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.