Our trip to San Sebastián didn’t go exactly as planned. We didn’t buy tickets from Bilbao until we arrived, and the bus time I had scoped out was full. We ended up getting tickets where we would only be in San Sebastián for 4 hours! Not ideal, but we were going to try to do as much as we could.
San Sebastián is a beautiful city. It’s a popular vacation spot because it’s known that the royal family used to vacation there. After visiting, I understand why. The “center” of San Sebastián is surround by the ocean! In the bay lies Playa de Concha right next to a picturesque marina. Once we arrived, we hopped off the bus and started out walking along the river. Once again, we lucked out with breezy, sunny weather. We saw rowing teams practicing with their coaches riding in motor boats alongside, yelling at them over a speaker phone… Kind of hilarious.
The riverside was full of people sightseeing, jogging, and biking. It was the perfect day for any of that. I immediately noticed how many tourists there were compared to Bilbao. With that many in October, I can’t imagine the summer! I feel Ike San Sebastián is large enough to escape them if you really must, though. We only saw a small part. Something interesting to notice about San Sebastián is that it’s on the border with France! There are a lot of tourists who come over from France to enjoy the beach, as well as do grocery shopping and fill up their gas tanks because it is cheaper in Spain than France (according to a coworker, haha!) There are street signs that just simply say “Francia” and point.
When we reached the coast we followed the path around a small hill, which we found out houses a castle that has a lot of interesting history regarding defending the city and the bay. We
wouldn’t couldn’t walk up it because we had our fill of hiking on Saturday, but when we find ourselves in San Sebastián again, I want to go up. It would have an amazing view of the city. The walk along the coast was gorgeous and the farther we walked, the more impressed I was. The bay entrance is incredible, then you turn to see a view of the playa, the marina, the palace of Congress, and a small park.
Even with these beautiful sights motivating us to take in more, our energy was quickly dwindling because of our full weekend and heavy backpacks. We decided to weave in and out of the streets in the center on our way back to the bus station, after we stopped for café. The coffee was decent but the tarta that came with the oferta was mediocre. I was disappointed because we didn’t have time for some famous pinxtos! But, another time. We ran into multiple churches, beautiful buildings, and finally… The cathedral.
This was my first Gothic, European cathedral to see this year. I’m sure there will be more and it will become harder to differentiate, but this was also the first that I have gone inside. It is so beautiful. Jay and I were talking about how strange it is for the people living there were just “used” to seeing the cathedral, and tourists are impressed and travel hours on hours to see it. But I suppose it is that way with sights in the U.S. as well. The two countries are just so different. This was our last attraction in San Sebastián because our legs were about to fall off and we were out of time. There is so much more of the city to explore, so we will be making a trip back at some point.
If we weren’t already feeling dead in San Sebastián, we were completely finished when we arrived back in Bilbao. We even changed our bus tickets to head home earlier. What started out as an ecstatic, fairy tale trip to Basque Country ended with the two of us barely awake, sitting on a street bench drinking corner store 40’s until our bus arrived (hahaha). I had such an amazing weekend! To top it all off, after getting to Logroño, I realized I was happy to be back. It’s starting to feel like home.