País Vasco, the next province on or our list to visit, is like another world in itself. The language spoken there actually has no connections or roots to any other language and definitely has nothing in common with Spanish, or Castilian, as they call the Spanish language here in Spain. If you ask anyone living here in Spain probably 99% of them would tell you that San Sebastián, a seaside city in País Vasco, is there favorite city in Spain. 





Because San Sebastián is located only 20km from the French border on the Bay of Biscay, you can find a lot of French influence in the architecture of the buildings and the seven bridges that cross the Río Urumea (river), separating the city in two. I think this may be one of the reasons for it’s beautiful appeal.
 

Another might be it’s amazing shell-shaped beach inlet that is frequented by both visitors and residents the same. These awesome views are also a must-see by night! 

Oh, and one last reason may be the delicious ‘pinxos’ (tapas) that are served at all of the tapas bars from about 7:00pm to 10:00pm each night.  But don’t get too filled up, because remember…there is always still dinner afterwards. The interesting thing about these ‘pinxos’ is that they are all perfectly prepared and sitting on the bar counter. In some places you are just handed a plate and can go scanning up and down the bar until you find something that catches your eye and just grab it and put it right on your plate. In others, the tapas are all presented on the bar for you to see, but you just ask the bartender to put whichever ones you fancy onto a plate for you. These ‘pinxos’ were like some I had never seen before: very fancy, with lots of fresh fish, Spanish cheeses, and some of the most delicious tasting mushrooms I have ever eaten. Yum!

 

Our second day there we didn’t find ourselves in the best weather conditions, the waves were doing summersaults, angrily sloshing up against the rocks and the first bridge like I had never seen before. So, we decided to take advantage of some ‘inside’ activities. While we waited for a tour bus to start up, what better to do on a rainy day than have dessert for breakfast, right?! We stopped in an exquisite little bakery that looked out over the river and had our choice of dozens of sweet, gooey pastries.


After our delicious treat we got on the bus and headed around the city learning a little about the city and its French background. Although the French did occupy the city in the early 18th century it was later burned practically to the ground, not leaving much of anything left. But, the great location of this spot and the ability to surf, swim and sunbathe all within the city limits, it began to be a hot vacation spot for high society and in the 19th century they began to rebuild the city into the beautiful place that it is today, fashioning mostly Art Nouveau type architecture.

 
After our bus tour, we were off to take a look inside the cathedral and then we decided to treat ourselves to an amazing meal at a restaurant literally etched into the sand on La Concha (shell-shaped) beach, making the waves look like they were passing right under us as we dined above. Quite a spot!
 

As we got up the next morning to be on our way to our last province, we finally found sunshine. As we trudged our suitcases to the car, we saw everyone out walking their dogs, playing with their kids, and cruising the beach. They were all taking advantage of this sunshine, that to me, seemed to be very rare during these winter months here! Although it was nice to see the beach full and everyone enjoying, we had no time to stay and bask in the sun, we were off to wine country!

País Vasco
Language: Vasco (Basque)– no found origins, no roots to any other language in the world
Cultural extras: World-renowned fisherman, one of the oldest groups of people living in Europe (over 35,000 years)
Food Specialties: Pinxos (tapas) spread out on the bar top