Day 2 – San Sebastian, Spain 2012 – May 15, Tuesday

Somehow Joey and I have still managed to be on separate sleeping patterns! The only difference is now I wake up early instead of him, (around 5:30am!) and Joey sleeps in until 8am! Obviously SOMEONE needed a vacation…a sleep vacation! Even during siesta time, we come in to nap and only Joey manages to actually sleep. Oh well, the early morning hours are a good time for me to recap what we did the day before.

Today (well…yesterday, ha ha) we woke up and went out into the streets again in search of some coffee. It was a sunny but very brisk and cool morning. And yet…people are still out on the shore walking their dogs, swimming in the freezing cold water and jogging up and down the sand. Not me, too, too cold! We stop in one little café and Joey orders two coffees. Ooops, guess you gotta order “coffee with milk” or else you only get espresso! So back he goes to get me my cappuccino and he drinks the two espressos….yikes! We then go back to our little farmers market to get some breakfast, having eyed some egg type dish…kinda quiche looking I guess. It was actually some egg and potato thing. We also bought a very large tomato, and some sort of “ham salad”, which was super thin sliced ham mixed with a few slivers of onions and a couple of olives thrown in. IDK, it just looked like some decent protein to me. It WAS, and very light and tasty too! We also bought some more olives to snack on. THAT was breakfast, ha.

We came back to the room, showered up, and decided today we would walk west on the boardwalk. As long as we were in the sun it was very pleasant, but as soon as you hit a shaddy spot…brrrr. This whole northern region is known for having cooler weather so while it was somewhat expected, I didn’t really bring enough cool weather clothes. Luckily I did bring one jacket!

As we ventured over to this other part of town, it was obvious that more locals probably live over in that area. We started to notice more regular type shops…pharmacies, appliance stores, kitchen gadgets, etc., just things normal people would need. But still…they were mostly all small business owner type shops. We stopped into an ice cream shop and I got the mango frozen yogurt and Joey had dark chocolate…a little over a dollar each. Wow, such intense flavors! Not the watered down, heavy sugary tasting ice cream like we have at home. Why can’t we do gelato cheap like they do here? Why must we pay $4-5 dollars at a mall kiosk for a tiny little scoop of this “specialty” stuff back at home? Pssh. We stopped in another little local market and got Joey some more of the white apricots he likes, and I got a couple of very large loquats. Anyway, after touring around, on foot, we walked back to our hotel in time for siesta and once again, I lay there “resting” while Joey was out like a light!

We then sat here looking out over the ocean for quite some time, sipping on wine, eating chocolates and fruit before finally deciding to go to dinner. We hesitated because the clouds were really coming in and it looked mighty cold out there. But once we were on our way out the door, we realized it wasn’t too bad. There wasn’t much wind and the fish market restaurant that we had wanted to try wasn’t too far away. We were seated outside over looking the marina where some older men were fishing out in front of us. It’s funny, there’s no railings along the marina walkway. My knees go week just getting close to the edge :/ But suddenly as we were sitting there waiting for our food to arrive, we realized one of the men caught a fish so people gathered around to see what he pulled up. It was an octopus!! And the guy who grabbed it off the hook threw it onto the pavement right at peoples feet. It was pretty funny, everyone scattering quickly. Oh man, it was so odd to see this thing squirm around on the ground. You could hear the suction thingies gripping as he attempted to pull it off of the street. Anyway, pretty exciting moment, and I tried to capture some quick video but people kept getting in my way so I have no clue what it shows yet.

Being that it was a bit chilly, and I have been battling a bit of a tummy ache, I really just wanted some soup. Fish soup to be exact. Luckily, they had some and it was heavenly! It was a light bisque style with a couple of mussels in it, a few chunks of nice fish, and a piece of soggy garlicy bread in it. Perfect! Joey gave me his one little mussel because he is a sissy lala ever since he got sick on one in Greece! I also ordered some salmon…yes, just plain ole boring salmon. But the guy next to us had it and it looked good. It was cooked perfectly, and oh so fresh. Seriously, not fishy at all either! Joey ordered “mullet fish”, not having a clue what it was going to be. But anyone who knows Joey, knows he likes his fish served with the head still on it. What he got was two tiny little fishies on his plate. We ordered a half bottle of wine to share, something we wish they served more of in restaurants back home.

It was COLD out in the open on the boardwalk as we walked a bit after dinner. But the sky was amazing! The most beautiful deep blue I have EVER seen, it was absolutely stunning, I hope the pictures do it justice! It was just something about the way the clouds played off the tiny bit of light still filtering through…yet in a dark and ominous sort of way. But there stood the Jesus statue above it all, protecting this little town. Anyway, we walked back to our hotel and called it a night….a good night.

