Guest Post: Espresso Congo, Por favore

Here comes a guest post by my sister, describing her visit in San Sebastian!

 

* Feeling rather like one Mr. Michael Palin, I trumphed the odds and managed to arrive in San Sebastian around 3pm in the afternoon, having set off from London at 8am in the morning after about 1.5 hours of sleep. Although trying to look as awake as possible, the previous night’s escapade could not be hidden from the very kind man in Pret A Manger who very kindly served me a coffee and porridge with –not just one- but three packets of golden syrup. ‘Have you been to a party?’ – ‘Yes – how did you know?’ ‘Lift up your arm, let me see the stamp you have there’ – guilty as charged. My new friend – whose name I couldn’t remember even if I tried- obviously knows a thing or two about crowd control at London student venues.

* I managed to get through the nerve-racking scenario that is boarding on Ryan Air – stern and miserable looking flight attendants seriously eyeing-up the carry-on luggage. I managed to get my highly illegally heavy carryon with me, no questions asked. Queuing for the flight to Biarritz, France provided me with massive déjà-vu from way back in the day when boarding a plane at Kotoka Airport in Accra, Ghana headed for Amsterdam, would take the better half of 3 hours, passengers refusing to sit down in case that would somehow result in them not being ushered on the plane. Whilst in the queue I was faced with a rush of comfort as a stereotypically English-ly polite surveyor asked me a series of random questions: ‘whereto are you flying today miss? And what, if I may ask, is the purpose of your trip today miss? And how, if you don’t mind, will you be continuing your travels today miss?’ when I mentioned I was heading off to see my sister in Spain for the weekend, she smiled and said: oh how lovely. Read my thoughts, she did.

* It’s a strange thing – passing from one country into another, virtually unrecognisable, apart from the sudden shift from French to Spanish. Equipped with my best 8th grade French, I managed to get a bus from Biarritz airport to the train station, where I at long last found a very nice French ticket officer. Despite not being able to properly communicate with each other, him speaking in very fast French and I replying with a mix of French and dare i say it, English, we managed to plan a route taking me from biaritz to the Spanish border and from there on to Donostia – or, as I confirmed for about 50 times with various passengers aboard the train, San Sebastian.

* The view from where my sister and her boyfriend currently live is incredibly beautiful. So close to the sea it gave me a long-needed sense of ‘air’. It is amazing what seeing the sea can do to a person.

* Spending time walking around the town, running around the town, and climbing (hilly! Very hilly) all under the surveillance of Christ himself presiding at the very top of Monte Urgull, was just what the doctor ordered for a frazzled cosmopolitan like meself (insert ‘just shining my halo sound here’). To add art to serious injury, we even squeezed in a bit of highbrow attitude in the form of the Guggenheim Bilbao. Although perhaps not entirely to my taste, the building is magnificent and compliments the newer part of the town well. I had a chance to explore San Sebastian on close hold with my sister as guide and  had I been able to stay for longer, I am sure I could have very well lost myself in a sea of tapas, old boarded-up French windows, warm autumn breezes and great company.

San Sebastian

San Sebastian

San Sebastian

San Sebastian

San Sebastian

San Sebastian

San Sebastian

San Sebastian

San Sebastian

San Sebastian

San Sebastian

San Sebastian

San Sebastian

San Sebastian

Bilbao

Bilbao

Bilbao

Bilbao

Categories: San Sebastian 2013, Spain | Leave a comment

Beach time!

I am behind with my postings, and I can’t even say it is because I have too much to do. However, a quick post about last friday! Last friday was warm, sunny, and after Kristian had finished work, we went to the beach! The beach was, as usual, beautiful and warm, and after changing into swimsuits Kristian went into the water while I guarded our bags. After Kristian had taken a dive, I went to the water to stand with my toes in the sea (the water was cold!), and gradually I moved further out in the water until I finally took a dive as well, and I will admit that it was lovely. When I got up, Kristian went for another dive, before we dried off, got dressed and went home. And it seems it was a good idea to go to the beach that day, because the weather has cooled down significantly, and the sea seems less inviting now…

Kristian at the beach

Kristian at the beach

Contemplating the cold water

Contemplating the cold water

After the dive

After the dive

Where two waves meet

Where two waves meet

Kristian in the water

Kristian in the water

footprints in the sand

footprints in the sand

The beautiful beach

The beautiful beach

Stay tunes for a post about Annas visit!

Categories: San Sebastian 2013, Spain | Leave a comment

Ordizia

So, lots of stuff has happened since I last posted :) most of which will be covered in a later post, but first I want to talk about the largest food market in the Basque Country. This is located in Ordizia, and is held every wednesday from 9 to 12. Last wednesday Kristian and I got up early, and walked to the train station, where we boarded a train to Ordizia. Upon arrival we followed the general direction of people, and found the market just a few minutes from the station.

