. In other words, similar idea, different name, and different foods. These are small portions, mostly little sandwiches or foods on top of bread.
The place we picked to eat looked busy and we were starving so we couldn't wait any longer. As long as they were busy, we figured they had to be good.
My sister had a tuna bocadillo and I had a smoked salmon bocadillo.
I also ordered the Spanish omelet.
My mom had this crab inside a scallop shell.
After grabbing a bite to eat, we strolled the beautiful city, all the way down to the beach.
This is the main cathedral.
I believe this is a tourism center.
This is a zoomed in shot of the statue on top of the hill overlooking the city on the eastern side.
When you hear people say that San Sebastian is beautiful, they aren't kidding. My pictures don't even do it justice.
See, I have the picture to show that I was really here and not dreaming.
After walking in the hot sun, we stopped for ice cream. It is usually not so hot here at this time of year, and this day was extremely unusual. So out of the ordinary that most people were commenting on it.
They even had a lot of sorbet options so my sister was happy.
I went with my favorite flavor, which is stracciatella, which is basically chocolate chip.
Then we walked around some more.
In the old city section all the streets are pedestrian only. Outside of the old city section there are well defined paths for walkers and bikers. This is probably one of the most pedestrian friendly cities I have ever seen.
This is the bridge that crosses the river at the train station.
Then I had to get back to the hotel to get showered and changed, plus rest a little before heading to Kata4 for Laura and Alex's "rehearsal" dinner. This was for all out of town guests and Alex's family.
Here I am with my friend Naomi. She grew up with Laura, and then they both went to Camp Chateaugay with me in the Adirondaks starting in 1991. I have known them both for that long! Naomi and her boyfriend made the journey here, as did 2 other couples that Laura is friends with. I know she wishes more could have made it, but I am glad that those of us that were able to come, got the chance to celebrate with them.
I tried to take good pictures of the food, but between the new camera (with little practice and experimentation) and dim lighting, they really aren't the best.
First up is a potato with some kind of sauce. They way this was set up was that for this dish you shared with the person next to you. For me that was one of Alex's lovely sisters.
The next course was shrimp.
Then came a crab dish of sorts (the same that was in my mom's shell earlier) topped with a creamy sauce and garlic.
Next was the most amazing fish I have ever tasted. I believe this was hake topped with onion and tomatoes.
The next dinner dish was a steak, and I gave this to Naomi's boyfriend.
To finish out the evening, a traditional dessert that resembles bread pudding and tasted like French toast. This was a fantastic meal and I thank the bride, the groom and their families for being so welcoming to us and giving us a taste of the wonderful food of San Sebastian.
QUESTIONS: Have you heard of San Sebastian? What was the furthest you have ever travelled for a wedding or similar event? What is your favorite beach?