 

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Day 1 in San Sebastian, Spain 2012 – May 14, Monday

Today we woke to a beautiful Sunny day. I first woke up around 5:30 am. It was still dark outside, but all the lights around the bay were still glowing into our bay window….that over looks the bay, how fitting. Joey was still snoozing so I tried to catch some more sleep but it wasn’t happening, the restless body was back and I lay there and tossed and turned. We both finally got up around 7:30am and Joey took a quick shower so he could head out to find some coffee for us. I stayed back at the hotel to get showered myself but Joey returned empty handed. What? No coffee in the lobby? He even ventured out to the nearby streets but apparently it’s much like elsewhere in Europe where you pretty much have to find a little street side café and sit down and have cappuccino from little white porcelain cups. Oh well, we finally left our hotel around 9am and set out for some much needed coffee. It clear and sunny as I said, but it was still quite cool and brisque out….well, it was actually very cool in the shade. I was freezing for a while! We finally start smelling the coffee at every turn and it turns out most of the bars sell coffee where they have “breakfast pinxtos” as well. A pinxtos is what the people in the Basque region call what we know as “tapas”…little appetizer sized foods set out on the bar that you just help yourself to..and then pay for. They hand you a plate, you eat what you want and they ring it up at the end. Pinxtos is pronounced “pinchos” so Joey spent most of the day referring to them as “pinche pinchos”. We ordered a couple of pinxtos and some coffee and sat down to eat our breakfast. Joey had a croissant with ham and cheese; I had a roll with an egg and potato mixture inside. I ditched the roll and ate the eggs. They were both tasty but not exactly what I needed so we plotted our mission to find a market where we could buy some snacks for the day….some protein and maybe some fruit hopefully. We walked around for quite a while, just checking out the small city area, also walking along the boardwalk that leads over to the marina and fish market. Joey was in heaven, determined to come back and buy some fresh fish. Really? Like where are we gonna cook it? It’s not like our hotel had a little hibachi on the balcony! We also happened upon this beautiful old Catholic church that they allowed us to walk around in, and even found a playground with a working carousel. Eventually we head back to our hotel for a potty break, but we soon were out again and stumbled upon a great little local farmer’s market…only it was in a big warehouse. This was the perfect store! They had raw meat vendors, cured meats (a Spanish delicacy), lots of fresh fruits and produce, great cheeses, fresh baked breads, and even some pastries. We bought some home made olives, apricots, apples and nectarines, some bread and Spanish ham. They have a bunch of different kinds of these hams (hanging all around everywhere), and they sell them all prepared and seasoned differently. We really had no clue what kind to buy. We finally just picked one and hoped for the best. It was loin something or other. We also found a little market to buy some beer, sodas, wine and chocolate. We also stopped at a bakery that sold lots of fancy little desserts. Joey got some flan looking thing and I got some chocolate truffles. It was really warming up, and everyone was out and about for their daily stroll (with their doggies…..most not even on leashes!), when we decided to head back to our room and get changed for a day at the beach. Of course when we got back we had to tear into our little snackies and I can tell you, this Spanish ham is the bomb-diggity! It’s kinda like eating dry salami, only it looks like thicker prosciutto…and tastes more like dry thick prosciutto…only better. Seriously, Johnny….you would love it! Only thing is, we can’t bring it back through customs 😦

So we finally get down to the beach, which is really filling up now. Joey picked out his perfect spot on the sand when he eyed all the topless beauties from our balcony. Seriously, it’s the strangest contradiction here. The women dress pretty conservative around town, in fact its customary to do so, but they will take a little break from their work day by walking down to the beach in their work clothes and undress right on the beach. And this is women both young and old….from 17 to 70 years old. Joey wasn’t so interested in the 70 year olds ;). IDK, he must have eventually grown bored of it all because pretty soon he was snoring….softly. But I have to tell you, Spain has some of the most handsome men I’ve ever seen! Everywhere I look, there’s some hottie who looks very much like Joey. Seriously, there are a bunch of Joey’s walking around here….only taller ;). But I can certainly see where his genes came from, ha.