First, I must admit, I was a little dissapointed. When every guidebook and internet page mentions this as “The largest food market in the Basque Country”, you expect something huge! It was not huge. When I think of a “large” market I think of the market in Ho, in Ghana, which covers a large area, but maybe we just don’t have those in Europe anymore. After the first disappointment, we took a closer look, walking around the stalls, looking at all the fresh vegetables, and I must admit, there is a certain something about the atmosphere at a market, it makes me feel like I can cook absolutely everything, and make the most amazing meals ever. We settled for broccoli, small green peppers, beet roots and carrots, and after a walk around Ordizia (which, besides the market, is a fairly uninteresting town as a visitor), we returned to San Sebastian.

Stay tuned for more upcoming posts, including my sister visiting and a trip to the beach!

Lovely cabbage

Lovely cabbage

Greens and leeks

Greens and leeks

Tricolore

Tricolore

Uhm, beetroots!!

Uhm, beetroots!!

Green chilis

Green chilis

Rainbow food

Rainbow food

Tomatoes

Tomatoes

Bacon

Bacon

Cheese

Cheese

Fresh eggs

Fresh eggs

Olives

Olives

The bakery stall

The bakery stall

Cabbage

Cabbage

yummy cabbages

yummy cabbages

The narrow streets of Ordizia

The narrow streets of Ordizia

Categories: San Sebastian 2013, Spain | Leave a comment

Bilbao and other news

So, it must be about time for an update! Admittedly, not much happens around here, Kristian works and I wander around town, read and watch cooking shows online. However, last saturday we took the local train to Bilbao. This was a 2½ hour train ride in a bumpy train with no toilets, not exactly my idea of comfortable transportation. But Bilbao was a nice city, pretty and with a nice feel to it. I did not manage to take a lot of pictures, but we strolled through the modern town center, went past the Guggenheim Bilbao, had lunch, looked at shop windows and explored the old town center shortly, before boarding a 2½ hour train back to San Sebastian. However, we plan going again (by bus next time), so I’ll try getting some more pictures then!

Sunday we walked along the beach, enjoying the warm weather, and relaxed.

Wednesday we took a trip to Ordizia, more about that later :)

 

Guggenheim Bilbao

Guggenheim Bilbao

Kristian

Kristian

The Wind Comb, Sculpture in San Sebastian

Cute Lizard, near The Wind Comb

Categories: San Sebastian 2013, Spain | Leave a comment

Dramatic Weather

I was actually not going to post anything today, because not much has happened the last couple of days. I’m still slightly tired from my cold and Kristian has been working, so there has been no particular explorations. However, after preparing dinner and leaving it to simmer on the stove, I sat down on the couch and looked out the window. The sight that met me was the most fantastic sunset light, and I grabbed my camera and hurried to the roof! Some of the pictures I took can be seen below, as well as three panoramas in different lights. I spend ten to fifteen minutes taking pictures and enjoying the view and warmth, before returning to the appartment. Not ten minutes after returning lightning and thunder came, along with heavy rain. The weather really does shift quickly in San Sebastian!

View of San Sebastian

View of San Sebastian

Dramatic clouds

Dramatic clouds

The harbour

The harbour

The harbour

The harbour

Amazing colours in the sky

Amazing colours in the sky

Amazing clouds

Amazing clouds

The Beach

The Beach

View of San Sebastian

View of San Sebastian

View of San Sebastian

View of San Sebastian

View of San Sebastian

View of San Sebastian

 

 

Panoramas:

 

 




Categories: San Sebastian 2013, Spain | Leave a comment

Sunny weather and sore throats

Kristian was feeling better and back at work friday. I, however, woke with a sore throat and a beginning cold. We managed to take a walk saturday, but have been taking things very slow because of the colds. hopefully I will soon feel better!

 

Panoramic view of the beach

Panoramic view of the beach – click the picture for a larger view :)

 

 

 

See full panorama here :)


Categories: San Sebastian 2013, Spain | Leave a comment

Sunny San Sebastian

Saturday proved sunny, and we spend some time wandering around town and walking on the beach :) enjoy a few pictures :)

Marie

Marie

Marie

Marie

One of San Sebastians three main beaches

One of San Sebastians three main beaches

Kristian

Kristian

Kristian

Kristian

Beautiful beach

Beautiful beach

Marie

Marie

Marie

Marie

Marie

Marie

 

Sunday was sunny as well, so we took another walk along the beach. Monday Kristian held a talk at the university, after which we went to lunch with his ‘host’ here and some guys from the research group.

