I have probably spent one day too long here in San Sebastián. The food – Pinxtos – has been unbelievable and the people have been tremendously friendly and helpful – even with my awful Spanish and in the most crowded and hectic of places.
But San Sebastián is more than its food and wine as much as that is such a large part of the Basque lifestyle. The town’s setting on the Bay of La Concha with its beaches is magnificent, and the old town underneath the Napoleonic/Duke of Wellington fortifications is well preserved. The town itself is only around 200 years old in this build – Wellington burnt it to the ground in 1813. Walking the streets and in particular the long seafront is a terrific way to see the city and its people – (usually) well dressed and sophisticated (or at least looking like it).
But it also a resort town. The Easter school holidays have started in France and there are many French families here. The border is only an hour away. It seems to be a better destination for families and couples than it is solo traveller; with a (rather tacky) fun park on the top of Monte Igueldo, carousels in the main seafront square and plenty of gelato shops!
So I have most of the time simply walked and tried to get some training back into my legs before the Pyrenees. Yesterday I walked to the top of the fortifications, Monte Iguell, now topped by a very large statue of Christ.
And today I did the long walk up to the peak of Monte Igueldo on the other side of the bay – 621 feet above sea level it said (and I believe it). But my legs needed it and I feel good.
I think, all in all, I should have just scheduled two days here but, the truth is that I think that I really want to finish with this touring preamble, get to St Jean Pied de Port and start the Camino.
On the hotel’s advice I have booked tomorrow to go by bus from here to my next stop, Bayonne in France. A quick layover in Bayonne and then the train up to my jump off point, St Jean. It’s only just over an hour by bus to Bayonne and it saves have to change trains in Irun as you go from the Spanish system to the French system.