San Sebastian: the BEST food in Spain & the WORST place to have a parasite.

San Sebastian

San Sebastian is a beautiful coastal town of Northern Spain, right next door to France. The streets are bursting with locals enjoying life and the plethora o’ pintxos bars (tapas bars, that is) to choose from are so overwhelming, you will not know where to start. Street after street, bar after bar, the city is literally overflowing with food choices. Fresh squid, seafood, fish… it’s all spread out on top of crostinis, small plates and piled high on skewers (pintxos, or pinchos, means “spike” in Spanish). Take what you want, eat what you can; in the end YOU tell the man behind the counter how many you consumed, and your bill is printed accordingly (they believe in the honor system). Cups of local wine are merely €1,  and each pintxo is equal in price or slightly more, depending on the bar you’re eating at. Hardly any seats are present, and that’s fine; you don’t want to sit. Locals stand at the bar or at high tables conversing about the day, the night ahead or reminiscing of days past. No stress. No business. No worries. Just happy, happy people.

One day I WILL have a sailboat!

The beach is amazing, surrounded by mountains and a cute harbor with candy-colored sailboats. You will find Spanish as well as Basque language being used, as well as signs printed in both languages. I had no problem using the Spanish I know everywhere I went, however I did hear some people had issues regarding confusion when using maps. I say just “wing it” and walk without having any sort of direction! That’s the best way of seeing a city (in my opinion).

So how exactly can a place this awesome be so terrible at the same time?? Madrid. I blame it all on Madrid. I contracted a delightful parasite from fried sardines in Madrid, and the little asshole decided to join me for the rest of my trip. This lucky little jerk got to see Bordeaux, San Sebastian and had a tiny glimpse of Paris, including a 16 hour bus ride one day and a 3 hour bus ride the previous day. Needless to say, I wasn’t a happy camper. Not only was I more miserable than I had ever have been, I had to stare at food. Amazing food. Delicious food. I made myself eat the first night, and regretted it within the next hour. So, basically, I need to take another trip back to this phenomenal Spanish Riviera city and do nothing but stuff my face to make up for a good time lost.

However, I MADE myself leave my hostel and do some sightseeing (bad, bad idea…). I met some really cool people (in between bathroom runs), and I ate some of the best seafood I have ever had (although Mr. Parasite didn’t seem to agree).  The city is super close to Biarritz, France, so I would suggest if you are looking for the perfect beachy get away to take a couple of weeks and visit both (they’re like a 40 minute car ride apart). If you are looking for accommodation in San Sebastian, I stayed at the Urban House Hostel, which couldn’t be in a better location. It’s literally right in the middle of all things amazing, a 1 minute walk to the beach and centrally located to all the best pintxos bars. Most importantly, it’s totally affordable, safe and comfortable, although they do not provide enough lockers for your bags. I hate the idea of leaving my stuff lying around, however I did not feel as though I needed to worry.

All in all, I’m sure there is way more activities to partake in than hangin’ out in the bathroom. I just wasn’t fortunate enough to enjoy my time like I had hoped. What I did get to see and experience though was absolutely amazing, and I will return soon to eat and relax on the beach….

Have you had the opportunity to see more of this city than I did?? I’d love to hear about it!

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About The Roaming Bean (109 Articles)
You're probably wondering what the heck is a "Roaming Bean"... Given that I am clearly not a Bean, and my name is Jen, what gives with this Bean thing, right? A friend of mine called me JenBean as a child, and it kinda stuck. Actually, it really stuck... even my license plate says Jenbean. And seeing as I have this grand lust to wander the world, The Roaming Bean seemed suitable. I've changed my career path more times than I have my underwear (minus all the times I've gone commando).... from animating, to forensic pathology, to international business, to fashion marketing and even to my wonderful and favorite of the bunch, degree in culinary arts, nothing kept my attention. Nothing was fun enough to do every day for the rest of my life. I mean, even though I cooked for celebrities in the heart of Hollywood, CA, why the hell would I want to sweat my ass off in a ridiculously HOT kitchen for most of the day and go home smelling like beef and onions? And the chef hat?? Do you know what that did to my hair?? Enter traveling.... The rainy day I descended down the tower of Notre Dame in Paris, gripping on to the railing for dear life so not to slip and tumble to an early death from the torrential down pour that was causing a small flood in the stairwell, my life changed. When I safely made it to the ground, legs shaky from an apparent lack of fitness it requires to walk up and down 387 steep stairs, I realized my hands were stained a delightful copper color from the rusted hand rail I had so dearly clung to. Desperate to get the icky stuff off my supple hands, and no running water in sight, I did what any other hopeless idiot would have done: I washed my hands in the nearest Parisian gutter. It was that moment that changed my life... I threw away my hair dryer, my rolling luggage and my dignity. I let my hair go natural, I bought a back pack and I CAMPED through Europe for a month and a half. Yes my friends, I crossed over into a savage traveling beast. Ok, a lot of people travel that way. But I didn't. And I'm so incredibly thankful for that rainy day in Paris that made me realize the world is a pretty sweet place. That realization led me on a quest; a quest to get out there, see things, soak up some local culture and eat my way around the world (with minimal food-related illnesses, such as but not limited to raging diarrhea).

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