9:27am on the RENFE Train: San Sebastian to Madrid
My first cities completely solo – done! San Sebastian is as breathtaking as everyone promised it to be. It is a small laid back town in Basque country (filled with rich Spaniards who summer in this town) with amazing tapas or pinchxos. They have three main beaches, even one surf beach; a big Jesus looking down over the city; a beautiful old section called Parte Viejo; a couple mountains to climb up for amazing views; and some really great and cheap shopping!
I was a little nervous at first to be alone and arriving at 11pm, walking by myself in the streets (after a nightmare of a train experience) to find a little hostel called Pension Amular. After cursing at the directions given to me, I finally find the place and meet a man named Miguel. Miguel is in his 50s. He is tall, bald, stocky, and does not speak a word of English. The hostel is creepy at first as it is dead quiet + I questioned why it got such good reviews online. Now that my stay is over, I know why. Miguel is one of the nicest people you will ever encounter. He will go out of his way to make sangria and paella for everyone in the hostel just because! He even bought me my first meal and drink after I checked-in (we ended up in the same resto and I suppose he felt sorry for me being alone). He would greet me in the morning calling me his sonrisa and fake baby cry when I departed. He makes everyone feel at home and welcome anytime. He even changes your sheets + gives you fresh towels every day! Not bad for 20 Euros a night.
The hostel only had a handful of rooms, so there was a small group of us who stayed there and became quite close after just 24 hours. But seriously, they were ALL AUSSIES! I didn’t understand half of what they were talking about most of the time – but at least it was English! It was nice because we were all about the same age too. Except for little Sam Levy, my 21-year-old racially ambiguous buddy from Melbourne who was the only other person there traveling solo. We became quick BFFs as we frolicked around the beaches by day and joined the rest of the Aussies at night for drinks + dancing. I was sad to leave this morning as I felt a good bond with these people I have only just met.
Unfortunately, I did not take any photos of the CRAZY WONDERFUL pinchxos and paella I had! I chose not to take my SLR out in the evenings, as I did not want to risk my drunken self to lose or break it.
A couple things I found weird:
– Where are all the Asians? And the Filipinos?? I thought we were everywhere?! The only two Chinese people I saw here were at the night clubs selling sunglasses/swords/flowers that light up and glow in the dark. WTF?
– Why is Mcdonalds still the busiest place in San Sebastian when we are amongst all this wonderful Spanish food?
– Why did the Swiss guy in the club judge me when he heard I was 29 from someone else and call me an old pan? Is that a Swiss saying?Does it have something to do with him being only 19 and trying to hit on me?
– Why do shoe stores display their shoes in their windows only and you have to take the sales person out and point to the one you want to try on? And why do they ignore you when you want to get their attention for another size or style? Don’t they want to make a sale?
– Why does everyone dress to the nines walking around town straight from the beach? Everyone puts on beautiful dresses or outfits from the beach and wear gourgeous gladiators, wedges, heels, etc. Seems like only backpackers sport the boring havaianas.
– Why are there Aussies everywhere? And why are they all from Melbourne?
– Why did that Spaniard man carry me out of Clab Tas Tas to try to convince me to go home with him? Is that how these strange Spanish men hit on women? They literally PICK them up? Why did he think that would convince me to go with him?
– Why did that man from the paella place last night tell us we could not order appetizers? Yes, the paella was huge but what we really went there for was also the mussels. Who cares? It’s more money for him.
– Why is alcohol so cheap here? Yesterday, Sam and I bought 2 bottles of red wine + 2 litres of coke paid only with our coins. A whopping 5 euros! Apparently it’s the thing to drink here. yes, wine + coke together is actually quite nice. On a side note, a box of Don Simon sangria is 1 euro. Another WTF?!
– Why is it ok to be buck church or topless on a regular European beach? It’s not even clothing optional!
Now I am off to Granada via Madrid! I booked myself an Alhambra tour tomorrow morning, which should be amazing. Then on Friday I meet Lucie in Seville for 3 days then together we are off to magical Morocco. I still cannot believe I am here. I need to pinch myself sometimes to realize this is not a dream. It’s my reality!