Basque-Northern Delight, San Sebastian

San Juan to San Pedro

A friend once told me, when travelling and someone gives you advice on a must-do direction, “always choose the YES option”. Yesterday’s climb included a stop half way up at a rest area and church. This was shortly after a brief police interaction, but that is another story. A local gentleman came over to us and the discussion of where we have been, where we are going ensued. He then offered a suggestion to divert our route and make sure we walk through San Juan. What a discovery…a tiny, rustic, authentic rural fishing village. Alley ways and streets only wide enough for walking through, crumbling stone walls, timber roughly cut for main beams and supporting structures. I like this, and so did Victor Hugo. The author owned a house here and often took residence in this inspirational village, to wile away the summer days and write.

Another ferry was needed to cross the harbour toward San Pedro and ultimately cycle into San Sebastian.

Mandy – Learning Spanish

Mandy has been learning Spanish for around 3 years. She has done this in many ways, iPhone Apps, face-to-face, textbooks, walls full of grammatical features and currently two lessons a week with a tutor, Anthony, who lives in Peru. She has put in so much time to learning not only words but correct Grammar, sentence structure and communicative requirements.

I’m very proud of her and her achievements. Since we have been in Spain, Mandy has been conversing freely, asking questions, elaborating requirements and communicating easily. She freely admits that she is still learning and is loving the ability to use the language daily. What I’m really proud of is when she starts talking to a Spanish person, they don’t default to speaking back to us in English. They are happy, sometimes surprised, but always excited that Mandy is talking to them in their native tongue. Good on you Mandy, your passion and hard work have made this experience so much more fun.

San Sebastian

Where to start? OK, the food. Tapas and Pintxos are the best idea for food. You are actually supposed to have a few here and a few at the next one. Basically eating out becomes a progressive lunch or dinner. Prawns, cured meats, pickled olives and chillies, tortilla de patata, calamari, anchovies (that don’t taste like a mouth full of salt), chicken or quail eggs, crab and on it goes. All small portions so you can try a number of them. They vary between 2-4 euro, cider 1.10 euro and beer 2.50 euro. It is really inexpensive compared to all the other countries we have explored.

Constitution Square

Here is a throwback to times past, err… unlike the rest of the place. Constitution Square was once used as a bull-fighting arena. The numbered doors were booths for watching the festivities and events. It is now a paved area; families played, Sangria flowed, the local drum group pounded. A great night under the red heat lamps.

Looking around

From a tiny working harbor, many detailed churches and period buildings, to fortified battle grounds including a watchful statue. We wander to the beach and decide to travel along the golden sands. The next headland has the oldest Funicular (45deg train) in Europe; spectacular views and an old school amusement park at Monte Igeldo.

Royal Barbar Shop – Hair Cut day

We all need a haircut now and then. ‘Sedan’ has a funky studio in San Sebastian. He is a really great guy who had the tunes pumping, ‘Spanish dance music’, and was dancing around whilst sculpting my hair. Sedan was very professional and skilful. He took my motley dreads that were well overdue for some attention and created a modern style cut.

Good for you and thankyou. The most fun haircut I think I have ever had.


I would come back here in a heartbeat.

‘Enjoy Comfort’ was the hostel where we stayed in San Sebastian. It was quite central, however, the best part was the owner. Pablo was extremely helpful with places to see and even gave us a list of all his favourite restaurants, bars and cafes and what his favourite dishes were at each of these. Thankyou so much Pablo, that was invaluable.

The last night we found ‘Constitution Square’, again. A local drumming group played for around an hour, we drank Sangrias, ate dinner and wiled away the evening under a heat lamp. Thankyou San Sebastian, for everything.


  1. You two continue to amaze me. There is one thing, the photo of the back of your head at the barber shop – I thought it was Albanese sitting in the chair for a haircut! 🙂

  2. The food, the scenery, and the obvious hospitality look brilliant! Your adeptness in the Spanish language will be so amazing by the time you return to Australia, Mandy! What a skill to have! Maravilloso! LOL.
    Oh, and by the way, I love the haircut, Les.

    • Absolutamente delicioso. Mandy is really cool and it is so fun to watch. Views are stunning. Yesterday was incredible as well. We are talking Roman age buildings. Amazing.

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