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San Sebastian, June 2006

San Sebastian, June 2006 |

Sleeping in Tom’s car at Stansted airport on the Friday night was an interesting start to the trip, a decision I blame on my flatmate’s birthday drinks the night before.

We arrived in Bilbao mid morning. Catching the bus to San Sebastian (just over an hour trip) was easy enough given the language barrier. San Sebastian welcomed us with a beautiful 34C, cloudless afternoon.

Finding what we thought to be our hostel room we dumped half our gear and set off up Mount Urgull to see the remnants of an impressive Spanish fortress. Along with a good workout, we were provided with fantastic views of the (potential) surf beach Playa de la Zurriola and the more sheltered Bahia de la Concha, and the giant statute of Christ.

The sight seeing done, we hit the beach for the remainder of the day (and trip). Despite a lack of surf it was excellent to be back in the sea again.

Our hostel was well located in the old town between San Sebastian’s two bays, with bustling bars, shops and restaurants at our doorstep. Famous for its gastronomy (and as cultured as we are), we enjoyed an amusing evening ordering food in a San Sebastian restaurant armed with an invaluable Spanish phrase book before sampling the local nightlife. With the one densest concentration of bars in Europe, we were stuck for choice. The narrow streets and bars were as packed well into the early hours of Sunday morning.

One of the highlights of the trip was the Spanish culture - the midday siestas, eating late in the evening, and the night life beginning around midnight. There was no need to rush to get organised to go out once you left the beach after 9pm - not that jandals (flip flops/thongs), jeans and a t-shirt are much of a drama.

After spending a relaxing Sunday at the beach swimming, admiring the impressive Spanish talent, practicing our Spanish, eating tapas, and trying out new bars, Monday turned on some swell.

We had intended to catch the bus to Biarritz for the day to find some surf, but fortunately slept through both our alarms and enjoyed a day of consistent 3ft swell rolling into Playa de Zurriola. We hired boards and a wetsuit (€37) and were set for the day. It had been far too long since I last surfed and was very relieved that we caught some swell in our short four day break. A late final night followed, meeting more American, Canadian, and English tourists and listening to Sublime.

We managed a short stint at the beach on Tuesday, enviously admiring the building swell, before heading back to Bilbao and visiting the impressive architecture of the Guggenheim. It all went down hill after that when our flight was delayed due to bad weather in London!

Locations Visited: London, Bilbao, San Sebastian, Bilbao, London

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