What a scene at the airport this morning! Waiting in the checkin line, we noticed Alan standing with an overflowing luggage cart. Alas, Miss Michelle took the blame and owned up to the fact that no self-respecting New York Jewish woman can travel for two weeks with anything less than two suitcases, holding eight pairs of shoes. [A number I pegged closer to ten.] You gotta respect her for owning it.
Our flight landed in San Sebastian at an airport so small that it makes Walla Walla look cosmopolitan. We checked into the Astoria7, a very nice, new hotel just a few blocks from the water and well off the main tourist drag. We chose it as we’ve had luck with film-themed hotels in the past, and are quite happy with our sumptuous quarters.
We set forth on foot to explore the city. Alan and I drove the girls nuts stopping in each and every market we saw. The pesceteria had a selection of fish that made us wish we had a kitchen at our disposal. Big squids and everything fresh gets sold out that day. Then to the butcher. Steaks literally dry-age at room temperature right on the counter. Guess they can do some crazy stuff out here without the USDA screwing life up. Even the gourmet supermarket was a sight to behold.
But then we found the panderia. And another panderia. Apparently French pastry culture is alive and well in San Sebastian. They have this one pastry that looks like a slightly oversized Muchkin [donut hole] and is stuffed entirely with egg custard cream. This is my new favorite. Somebody pinch me–I’m in hog heaven.
After stopping in many shops along the way, we arrived at a beach that was like something out of a movie. The bay forms a perfect scallop shape, and in spite of the throngs of vacationers, it still looked appealing. For me though, it was time for an early siesta. Jamie and I returned to the hotel, while Alan and Michelle continued on foot visiting the old city. Well, we did get a little distracted on our way home, stopping to buy Jamie a scarf and to see a free art exhibit in the library.
After a lengthy siesta, the four of us mustered our energy and headed for the ‘Parte Viejo’ [Old city] to explore. Alan and Michelle bought a puzzle and I bought even more pastry…it is just irresistible. For dinner, we took a little Pinxto tour. Pinxto’s, pronounced ‘pin-choos’ by most or ‘pinx-takos’ by Alan, are little bite sized snacks, that usually sell for a euro or two. They range from the basic to the exotic. I’ve discovered, that we all have an ‘eye’ for pinxtos, but a slightly different one. Alan has ‘big eyes,’ he just wants to order and eat everything, sometimes twice and rarely finishing everything on his plate. Michelle has the ‘evil eye,’ walking the bar back and forth twice gazing skeptically on the offerings wondering if they have any chicken. Jamie must be tired, because she has the ‘shut-eye,’ choosing to go straight for the table and enlisting me to get her a beverage and something she likes. Inevitably, I get it all wrong and am forced back to the bar with my tail between my legs. I have the ‘slow eye’ wanting to visit and look inside of each and every bar and making the crowd wait, starving while I find the perfect place to eat…usually the tenth place, which is no different than the first nine.
Alan had the [romantic] idea to bring towels and a bottle of wine to the beach and enjoy the sunset. A perfect sunset, I would say, as we all posed for romantic pictures, laughing and goofing off the whole time. It was all fun and games until Alan put a toe in the water and choses to sprint back to the blanket and took a tumble at full speed. What is he, some sort of a Russian acrobat? He seems fine, but has a slightly hobble to his gait.
As the last of the sun disappeared, we took a cab home and got to bed at a reasonable hour.