Because Callie and I could not bear another day in Bilbao we left for San Sebastián as soon as we checked out of our hostel. The bus ride is only about an hour so it wasnt too bad. Right off the bat, San Sebastián was a better experience for us. Not only was our hostel easy to find, but also it was in the middle of everything. We stayed at the Enjoyss Hostel and it was so incredible. First off, the staff was extremely friendly and helpful, especially Pablo who ran the place. The vibe was right up our alley too, (unlike the hostel in Bilbao). Young backpackers filled the place! The hostel offered a bunch of opportunities to tour around San Sebastián or rent things like surfboards and roller blades. Oh and the beds–heavenly. They were so unbelievably comfortable it was ridiculous. The street our hostel was on was the oldest and only street in San Sebastián to not be destroyed by the huge fire in 1813.
Right outside our hostel was the oldest building in San Sebastián, Iglesia de San Vicente. It was built in 1507. Not only was it really cool to have the some much history right outside our door, but also it helped us always find our way back to the hostel!
Right after we checked into our hostel and settled in, we of course were hungry. Sian, (the mom of the children I watch), had given us a tapas guide for San Sebastián so we were very excited to try the best tapas at the best places. It is very popular to go tapas bar hoping here and that is exactly what we did. We went to about 4 or 5 different places and got a few tapas at each in order to try the most. SO DELICIOUS! Everything we tried was incredible. A little miniature piece of heaven! I have to say, although everything is absolutely amazing, that my favorite kind of tapas are croquetas.
They are a little fried food roll made up of potatoes and minced meat or cheese, then encased in bread crumbs. It is shaped into a cylinder or ball usually . Incredible. Another great thing about tapas is that they are pretty cheap.
After was filled our tummys with tapas, we headed back to the hostel to shower and get ready for the night. San Sebastián was hosting Heineken Jazzaldia while we were there. This jazz festival is the longest, continuously running music festival in Europe. It is right on the beach and free to the public (though there are special shows that you have to pay for, but most of it is free). I am so happy that our trip was conveniently around the same time because I absolutely loved the festival. There were a few different stages and although it was mostly just jazz, they also showcased some soul and other types of music. After staying at Jazzaldia for quite some time, we decided to check out the bar/club situation. The streets of San Sebastián were already packed so it was already looking much better than Bilbao. By this time it was around 1230am, (people go out much later in Europe–and stay out till the early morning!) so we decided to grab a drink and some tapas. We met some new friends and then continued our bar hopping with them. We ended up going to several bars/clubs and also going back to see more of Jazzaldia. It was such a fun night!
The next day had absolutely gorgeous weather so we headed to the beach. After getting used to the topless sunbathers, we were able to relax. The beach was packed with locals and tourist alike. It was very entertaining to people watch! When finished up at the beach, we walked around the marina area and looked around the shops. There was this incredible smell coming from all the restaurants of the fresh seafood. I really could not asked for better weather.
We eventually made our way to some of the churches we had been interested in seeing. First we went to the Cathedral Buen Pastor, which was built in the 1890s. This cathedral has the highest point in San Sebastián with its 75 meter high tower.
Next, we walked over to The Basilica of Santa María del Coro, which was built in the 18th century. Both churches, although different were beautiful. Seeing churches and cathedrals is probably one of my favorite things to do when I am traveling. It is incredible to me that something so magnificent could have been built in a time were there was very limited technology. The time and effort spent on the these buildings is just incredible to me.
Later that day, we went back to Jazzaldia and called it an early night. San Sebastián had taken a lot out of us!