Tuesday and wednesday have been very quiet, as Kristian has caught a cold, so we have been taking things calmly…

- over and out from San Sebastian!

Categories: San Sebastian 2013, Spain | Leave a comment

no hablo español

If any lesson is to be learned from Wednesday, it would be “I do not speak Spanish”.  I took Kristian to the university again, and having agreed to meet for lunch, I went to a café Kristian recommended, the place where some from his research group go for coffee. First of all, it turned out thay do not speak English, or French. As I don’t speak Spanish, it took my “parlør” and some time to order black tea. Now, the two men running the café did not seem to find this enough interaction for one day, so with sign language and more use of my “parlør” I managed to answer the questions of when I had arrived, how long I was staying and what I am doing here (more or less). After answering were I came from, they became very interested, as it turns out there is a danish guy regularly coming to this café as well. This guy might be the Danish guy of the same name in Kristians research group, otherwise I have tried to explain that I know someone who knows him. This is all very confusing. But also kind of fun.

Categories: San Sebastian 2013, Spain | Leave a comment

The rain, rain, rain came down, down, down

Landing in San Sebastian was somewhat different than landing in Barcelona. Where Barcelona was sunny and worm, San Sebastian was wet, grey and cold. We took a taxi from the airport, as the bus only departed once an hour, 10 minutes prior to us receiving our luggage. When we arrived at Talent House, we were greeted by a receptionist, as well as Duncan, who had our keys.

The apartment is smaller than our apartment at home and very minimistcally decorated, but nice and we the shower is separate from the toilet, so I am very positive! After unloading our luggage we went in search for a supermarket.  We very quickly concluded that our apartment is placed on top of a hill, and after 20 minutes or so, we located a supermarket, ten minutes before it closed. This enabled us to purchase such essentials as tea, milk and toilet paper.

Tuesday morning we had breakfast, and decided that the weather did not look too bad, overcast but dry. However, approximately ten minutes after leaving the apartment, the rain began, and before arriving at the university, we were both mostly soaked, as our raincoats can only shield so much. After Kristian got his card, desk and had greeted everybody, we left the university and walked to the old town center in search for lunch.  We ended with pintxos (tapas), I had a small baguette with Serrano ham, a large piece of chorizo and a piece of baguette with ham and a fried egg. Kristian had all sorts of fish and stuff.  The rest of the afternoon was spend looking for a supermarket, before returning to our apartment, tired of all the walking.

Marie in the rain

Marie in the rain

 

My plate of pintxos

My plate of pintxos

Rain in San Sebastian

Rain in San Sebastian

Rainy, rain rain

Rainy, rain rain

Wet!

Wet!

Rainy San Sebastian

Rainy San Sebastian

Kristian in the rain

Kristian in the rain

Rainy San Sebastian

Rainy San Sebastian

Wednesday I went to the university area with Kristian, and spend the day exploring the university area as well as the area close to our apartment, buying groceries for dinner and relaxing.

Categories: San Sebastian 2013, Spain | Leave a comment

VIP Lounge

”Are we allowed in?”

The lady behind the couter smiles and nods as she scans our boarding passes, granting us access to the VIP lounge in Barcelona Airport. One and a half hours layover is about to be spend in deep black armchairs, with 15 minutes of free wifi (why is wifi not free in all airports, always?) and with complementary drinks and snacks. I think this whole business class (or pseudo business class) thing is something I could get used to.

billede01

Complimentary drinks!

Complimentary drinks!

Kristian hanging in the VIP lounge!

Kristian hanging in the VIP lounge!

The destination is San Sebastian in northern Spain, the duration six weeks for me, eight weeks for Kristian. Kristian purchased vueling business class tickets for the flight out, and up until now I find the experience quite pleasing. I have never before sat on the first row in a plane, neither have I tried being the first (or rather the second, as Kristian was the first) out of a plane, and the whole VIP lounge concept is rather appealing to me.  The chairs are comfortable, the food and drinks are free and it is fairly quiet in here.

The reason we are spending 90 minutes in Barcelona in order to get to San Sebastian, is that Kristian is visiting the University of the Basque Country, as part of his PhD, and I am taking a 6 week well-earned vacation, before returning to Denmark to begin my PhD.

Over and out for now, stay tuned for updates!

 

Kristian on the plane

Kristian on the plane

Leg space

Leg space

A view from above!

A view from above!

A view from above!

A view from above!

Marie on the plane

Marie on the plane

Leg space on the plane

Leg space on the plane

A view from above!

A view from above!

The living room

The living room

The kitchen

The kitchen

Categories: San Sebastian 2013, Spain | Leave a comment