Climbing off the bus in San Sebastian, we rushed to make sure our bags weren’t taken by someone else like the rookie newbie travelers we were. Only then to look even more like your token tourist by wandering around trying to find the exit, looking like a deer in headlights. Finally, submerging from the underground compound up yet another flight of stairs we instantly knew stepping out onto the cobble paths that this city was going to be amazing. The vibe of the bustling streets and the sweltering heat, even a 6pm at night, instantly made us parched for a local bar. But first, we had a good 40minute walk to find our accommodation.
The Yellow Van
Given that SS is a pretty touristy area, and the fact that we didn’t book accommodation until a few days prior, standard dickhead move! We were left with limited options within our budget for accommodation. Only one option left we made the decision to go from middle-class budget tourists to full blown hobos with a simple click. We had booked a lemon yellow van parked on a hill somewhere in the bay area of SS. Just a bed and a porta-loo was in the list of facilities, the ad stating “only for sleep”. But we were happy enough to give it a go, and with the beach so close we figured a few days of ‘beach bathing’, and not the tanning kind, wouldn’t be so bad. It turned out to be the best decision ever!
Navigating our way through the city centre with the guidance of some mildly vague and broken-English direction our Airbnb host had messaged us. We eventually found a little ally way with what looked like never ending vertical stairs. No clue if this was in fact the correct street we took it anyway with the optimism that the stairs would at least be a good workout. 285 stairs later, yes I counted! We started to lose hope that we had taken the right turn and are legs were beginning to turn to jelly. That’s when we saw her, our little baby, a bright yellow van perched on top of the hill with the most spectacular views of the entire bay. We dropped our bags off and wandered back down the stairs and along the boardwalk enjoying the local buskers and music on the streets. Eventually heading back to our van after dinner we sat on the hill in front of our van, sunk some bevo’s and watched the sunset at 10pm!!
Day 2: Off To A Great Start…
Waking at about 5am the next morning, busting for a wee, I had no other option than to crawl over Dave to the porta-loo inside our van and sigh with relief when I emptied my bladder of probably a good litre! Realisation dawning that I didn’t know how to flush the toilet, I waited patiently till Dave woke up to tell him the good news. It took us about 20min, a stick and a lot of close call pee-spills before we figured it out. Safe to say I wont be doing that again! Crisis averted we headed out for a day of exploring.
We walked along the main boardwalk of La Concha Beach, all the way through the winding streets to Monte Urgull, a hill to the North/East end of the bay. At the base we saw the famous Basilica of Saint Mary of Coro, before heading up the winding pathways. There we were ambushed not long into our trek, by some crazy-ass cat/bird lady. She proceeded to follow us and spew what I’m sure were lovely things in Spanish, not! I think she was pissed that I let out a slightly embarrassing, girlish cry when a bunch of ‘her’ pigeons flew in my face, fair enough though! From then on we stopping only briefly to read plaques about the military history of the city. Before reaching the Casa de la Historia (Historic House) and Cristo de la Mota (a statue we assume was of Jesus or some other dude) atop the hill. There we had the most spectacular views of the entire city!
Making our way back down we walked along the port/marina side of the hill to the ‘Old Quarter’ of the city. Famous for its tasty tapas (or ‘Pintxos’ in Spanish) which can be found in every bar of every street in this area. During our travels we bumped into a guy we met for like 5 minutes at our first hostel in Bilbao, small world right? Even smaller again, when we bumped into him for a second time later that day at our van.
Slowly beginning to notice an odor brewing from all the walking and hiking we decided it was time to go to the beach. It didn’t take long for us to realized the most amazing thing about SS and perhaps the entirety of Europe, fingers crossed. There was a complete lack of judgment towards each other. I know what your thinking, “whats this bitch talking about?”. But seriously, every person on the beach, whether they were tanned, pale, dark skinned, skinny, chubby, you name it, was at perfect ease and comfort in their own skin. There were hundreds of chicks topless, gay couples walking hand in hand, old mafia-esk ladies smoking cigars in two-pieces and not a single person was staring, pointing or judging one another. It was a refreshing change from home and considering the amount of bread I have been eating of late, and my lack of exercise, it made me feel confident and comfortable in myself regardless. I can only hope the rest of Europe has this outlook.
Day 3: Chill-axing
Today was just a chill day! We went to a local café to use their Wifi, obviously we didn’t have that option in the van. Researched and booked a few of our next destinations and went to the beach for a couple of hours to work on our tans. Such a lazy day could only be completed with a mid afternoon siesta, then out for a bit of a fancy dinner. We went to a beautiful little restaurant on the boardwalk of the main beach, over looking the ocean. I tried to order Apple Cider, but it isn’t really a thing here in Spain so the next closest was a bottle of something with apples in it. The barman gave me the option of a glass for 8€ or a bottle for 6€, so of course I did the most logical thing and ordered a bottle to my greedy self!
Day 4: The Eurotrip Continues
Our last day in SS before our departure to Madrid was spent lazing on the beach, bags and all, because we had to ‘check-out’ of our van at 11am. My hair desperately needing a wash by this stage, I had no choice but to swim in the freezing cold water and then wash off in the equally cold beach showers. Dave supplying me with a splash of shampoo and conditioner so I could do a not so sneaky wash. I even tried to use the sand to exfoliate some of my dodgy, post-wedding, fake tan off. Feeling some-what cleaner we migrated back to our usual café spot before walking to the train station to wait for our train. The train took 5.5 hours and was a tad expensive (35€), but it was really nice, and it gave me a chance to catch up on my blogging. Next stop on our Eurotrip, Madrid! Lets hope it brings the goods!