Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Day 5: Exploring San Sebastian

Fortunately after our late night out the previous night, I had nothing on the agenda for Monday except to explore San Sebastian, which we did at quite a leisurely pace while recovering.  While some people try to accomplish as much as possible during a vacation, I prefer to sprinkle in some more relaxing days as traveling can be quite tiring.  There's plenty of Madrid, San Sebastian and Barcelona that we have yet to explore, but that is what future trips are for.  First order of business; it might be somewhat sacrilegious when there's so much amazing food around San Sebastian, but all we wanted was a cheeseburger.  We were getting a little food fatigue, combined with the previous night's activities, and we found burgers at a restaurant next door to the Pension.  Any other time, it might have tasted mediocre, but it was pretty darn perfect at the moment.
After brunch, we set out for the walk along San Sebastian's distinctive shoreline to Monte Igueldo, on the other side of the La Concha Bay from Parte Vieja, where we were staying.  It's really quite a beautiful and relaxing walk along the shoreline.  I can only imagine what it is like during the warmer seasons.
Former casino, now city hall
There were actually people surfing and sunbathing. Meanwhile I was wearing a down jacket.
It took us about half an hour to walk to Monte Igueldo, where we rode the creaky funicular up to the top for some pretty amazing views of San Sebastian.  There was also this rather creepy deserted amusement park that was at the top which was closed for the season.
Afterward, we hopped on a city bus back to the Centro and Amara Viejo district, next to Parte Vieja for some wandering around and shopping. San Sebastian is such a lovely city; pristine and full of European charm, character and elegance. It's impossible to not fall in love with San Sebastian; it just makes you happy to be there. There are beaches, beautiful streets to wander around, amazing food, good shopping and really nice people everywhere. I really would love to go back soon.
Cathedrale Buen Pastor
These funny knobby trees without leaves were everywhere
Maria Cristina bridge
After we were tired of shopping, we walked back to Parte Vieja for dinner. Parte Vieja has its own special charm; I've never been anywhere like it.  It's a grid of many pedestrian only streets lined with shops, restaurants and bars, always with plenty of people of all ages walking around. The buildings have been carefully preserved to maintain its character and integrity; nothing looks out of place. I'm so glad that we had an opportunity to stay there and I would definitely do so again on the next visit.
Eglise Santa Maria
Plaza de la Constitucion, which used to be the city's bullring
The numbers over the windows are the boxes for the bullring

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