The train ride from Pamplona to San Sebastián bad absolutely beautiful. We met a man and his wife, whom had hikes the Camino from St. Jean, France. They were done walking after the 5-day journey that preceded meeting us on the train. After hearing the way had taken them 5 days, a man from Michigan barged in to brag about making the trek in only 4. This man had a bigger belly than any pregnant woman I’ve ever seen, which he used to perch his open beer while he slept the duration of the train ride.
Finding the AirBnB apartment we were staying was difficult because Google-maps gave us directions in Spanish, and all the streets in San Sebastián were named in Basque. We noticed the Basque language to utilize many Ks, Ts, and TXs. Though Basque is said to have no root language, we saw similarities between basque words and the Hawaiian words we remembered seeing whilst living in Hawaii. The streets are also very difficult to navigate because rather than having typical, reflective street-names, Spain engraves their street names into plaques and then attaches the plaques to the side of buildings nearing the street. It would be absolutely impossible to drive here because of this reason.
The apartment was long, and lean, and was covered from floor to ceiling in dark mahogany wood. After checking in with a Brazilian guy named Ricky, we headed down to the bay. Immediately, we were approached by four Australian dudes, who pegged us for Americans the moment they met us. Somehow, without even talking to people, they know we’re American. However, we have been awkwardly asked in Spanish, by several tourists, where certain landmarks are. Tourists think we’re Spanish, locals know otherwise. We thought the Australians wanted to be our friends as they talked to us for 15 minutes, but in the end they just wanted to sell us surf lessons and a booze cruise.
McDonalds was the only place in town that was known to have wifi. As I skyped Jonathan outside the doors, because God only knows how much I miss that boy! People looked at me very strangely because I’m very much a pacer when I’m on the phone. My friend hannah, from college has been studying and living in San Sebastián for the last few months. We designated McDonald’s as our meeting place since we both don’t have Spanish data plans. She arrived with her other friend, Elena, after catching the bus from her host-family’s house. Several minutes later, two other people our age stepped into our chat-circle. No one introduced them, or me, or us, so naturally I thought the two were trying to pedal something just as the Australian guys had done.
The quad took us to their favorite bar, or should I say to their favorite bar tender? He was known for giving free shots and for frequently drinking with them. They’ve even been to several after-parties at his house. We tried Hannah’s favorite Spanish drink, Pacharon, which hinted of a combination of white wine and champagne. The bartender lifted his arm three feet above each glass in order to pour the drink correctly. Dispute our argumentation, we were forced to try their favorite tapa. I will admit, it was pretty good, but it also consisted of the ingredients found in the typical American pizza-pocket.
After free double-shots and two glasses of Pacharon, it was time to seek Jesus. By Jesus, I mean the enormous statue of Jesus that sits atop a hill and oversees all of San Sebastián. Midway through our hike, I proceeded to be the target of a pigeon’s bowel movement. This type of “shit” literally always happens to me. Aria rinsed my hair with her camelback, and we continued on our quest. We climbed through a dark abandoned castle and made it to the top of its wall. Here, we overlooked the entire bay of San Sebastián as we said goodbye to the setting sun.
Oliver, a native of San Sebastián, took us to his favorite restaurant in town. He understood our fear of tapas and took us to eat cheeseburgers in paradise. The Spanish addition of a fried egg to their burgers was wonderful. Oliver laughed at the way we devoured katchup with our burgers and fries. No one here understands the absolute fact that katchup is the ultimate sauce. The sweetheart walked us home and left us at our door with three kisses on the cheek.