I wish I could have stayed in Rioja forever, but soon it was time to leave this region of Spain and Hotel Villa de Ábalos. We continued our journey north and drove up over the mountains into Pais Vasco or Basque Country. As we drove the landscape changed and became more green, lush, and wooded. The architecture changed; we left the medieval stone house of Rioja behind and they were replaced by wooden houses and twentieth century apartment buildings. Vineyards and cattle made way to industry and sheep grazing. We were now in Basque Country.
Soon we were driving into the seaside city of San Sebastián. Called Donostia in the Basque language, this picturesque city is situated between two hills along a crescent-shaped beach. The beach is capped at both ends by small peaks. Monte Urgull rises above the old town on the east end of the beach and is adorned with a Christ statue that overlooks the streets below. At the base of Monte Urgull is the old city, a labyrinth of cobblestones streets and tapas bars. The west end of the beach Monte Ugueldo rises from the sea. The city seems nestled in between two bookends.
And my favorite thing about this city? It’s a food town. Yes, Donostia (or San Sebastián) is definitely a place to come when you’re hungry. There are simple tapas bars serving delicious little bites and highly acclaimed restaurants and everything in between.
|Gambas a la plancha at Bar Goiz Argi|
|Hongos a la plancha y yema at Ganbara|
|Risotto at Borda Berri|
|Marmitako at Ganbara|
|The narrow streets in the old part of Donostia (or San Sebastián)|