Brief from San Sebastian (Donostia)

This is going to have to be a quick report back because although I´m finally in more certain accommodation and have internet access here at home, it´s only my second day here. What I´m really trying to say is that I´ve been pretty busy these last few days and because of that my mind is not on that special setting that enables reflection. I think this becomes particularly true when the activity is mainly related to being with other people and learning things from them. The last while has just been people people people; as opposed to Paris and Luz which had some people-happenings but for the large part was about wandering and feeling new places. It´s a hell of a lot of fun, magically and randomly meeting minds with other people and using every single opportunity to go out and try something together. But it´s a lot for my mind, particularly when this opportunistic hyper-social activity is accompanied by having to learn how to manage your needs in an unfamiliar place. I think right now I´m close to my limit and may soon have to return to spending time somewhere where I can just sit and watch a bird having a dustbath.

I arrived in San Sebastian yesterday afternoon and had my first day of lessons at the language school today. I know where the city beaches are (of which there´s only one that´s really surf-decent; fortunately that´s also the one that is 5-7 minutes walk from “my” home) and I know where home is so I´m pretty pleased. Will have to think more than twice about where the school is… but there´s a reason for that. I did walk to school this morning. In the face of a gale and unrelenting rain. The temperature was 7 degrees. When two new friends and I left school it had risen to 8 degrees but felt colder. And by the time we left the tapas (or, seeing as I am in Basque country, “pintxos”) place at 3:30 in the afternoon, it had fallen back down to 7 degrees but of course felt even less than that. Oh yeah. The temperature yesterday was 18 degrees. That´s the painful part, not the absolute figures themselves. Plus the three instances of hail storms, one of which I experienced firsthand. What is cool about this stormy weather is that even in normal weather San Sebastian has a lot of walls that force waves to stop abruptly, and this seems to be a genuine source of entertainment for locals – watching the big waves crash and splash, the eruptions from all that trapped energy. You can imagine then that with this weather it becomes hazardous to be driving along the roads beside these walls. Or to be walking along one of the three large bridges that give access over the river that has only newly distinguished itself from the sea. It´s pretty crazy but maybe Basque people are just crazy. On the news today they showed the blooper roll of the presenter just getting pummelled by spray as the waves hit one particular bridge. Not just once, they filmed that happening to her a couple of times. I know there are some who will say that San Sebastian is touristy or expensive etc and etc, but I´m telling you, it´s a small town. This kind of “Yay for seaspray!” mentality reminds me so much of New Zealand.

I´ll leave it there for now. Shit it´s 10:50pm! Ah, Spanish time. I could probably adjust to it really well if I stopped wearing a watch, because as soon as I find out how late it really is I immediately feel fatigue.

 But one more lovely thought before I go: it´s supposed to snow here in Sunny San Sebastian Spain tomorrow. I´ve been informed that that actually might be a good thing because it´s so uncommon to see snow on beaches. I have pretty unoriginal opinions about what a beach should be like, so I´ll wait until then to give my verdict. 


2 thoughts on “Brief from San Sebastian (Donostia)

  1. No, not yesterday. Hailed again, as it loves to do. The weather was actually much better this morning but then turned sour in the afternoon, during which I thought I saw snow… It was either snow or granizos very very pequeños. Whatever it was it melted upon hitting the ground though. Everything else but no beach snow for Susie this time around :/

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