We returned from our summer vacation 6 weeks ago, and finally I put aside some time to go through our Spain pictures. Our three weeks away really gave us a lot of images to go through. You can see our Switzerland pictures here and here.
After our visit in Zurich, we flew to Barcelona. We decided to visit my dear university friend, who lives outside the city. I wanted to finally meet her kids (time flies) and she had yet to meet Desmond. As you can imagine we enjoyed the beautiful warm weather, the ocean, had great food and the perfect host. Time went by way too fast and I was sorry to leave. We hung around the beach one day and enjoyed the board walk. My kids also jumped into the pool, which the locals thought was way too cold, but Canadian kids thought was perfectly fine. We also had the perfect guided tour of Barcelona. But unfortunately we left behind our ‘good’ camera and got to wander the city without the distraction of taking photos. Our tour was at a perfect pace with lots of stops at great food places. If you want to read about Suzy’s food adventures, you’ll find a lot of information on Foodie in Barcelona.
After a couple of days at the Mediterranean we packed up the car and drove across the country to the Atlantic.The landscape really changed during our drive. We went from hilly to flat and more barren and then in the basque country the mountains peaked and everything turned lush and green. We made a quick stop in Pamplona on the way to San Sebastian. Pamplona is a very pretty city and it was in a frenzy getting ready for the Run of the Bulls, which was starting the next day. Truth be told, I was glad to miss that spectacle, which I don’t think I’d have the stomach for. We arrived in San Sebastian in the evening and were a little surprised by the crowds in this rather small city. There was a lot of chaotic traffic and many European tourists since our apartment was smack dab in the middle of the old town. We were close to all the amazing restaurants, the beach, the boardwalk and other sites. Talk about being where the action is! Plus the world cup was going on, so you can just imagine the loud crowds late at night, cheering for their respective teams!
The weather in San Sebastian was very fickle. We had lots of drizzle, some rain, cool temperatures and sporadic sun shine. As soon as the sun came out we would head to the beach, which was just around the corner from our apartment. We also noticed that a lot of locals took advantage of the beach during their lunch hour or after work. I love how big the beach was and how it’s surrounded by many historic buildings.On rainy days we visited the aquarium, wandered the old town and ate amazing food at many of the great tapas/pintxo restaurants. San Sebastian really is a mekka for food. We also didn’t miss our daily intake of gelato, trying to compensate for the drizzly weather.So much good food! We loved the pintxo, but also had very good fish, meat and naturally tried some paella. The wine was good and cheap and the quality of our meals was amazing. We also took advantage of the fresh food markets, bought fresh caught fish and farm fresh vegetables and cooked some of our meals at the apartment.On another rainy day we took the funicular up monte igueldo, which turns out to be a home to the historic lighthouse, but got turned into an amusement park 100 years ago by the queen. It was fun to see the views of San Sebastian from above, fun for the kids to drive bumper boats, enjoy a roller coaster and other attractions. This is the only place in San Sebastian where the food was terrible, and we could not believe that in a tourist spot like this, siesta was fully enforced with all the rides shutting down for 2.5 hours! We took the bus to base of the funicular, but I walked back along the beach boardwalk and it only took me 30 minutes to get back to our apartment.One day on our visit we decided to cross the border and dip into France. We drove to St. Jean de Luz, which funny enough had a completely different feel than 20 minutes south in Spain. It’s a small beach town, it has a lovely little downtown by the port with restaurants, art displays and stores. People were very friendly. We had crepes and gaufre (waffles) with whipped cream and I felt transported back to when I was in La Rochelle as a 13 year old! At the beach there was this very fun kids play area set up. There were zip lines, trampolines, play structures and other circusy type attractions along with old fashioned fuzzball tables. Since it was too cold to swim, the kids took advantage of these great attractions and zipped around with the well dressed french kids.This truly was a great trip and I think it really was worth going for such an extended time. Our kids really enjoyed it as well and talk about many parts of our trip. I can’t wait to go back.Photos by Giulia Doyle and Bruno Doyle