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Fin de Semana Sexta: “Basquing” In It

28 April 2008

I love Spanish ordinal numbers…

Driven by exorbitant train fares to—and a lack of available hotel rooms in—Sevilla this weekend, we made a last-minute decision to go to San Sebastián (Donostia), a small seaside resort town in the northeast of Spain, in the heart of Basque Country, instead (Donostia is the Basque name for it).

And to augment Cupalicious’ previous post: man, were we pleased with our impulsiveness.

View of the main beach from the northeastern hill.

Arriving around noon, we checked into our small but cozy, clean and cheap hotel room (which had great service, by the way, along with an exposed original stone wall in the room—cool) and set out to get some of the acclaimed Basque cuisine we’d been hearing so much about (the Basques are pretty fierce in all their cultural exploits: linguistic (Basque), political (ETA), culinary…they have ancient, secret and competitive gastronomic clubs where the all male members get together and cook up some wicked good super-hors-d’ouvres known as “pinchos”). We wandered around the maze-like warren of narrow streets of the old city before stumbling into their Plaza Mayor and finding a cafe with seats in the sun. Though we ordered what we thought was going to be sufficient to assuage our growling hunger, the small kebab of 8 pieces of grilled veal, the single croquette and plate of 5 fried calamari rings—though delicious—failed to fill us up. Especially after I accidentally dropped two of my 8 nibbles of veal on the ground while trying to de-skewer them. Oh well, the flavor of what remained was satisfying, the ambiance was nice and after a pair of cañas, I didn’t care. We ended up filing the void with a healthy helping of ice cream, which made it all better.

Note to Bruce: ice cream shops for miles. MILES! One right after another, and all with really good ice cream and supersized portions! Like these “smalls”…

We then took advantage of the 85°F sun-drenched day and went to the beach. The water was ice cold, but the sand was perfect, so we conked out there for a couple hours, subjecting the unsuspecting fellow beach goers to our shockingly white, Midwestern-winterized torsos. No complaints from us though, other than the fact that obscenely large northern / eastern European women should avoid the compulsion to bask topless. Good. God. Why are the boobs you don’t want to see always on display while those you wouldn’t mind gawking at are kept under lock and key?

Dinnertime found us in a great little tavern with the third-best steaks we’ve ever had, along with more ice cream and a nocturnal stroll on the pedestrian trail running along the seawall, crashing waves and all. Not a bad day all around.

Sunday was markedly colder and cloudy, which was fine, as we wanted to do some hiking around the hills of the city, which would have been brutal the day before. We ascended the eastern hill that borders the scallop-shaped bay, and explored the ancient fort and chapel at the summit. There was a great little museum inside the fortress with interactive films and exhibits documenting the history of the town, including a small 30-seat 1920’s style movie theater showing classic film of the city from the old days (the place has been a summer retreat for the well-to-do since Queen Cristina set up a summer home in the late 1800s, making the place a posh resort). That chewed up most of the day, and the remainder before dinner was spent strolling about, taking in the scenery. The second-best steaks we’ve ever had were consumed later that evening, topping off a very relaxing weekend.

So, long story short, and to echo Al’s thoughts: next time you’re in Spain, go to San Sebastián. It’s got everything: beach, forested hills, great food, ruins, cultural activities (theater, opera, holidays, etc) and ice cream. Lots and lots of ice cream. It’s the type of place we could take our dads and they could adequately occupy themselves while we sat on the beach with our moms wasting the whole damn day drinking and talking.

Pix on flickr.


7 Comments leave one →
  1. Katie Peters permalink
    28 April 2008 6:06 pm

    Why do the boobs you want to see get kept hidden while the drooopy-danglies get shoved out for the world to see?

    I’ll solve that for you.

    The same reason girls with tub-jelly stomachs get their navals pierced.

    Or why twig-scrawny guys get the required ‘tough-guy’ arm band tat.

    Or why the ugliest swamp-donkey in the club tries to dance with the hottest girl, as if they were even remotely in the same league.

    So the rest of us have something to talk about. 😉


  2. Bruce permalink
    29 April 2008 7:50 am

    Cuppie – I love the picture of the two cones of gelato and the mouth full. It reminds me of a three year old girl at the Bishop’s reception standing over the cookie plate with both hands loaded, cheeks buldging and trying to figure how she can get more cookies. Some things never change.

  3. Countess of Cava permalink
    29 April 2008 7:08 pm

    Oh boy, how well I remember that day! And WHO was supposed to be keeping an eye on that three year old girl?

  4. Spirit of 73 permalink
    29 April 2008 10:51 pm

    It sounds like you had an awesome time. Many of my friends consider San Sebastián to be the prettiest place in Spain. I’ll have to visit it one day.

    One last thing: A quick quiz! What is the difference, in English, between Fin de Semana Sexto and Fin de Semana Sexta?

  5. conison permalink
    30 April 2008 4:37 am

    Damn gender agreement…

  6. SPirit of 73 permalink
    2 May 2008 12:23 pm

    No, what you wrote isn’t wrong necessarily. It depends on what you were trying to say!

  7. conison permalink
    3 May 2008 11:51 am

    I really don’t know what I’m trying to say anymore. I was fine for the first 4-5 weeks, then came preterito imperfecto, and the whole house of cards has come tumbling down. I can’t even remember conjugation for present tense regular -AR verbs anymore, let alone proper subject/adjective agreement. I needed like a good two to three weeks to get a handle on the initial deposit of linguistic knowledge, but they’ve gone and laid bricks on an unstable foundation….

    Just for s’s & g’s, what’s the difference btw Semana Sexto and Semana Sexta?

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