The saying time flies when you’re having fun could not be any truer. San Sebastian really feels like home to me now. I have settled into the dorms, unpacked, and really have a basic feel for the city. Hard to believe this is my third week here. The weather has been on our side so far, only one day of rain which the locals say is very rare! Usually Spring is the rainy season, keeping my fingers crossed that the rain will stay away. Although I have been in classes for 3 weeks now, it still seems like I am traveling on one big vacation. Our homework mostly consists of reading many articles, books, and essays related to Basque culture and nationalism. The coursework has all been very interesting so far, I had no idea there was so much history behind these North Spain territories. Spanish class has been the most difficult for me, but being around the language constantly means I have been learning very quickly.
My favorite things to do in San Sebastian are walking along the beach, eating ice cream, and going on hiking adventures. The town is very welcoming to tourists and there is always something to do. Below is a picture of me and a few other students at the top of our hike to Monte Urgull with a great view of the beach behind us:
There is a tradition in San Sebastian where locals go out on a Thursday night for Pinxto-Pote. Pinxto is a Basque word that means small snack, or treat. The rule of a pinxto is that it has to be consumed in 2-3 bites. Most commonly pinxtos are a small piece of bread with meat on top, usually ham or fish. Tortilla is also a famous type of pinxto, it is almost like a quiche with eggs and potatoes. These small bites can be hot or cold food. The concept of pinxto-pote is getting one of these treats with a drink for 2 euros which is very cheap. The entire town likes to take part in this tradition, it is a great time to socialize with your neighbors. The food in San Sebastian is delicious! This picture is an example of pinxtos that we made at a workshop the other day:
It is important for me to make sure I travel and visit other places in Europe while I am here. Last week a large group of us from the UW program traveled to Lisbon, Portugal. I have only great things to say about Lisbon. It was raining and overcast while we were there, but being from Seattle this was not a problem. The buildings, monuments, castles, and cathedrals in the city are breathtaking. The buildings are all white stone with red clay roofs and long winding alley ways with shops hidden among them. Most of the people in Portugal could speak English which was great because none of us knew any Portuguese. The locals were so welcoming and always helped us when we looked lost, or were planning our day trips. I highly recommend visiting Lisbon if you have the chance, it is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen!
I got back yesterday from a weekend trip to Madrid with another group of students. Madrid is the capital of Spain so it is HUGE. I would have loved to stay there to explore more, but had to come back for classes. During our time in Madrid we visited Botin (the oldest restaurant in history), the Plaza de Mayor, Parque del Retiro, the Palacio de Cristal, and the Palacio Real de Madrid. The weather was sunny and warm which made it even more enjoyable. Below is a picture of the Palacio Real de Madrid, or the Royal Palace:
This upcoming week I will be traveling to Sevilla and Granada for Semana Santa (Easter Break). Word on the street is that Sevilla has some of the best Easter Festivals in the entire world! Look out for an update of my Semana Santa coming soon.
Thanks for reading!