We eventually came back in from the beach, opened a bottle of wine and snacked some more on our goodies while watching the sun set from our balcony. I was shocked to find that it was 9pm and the sun was just setting! No wonder they don’t go to dinner until after 9pm! After quickly getting freshened up, we head out for our first night of tapas…or rather “pinxto” hopping. We had already staked out the area that has the most bars and we could see that even for a Monday night, many of them were filling up. There is this whole area just a short walk from our hotel where you walk up and down alley like streets that are filled with little shops and bars and some other unknown businesses. It is customary here in Spain to go to one place for a drink, have a couple pinxtos, then move on to another place. Some places have seating, some just some stand around tables, and some you just belly up to the bar and graze. We peered into a few as we walked around, checking out their array of pinxtos offerings, and finally settled on one particular place that looked intriguing. Plus, they had seating inside and it was again getting quite chilly. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, I just can’t get warm! I’m sure on warmer nights, and probably the weekends, the crowds would spill out into the alley areas. I sit down at a table and send Joey off to the bar to surprise me with some goodies. He’s scared…or as we like to say “scuurrred”, that he will pick the wrong things. But really, there is such a variety of odd looking goodies that it’s just a crap shoot anyway…so off he goes. He comes back with a glass of Sangria for me…my first here, and it was actually quite pleasant….light an fruity. As you will see from the pictures (food pics, yeah!!), we had some kind of ham salad mixture on bread, a couple of artichoke heart diddies (one wrapped in bacon), some anchovy with an olive (very pungent!), and the best octopus I have ever had! Seriously, it was like eating chicken, not rubbery at all! The family next to us ordered a whole plate of it. It had some mildly spicy seasoning on it, yum. We ended up paying $15 euros for 1 drink each and our food…not bad. We soon left and moved on to another place. This next place had some tasty looking stuff! We tried some sort of meat thing that had some soft batter on it. It kinda reminded me of pancake on the outside, but well seasoned ground meat of some sort inside. It was greasy, but tasty. Joey loved it! We also got a mushroom torte of sorts (a crust shell, with savory cooked mushrooms inside), some bacon wrapped mushrooms…or were they those big fatty white asparagus?, only these mushrooms were huge chunks. Almost like if you were to cut up portabellas, but they didn’t taste like portabellas. We ended with a slice of soft cheese that was placed on crisp bread, topped with an apricot jam. Loved it! Again, $15 euros, interesting. Since we had done some earlier snacking in our room, we were content with out two stops so we called it quits on the food. After all, we still have 14 more days of this!

We finally walked back to our hotel where we stopped in the bar to have a night cap. It was a very cold walk back to our hotel so I was eager for something to warm me up. Having spotted the big bottle of Frangelico on their wall earlier in the day, I decided that would be perfect to top off my night with. If only they poured big glasses like that back at home! Oh my, so tasty. And better yet, it was only a few bucks!

Travel Day to San Sebastian, Spain – May 12-13 Saturday/Sunday

Wow, where do I begin? It’s was a long 16 hours getting here, wait…was it 19 hours? IDK, my brain is fried! Yeah, I think it was 19.

Okay, so after a morning of going to Lacy’s graduation, then lunch afterwards, we finally got to LAX around 7pm for our 9pm flight. We checked our luggage this time, which was an odd feeling to be going through the airport with very little in our hands. I was sure I kept leaving things behind. Joey was in need of a charging station so we plugged in and waited out the time until our flight was called. It was a direct flight to Munich on a brand spankin’ new plane. A big one too! We used some flyer miles and they put us on a code share flight with Lufthansa. I’m glad they did! They not only feed you, but you get free drinks too! So we settled in to watch “We Bought a Zoo”, ate some dinner (I even ate the brownie!), had a couple glasses of wine and attempted to get comfy to sleep. No such luck for me, I had an attack of “restless body syndrome”, something I apparently suffer from quite often at bed time. I finally had to cave and take some Ambien and next thing I know I was waking up when breakfast was being served. Gotta love drugs! We finally arrived in Munich rested and ready to go!

We had a two hour wait in Munich but luckily they offer 30 minutes of free wi-fi so Facebook kept us entertained for a while. ALL airports should be so kind! The airport in Munich is pretty nice. It was clean and modern, yet still quaint, and had plenty of shopping too. IDK, it just felt very Munich-y, and Joey even got some decent German beer. But soon we were on our way again for our 3 hour flight to Bilbao, Spain. We flew Lufthansa again so this time I opted for some champagne to celebrate our little va-cay. I ate some glutenous Thai noodle-y salad-like dish that left me feeling yucky. No more gluten globs for me! We finally arrived in Bilbao around 10pm, and thankfully our checked luggage made it all the way through! Whew! Our plan was to take a bus to San Sebastian but it wasn’t scheduled to leave for another 45 minutes so we had a cup of coffee at a café in the rather small airport (not Exuma small…) and soon we were on our way. The bus ride….well, lets just say there are a lot of curvy roads on the way to San Sebastian and it made me a little queasy :/ But we made it to the bus station safe and sound, grabbed a cab to our hotel and checked in sometime after midnight. The hotel is a nice historic boutique style hotel right on the boardwalk that goes around the bay. We couldn’t see much because it was dark, but all the pretty lights made for a pretty view outside our balcony. We were hungry, and everything was closed so we had to hit the mini-bar. Joey wasn’t pleased, what with the high prices of that stuff and all, but it didn’t stop him from cracking open a beer…to “celebrate” our safe arrival of course 😉 We eventually decided to hit they hay early (if you call 1pm early), so we would be well rested for our days ahead.

Stay tuned…