Thanks. Trouble is, reviews take such a while to write….and you can’t help but wonder if they’re of any use to anyone else!
+ I love your new pic…..Snarling….or yawning…?
I know, but I’m sure someone, somewhere, will appreciated them.
This was a GIFt from a Forum friend (Steve, @coolonespa ) and we decided he was actually laughing!
I last visited San Sebastián in December 2015, as part of an Interrail trip.
I’ve cut and pasted relevant sections from my report diary below, and hope they’re of interest/use.
If I were to return, I’d do so during the annual Film Festival….but that’s simply a personal preference.
One of my sources of inspiration was Michael Portillo’s Great Train Journeys, specifically the programme ‘Basque Explorer by Rail’. In this, Portillo journeyed from London to Paris, Bordeaux, San Sebastián, Bilbao and Madrid. His experience proved helpful when deciding on my own itinerary, although it’s fair to say that his journey was during the summer months and his expenditure on hotels etc. not exactly ‘budget’!
In San Sebastián, I stayed at Hotel Astoria 7 (following Michael Portillo’s advice). A good choice and interesting for film buffs. The hotel features contemporary décor individually dedicated to personalities, actors, actresses or directors who have attended the San Sebastián International Film Festival ever since it began in 1953. I was in the Vanessa Redgrave suite.
The following morning, I explored the hotel (It was raining). This included doing what everyone else seemed to do, and having my picture taken sitting beside an Alfred Hitchcock ‘dummy’. Given his reputation with his leading ladies, I don’t look totally at ease! A very welcoming hotel, with an extensive library of books and DVDs of films which guests can borrow. It would have been good to have the time to make the most of this.
I then took a tram to the old part of the city. In the summer, the Office of Tourism runs guided walks but not in the winter months. Despite the weather (still raining), I enjoyed exploring the narrow, winding streets of the old quarter (parte vieja) of this attractive and historic city, known as the treasure of the Basque region. Getting around on foot was easy.
San Sebastián locals are reputed to be extremely fond of their food, so much so that (according to Michael Portillo) the tradition is to eat six meals a day! And, with countless cafés and traditional Basque bars, of course I had to sample the tapas (pinxtos in Basque). While San Sebastián didn’t invent tapas, the Basque people are well acknowledged to have perfected them. I also sampled the speciality drink of the area (called the Kalimotxo-half wine, usually red table wine, and half coca-cola). Interesting.
I should have liked to linger longer and, in particular, to walk along the beach (Playa de la Concha) and take the 103 year old funicular to the top of Monte Igueldo for the views. However, the rain had now set in with a vengeance; my timetable was tight and I wanted to arrive in Bilbao during daylight hours.
Houses so close, difficult to manoeuvre! It took ages for this lorry to get out – slightly chipping a corner of a dwelling in the process.
View up mountain towards the Pines – view looking from top towards the valley below is spectacular.
A place with little change and that of ‘prophecy’ – was going to include a house not quite updated but don’t know if files would be too heavy!