Day 7 & 8 – I Ran To San Sebastian

Well it was time to move on from Paris to somewhere a little more laid back. I really enjoyed what I saw in Paris and surrounding France but it was a lot of work. Paris is extremely busy, hectic, and hard to get around.

It was another early start. Up at 5am to make sure I got to the station in time to catch the train. Europe is weird. Nothing is open before the crack of a sparrow’s fart but there seem to be plenty of sparrows around at that time of morning.

The train that I was hoping to take at 10am was booked out so the lady at the ticket counter worked out another solution for me. Leave at 7am and take 4 trains to get there at the same time. My Eurail pass allows me to travel in first class which is pretty nice. Wide comfy seats and that nice feeling you get that you’re better than everyone else sitting behind you. Although when I have to travel 2nd class I curse those bastards who took my seat!

I had a two hour stop over in Bordeax where I was hoping I would be able to get on the internet and book a hostel for San Sebastian. No such luck. The train station, although very nice itself, looks like its the only thing the local council likes to spend its money on. The surrounding area is very run down and not much to see or do. The train station has paid wireless internet but when I finally found out how to get access to it and paid 3 euro for the 20 min card it didn’t actually work. So back on the train with hope for the next one.

IMGP0825 It was a pretty draughty 2 hour journey to Hendaye in an older regional train. Luckily I had some TV shows to keep me entertained. Watched the last episode of Spartacus. That show is so awesome! Anyway I arrived in Hendaye to again find no internet and another hour wait for the train to Irun. This trip last 6 minutes! Another 20 minute wait for the train to San Sebastian. Which was enough time to go through security for the border crossing. 17 minutes later I arrived in San Sebastian again with no idea of where I was or where I was going. I’m pretty good at this hey?

So I headed off to what looked like the general direction of the town centre. Although the train station is void of all forms of information, San Sebastian is well sign posted and I quickly found a sign pointing to the Tourist Information office and once I got a map and was filled in on the sights to see I found there was a McDonalds conveniently located a couple doors down. I set up and booked a hostel without too much hassle and then ventured out to check in. Finding it was more of a hassle. The hostel wasn’t sign posted and when I finally found the little number above the discrete door in the wall no one would answer the intercom to buzz me in. I ended up getting let in by a kindly old man who lived in the building. I finally got checked in though. It was actually a pretty good place. Cheap, friendly, and had free wifi!

By the time I got checked in most of the day was gone. I headed out for a walk around to check out the local area. San Sebastian is a fantastic little place. No one is in a rush to go anywhere and you instantly feel at ease and not concerned about trying to make it to the next attraction before it closes or your train leaves. Everything is in walking distance and the scenery is some of the best. San Sebastian was originally a military strong hold with a wall around the city. About 200 years ago it burnt down so when they decided to rebuild they chose a new direction for the city and knocked down the wall and took on a new focus towards being a modern city open to tourism. The old town is a compact community of buildings and narrow streets. Heaps of little shops through out and mostly not traffic except in the morning when the deliveries occur.

IMGP0945 The next day I took a walk around some of the coast line. Finally some sunshine. Although not exactly warm weather but enough for me to kick of the jeans and jacket for a change. I hiked up to the Castillio de la Mota which formed some of the original defences of the city. Once I was up the top I was treated to some fantastic views of the bay and city. San Sebastian is a very beautiful place. On top of the castle is a statue of Jesus (I assume) although I doubt that was there when they were firing cannon balls off the hill top.

I then headed back to hostel to work out which train I needed to book then headed down to the train station to book my reservation and head around to see the other side of the bay. Apparently I like to climb mountains so I headed up the one on the opposite side of the bay to the one that I’d just climbed. Probably wasn’t a good idea to hike up it. It was a very winding road that had no foot paths in places and plenty of blind spots. I’m sure there were signs that said no pedestrians but they were in Spanish and since I can’t read spanish they don’t apply to me! It was worth it though as there were some fantastic views of the surrounding area and coastline plus the police didn’t seem to care when they drove past.

Up the top of this hill (Mont Igueldo) was a fun park. Which had a creepy abandoned feel to it and I expected to see Scooby and the gang at any moment. I’m not sure what the story was, whether it was closed/being refurbished/low season but there was not much going on up there although some people were doing repairs to some of the rides.

IMGP1006 IMGP0995 I took the cable car back down the mountain to head back to the hostel. One thing that I’ve noticed about the surrounding area is the striking rock layering in the mountain walls. There must have been some major upheaval in the area of the past million or so years. The layers of rock instead of running horizontally run straight up and down in some places. Its strange to think that a lot of this land was 90 degrees the other way at some point in the past.

I decided to stop by the supermarket and buy some snacks for the train trip. Unfortunately I ate most of them before I got back to the hostel. Oh well.

That was it for San Sebastian. I was really happy with the time I spent wandering around. Next stop is Madrid before heading down to Granada. I need to take a look at my itinerary and make sure I’m running right for time.

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2 Responses to Day 7 & 8 – I Ran To San Sebastian

  1. Carol says:

    It sounds like you’re enjoying your travels. Great descriptin of walking up the mountain with no footpaths! I hope the weather improves.

  2. Lu2Ar says:

    Thanks for the travel! it’s nice
    Waiting for Madrid and Granada!

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