Wednesday, May 13, 2015

San Sebastián

Sunday, we went to the beautiful city of San Sebastián. We started the day with surfing lessons from our wonderful instructor, Gorka (the basque translation of Jorge). It was a grand adventure, but left us exhausted and a little sore. 

For lunch we experienced the traditional basque custom of pinchos. We ordered beverages and got to choose from a variety of "appetizers" right off the bar, as well as order hot dishes. 

After checking into our hotel, we went on a walking tour of the city. Our tour guide, Iñigo (another basque name), gave us ample information about his city. We started at the bridge that is a hub of transportation in and out if the city. He told us about the history of whaling in the city, brought us to a beautiful gothic church, showed us where we could see the alignment of the basilica and cathedral (only 1 km apart) along the same street, taught us how to play "basque hand ball," (a popular sport of the locals), and discussed the issue of fracking in the city, just to point out the highlights. 

After our tour, we got ice cream and sat on the beach during sunset before heading to dinner, where we were again taken aback by the fresh steak and fish that Pais Vasco had to offer. 

During our post dinner stroll back to our hotel, we encountered a beautiful tribute to citizens of San Sebastián killed during the Spanish Civil War in 1936. The memorial was  in the shape of the city, with holes to represent those of bullets. The city's current citizens often place flowers through the holes to commemorate ancestors and loved ones. This memorial brought us back to our course of study, and allowed us to see how this portion of history continues to take part in the lives of Spaniards in the present day. 

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