The third morning we arose to the sound of small bells beyond the balcony of our room. Behind the hotel was a garden and a fenced enclosure with goats, wearing bells. Bonnie was energetic enough to snap the photo above of the goats reaching for the tender lower lying leaves of a tree. I was a little slower rolling out of bed.
The small town of Azpeitia lies nearly an hour from our third day’s destination, San Sebastian, Spain. Most of our trip was planned around the premise of two night stays in centrally located hotels with day trips to surrounding spots of interest. Another member of our happy group cleverly did a fine job of planning and it worked well.
Shortly after departing Azpeitia we passed through the town of Zestoa, set in a valley along a river. At the spur of the moment we decided to take a side street into the town which soon turned into a narrow road weaving up surrounding mountains. This road may have been one of the “finds” of the trip as it gave us breath taking views and our first glimpse of the waters of the Bay of Biscay.
There were many stops, for photos and otherwise, as we made out way to San Sebastian. One of those stops was the town of Orio which is located along the banks of the Oria lbaia river. During our visit, a delightful town festival was taking place with music, dancing and of course food and drink.
From Orio it was a relatively short drive into San Sebastian. We did more walking in San Sebastian then anywhere else on out trip. We walked from the eastern side of the city all the way around the Bay of La Concha, rode the Funicular “Monte Igueldo” and then walked back.
Of course Spain is known for bull fighting and many town have history of this sport — San Sebastian is no different. Bull fights were once held in Constitucion Plaza with fans cheering from the balconies above. Even after the balconies became part of private condo’s and apartments the city of San Sebastian retained the rights of use for the balconies and would rent them to well to do bull fight fans — “Don’t mind us we’re just passing through your home to sit on your balcony and watch the bull fight.” In the photos of Constitucion Plaza below, you can see the numbers (seating box numbers) at each balcony.
As part of the local social and tourist scene, San Sebastian has many small and quant bars. Each bar prepares snack food items they call Pintxos (Basque tapas,) with each bar having their own speciality. Most of these are different items served on a slice of crusty fresh bread. The toppings could be anything from prosciutto and cheese to fried baby octopus.
A vacation should be about adventure so we booked an evening’s guided tour around San Sebastian’s famed Parte Vieja bar district which included samples of the best bars and their speciality pintxo along with perfect pours from cider or local white and red wines. It was a great evening (much walking again) and we met some very interesting people on our tour.
The long day ended as we headed back to our car to make the ride back to our hotel. This was perhaps one of the fuller and better days of the trip.
Note: Yes, our vacation was ten days, but do not panic if you think there will be a post for each trip day with each containing this many photos. I’ll combine some days from this point forward and try to be more selective with photos. I’ve been working through 2,200+ photos from the trip and it’s damn hard selecting one or two to represent a whole day. Especially since the purpose of this particular series of posts is not simply a best of photos photoblog but serving as journals of our trip for family and friends as well.