During my first stint writing a guidebook exactly four years ago, I got a bit of a crush. As SVV was already in the picture at that point, thank God the crush was not on a boy but a city. I fell in love with San Sebastian, Spain.
A city that, unfortunately, I was too busy soaking in the beauty and culture to take any pictures that did it justice. But as SVV is always lecturing me: “Sometimes you just have to put down the camera and live in the now.”
Where is San Sebastian?
San Sebastian (also known as Donostia) is perched seaside in the oh-so-lovely Basque Country. It’s most famously a resort town with prime real estate on the Bay of Biscay.
Stretches of the Atlantic were quite reminiscent of Big Sur, and there was so much to do from surfing, day trips to coastal cities just over the border in France, all-night (and morning) tapas crawls.
What is there to do in San Sebastian?
Because I was there on assignment for MTV, I spent most mornings checking out the sites for the guidebook, churches like Buen Pastor Cathedral, the largest in town and a classic Neo-Gothic structure.
And afternoons logging my notes into my laptop on the beach and working up a nice shade of red. Playa de la Concha and Playa de Ondarreta are San Sebastian’s most famed beaches, and I got to know them quite well during my time on the Spanish coast.
Early evenings were reserved for watching the sunset as I dined on pintxos in one oceanfront restaurant or another.
And late nights were spent burning the midnight oil with CouchSurfers or fellow Americans I met in my hostel. There’s one thing you can’t miss in San Sebastian (or Spain in general) and that’s the party scene. Spaniards go hard—and they go all night long—then they enjoy a nice siesta in the middle of every afternoon when businesses shut down.
Because I had such a big territory to cover in roughly five weeks—Aragon, Navarra, all of Basque and the hundreds of tiny towns scattered among the Pyrenees—I normally only stayed in a city for three or four days top. But San Sebastian I couldn’t bear to leave, and so I found myself bumming around for well over a week. And had I not been meeting SVV in Bilbao soon after, I might have stuck around, permanently.
San Sebastian, I will be back. After all, there’s room in my heart for two great loves.