I was sad to leave Seville and the Pension Vergara. I guess the magic night I had on my last night was an appropriate enough send off though.
I flew to Bilbao, and then caught a bus straight to San Sebastián – Donostia. I was pretty shocked at how beautiful Donostia is, I wasn’t expecting it. I guess, being Aussie, something about the ocean resonates with me. It definitely reminds me of the East Coast of Australia.
I haven’t done anything massively touristy here. Although it’s veeeery touristy. I mean, I haven’t visited any of the cathedrals, churches, museums, monuments and whatnot, but I have done a truckload of walking; the beaches, the headlands, the old town and the new town. It’s phenomenally beautiful here.
I was a little bit trepidatious about my accommodation; I was only able to find a youth hostel within my budget, after staying in cheap-arse hostals/pensiones for my entire trip. The difference between a hostel and a hostal is that a hostel is a dorm room shared with other people, for example, 4- 10 bunks, whereas, a hostal is a small room in a building where you might just share a bathroom with other people; both are cheaper options than a hotel. I was worried I’d end up in a dorm filled with young, dumb drunks. The hostel is, primarily, filled with young, dumb drunks, but fortunately, my dorm has been fine.
The place is wild. The first night I was here, I went down to the port and there was a huge free concert on (actually it’s been on every night I’ve been here) with a massive stage set up, fish stalls cooking Masgoof, selling alcohol, DJs, bands, and music playing. The people are young, old, families, singles, couples, all out and about till like 3am, it’s just soooo unbelievable to me.
I think the festival is some part of a political protest regarding the Basque Country. Here’s my pre-google summation: I’m assuming it’s part of a festival to celebrate/fight for the autonomy of the Basque Country. There appears to be signs up talking about feminism and socialism (if feminismo and socialismo are feminism and socialism) but that might be wishful thinking and dodgy interpretation. The festival is called Karmengo Jaiak. and it’s apparently a festival for the port’s patron saint.
All I know, is that yesterday as I was roaming the streets, these big-arse puppet creatures – that are worn by people, paraded down the streets with a band. They’re accompanied by people wearing gigantic fibreglass heads beating the shit out of one another with balloons that appear to be animal intestines. The degree of viciousness of the beating varies; children appear to cop gentle swats, whilst I’ve seen blokes cop some fairly brutal thrashings. Most people take the beating good naturedly, it appears to be an honour – people offer their backs up to the beaters so it must have some kind of significance. I did see a young girl get hit, she started crying and the dad was appeasing the person that hit her. The younger boys tend to be the most vicious in their beatings. It was pretty much the weirdest thing I’ve ever encountered, I really went through a process of defamiliarisation where I had to just accept that had no fucking clue.
Fuck, I know I’m going to sound like a totally shitty arsehole when I say this but, fuck me, the food in Spain is overrated. Yeah, yeah, the fucking Tapas, the Pintxos. It tastes fucking great, and it’s fresh but, ultimately, isn’t it just bread, and potato and meatballs, and croquettes, and bread, and bread, and bread? Can I have a nice lean bit of fish please? Without the 10 tonnes of bread?
I found it really stodgy after a week or so, and really difficult to find a decent salad! Oh my god, so hard. I’ve ordered salads and received shredded iceberg lettuce, grated carrot and quarters of tomato (LOL, What, is it 1985 at an Australian family BBQ?). I tried a tomato salad which was 8 thin slices of unripe tomato with olive oil and oregano sprinkled on top. A seafood salad which was a ball of Aioli with potato and seafood filler. Potato salad which was potatoes covered in 10 tonnes of Aioli. I normally eat salad with almost every meal so it’s killing me that there’s nothing readily available – I’ve had 3 decent salads the whole time I’ve been away (whinge over).
Anyway, on to Bilbao and the Guggenheim, eh!