No Rest For Us, San Sebastian Is Next
Donostia-San Sebastian, Spain
Wednesday 4 September
We have a relaxed start time of 9.15am this morning, so breakfast at Cafe Calenda. Jamon y queso bocadillo, un thumo de naranca y un cafe con leche por favor. Very continental. We leave on time to wheel back to the bus station to catch the 10.00am San Sebastion service. There seems to be some confusion however, and Irene disappears for a period, reason unknown. However, once on the bus it seems that the bus was nearly cancelled and was only reinstated when people started complaining. The next bus only leaves in the late afternoon which would have been inconvenient.
We pass through undulating dry-looking country with grape vines as far as the eye can see. As we near the coast we pass through the extension of the Pyrenees with green mountain slopes visible between tunnels (the longest I noted was 1.8km) on the dual carriage toll road. We arrive at the combined bus and rail station next to the River Urumea in San Sebastian. Only a short distance to the French border and Biarritz, this very upmarket holiday destination is a favourite with the Madrid elites and has property values second only to Barcelona.
A short taxi ride takes us to our modern hotel in the district of Antigua (literally "old place" being the original settlement) overlooked by Monte Igueldo (185m) and only a short walk to popular Ondarreta Beach. We set out for a late lunch at around 2.00pm to a local restaurant Sukalde (TripAdvisor #41 out of 800 restaurants in San Sebastian!) which features a menu de dia for €15 including 3 courses and a drink. Then we set out on a long walk around the city that takes us up the funicular railway to the funfair atop Monte Igueldo, all along the beaches to the centre of town in Zentroa, and around the old town with its many bars and restaurants. We stay in the area for a drink and pintxos on the steps in front of the church, and later at another bar, before heading home in the #5 bus. A fixed price of €1.75 for a journey makes it a popular choice, the bus is full. We are delayed on the Boulevard whilst the driver tries to close the rear automatic doors. They won't stay closed. Check with control on the radio, stop the engine, switch off everything. No good. But a second attempt works! For how long we all wonder. A couple of stops after the short tunnel under the pa
lace sees us back at the hotel. Time to celebrate our return with a glass of cava in the hotel bar.