san sebastián, spain

San Sebastián - a city of great respect and revere in Spain.  It photographs beautifully from above and is simply stunning on a sunny day.  I'd been wanting to go for nearly nine months, and we spent about 24 hours in the city as a part of our Basque country road trip (see the Spanish part here and the French part here, if you want).  We didn't go in with loads of plans, but were really hoping to spend time swimming in the sea at its massive urban beach.  

Unfortunately, as is frequently the case in northern Spain, the weather didn't cooperate, and on our first day it was very rainy, from the moment we arrived until the sun went down.  When we were finally able to go out, it was getting dark, but we were able to walk along the boardwalk of Playa de la Concha, into town a bit, observe some of the pintxos scene (even if our budget didn't allow indulging this time), and see the cathedral lit up at night.

D - Very rainy is a bit of an understatement.  It honestly reminded me of footage that I've seen of hurricanes - I was a bit worried we might get blown away in our Smart car.  On the plus side, while it was raining we just parked the car somewhere and I was able to catch up on a few zzz's.  Nevertheless, we were both very relieved when it stopped.  

The next morning we were thrilled to see blue skies and so we decided to walk up Monte Urgull to the statue of Jesus presiding over the bay.  The walk was wooded and quiet, and as we reached the top, the views were pretty fabulous.  The hill has long been used as a military fortress for the city of San Sebastián, but nowadays it's primarily home to a museum and a cemetery.  I'd recommend getting to the top one way or another to have a look at the city and the surrounding area, particularly on a clear day.  We found it to be a perfect way to end our time in the city, especially since our first day was so lackluster weather-wise.  

And with that, we took off for the rest of the coast towards Bilbao (see more here).  If we can, it'd be fun to return some day to enjoy the pintxos and the beach (properly - when it's warm and sunny!), but for now, the taste we got was mighty fine. 

D - I really hope we go back to San Sebastian when it's warm and sunny!  We have a bad habit for visiting beaches when it's too cold to swim!  

I liked San Sebastián, at least what we experienced during our day in the rain and our morning of sunshine.  I can definitely sense a French influence (after all, it's only 25km/15ish miles from the border) which endeared me to it after having had a fire for all things French ignited in the days leading up to our time there.  Of course, it's scenery isn't half-bad either with the aquamarine sea against the green mountains.  It's got a lot going for it - a lot of hype, yes, but a lot to like too.