A Spanish Birthday Celebration - San Sebastian Photos and Cider Houses (Days 7-9)

September 5th - 7th

I could write faster about our trip.  But honestly, I am much too tired to do so.  Ok.  Strike that.  I'm much too lazy to do so.  You know, you get back to the grind.  Even if the grind is coming home and collapsing into a heap on the couch while you burn through the DVR that is exploding in amazing ways.

Then again, maybe I don't know how exactly to write about San Sebastián.

Or both.

As I look back, the main reason we were in San Sebastián was for the food.  The glorious, glorious food.  And I've already told most of the food stories already.  Not all, but most.  

So how do I tell the story about San Sebastián??  Photos, mostly.

Our last day in San Sebastián, we walked up the boardwalk to the main area of the city.  We didn't do much.  We just walked.  We just soaked in the city.  And the sun.  *sigh*  I miss the sun.

On our way to the city center.

Want to visit a park??  Of course you do.
Why yes, we did stop for food.
You have your choice of pintxo.
I've had more anchovies in Spain than I've ever had before in my life.

We went for pintxos here because of Anthony Bourdain.  He does not steer you wrong.
It was too warm on this day to not have gelato.  This was a rice pudding gelato.  I know, right?!?!
Hotel Avenida

I've been trying to do a hotel report along with the daily events of our trip.  And I would have for our stay in San Sebastián had I actually remembered to take pictures of the room.  The hotel was nice enough, but a little out of the heart of the city.  This worked well for parking (free) and getting in and out of the city (though Jane, our GPS really didn't know how to get here).  But when you wanted to walk around the city, you had to navigate a huge hill.  After walking a long amount of time, knowing a hill awaited you was not cool.  But cabs were 10 Euros or so from downtown.  We learned very quickly that it was money well spent.

It was a little cool for the pool, but sitting next to it was lovely.
View from the hotel.  Not too shabby.
Selfie by the pool.  There is always an underlying smirk in every selfie.  I guess it's better than duck lips.
Petritegi Sagardotegia

Months before we left for Spain, I was on the train, reading a travel magazine.  You know.  As you do.  It was either Conde Nast Traveler or Travel + Leisure...if it matters.  In order to make the masthead more interesting, magazines have started asking questions of their sales force and art directors, thinking readers care.  We don't.  But this day, an answer caught my eye.  I don't remember the question, but in one of the answers there was a reference to a cider region outside of San Sebastián.

Cider region??  What the what??

We looked into the region and knew this was a place we had to visit.  I mean, Adele and I love cider.  It wasn't even a question.

The original goal was to have a tour at the cider house.  We booked a tour in advance, but were told there had to be a minimum of four people on the tour for it to happen.

It never happened.

Instead of doing the tour, we would just have dinner.  Now, we arrived at Petritegi at 630p.  That...was not when the dinner started.  It was when the tour would have started.  Unfortunately, the cider house didn't inform of us of that little nugget.  So we had to wait a while.

And "a while" meant there was not enough time to go back to the hotel, but it was too long to hang out in the parking lot.  We drove to the downtown area of Astigaragga to see if there were any options of things to do during our wait.

We found a bar.

Around two hours later, we moseyed back to the cider house.  Now it was time for dinner.

The diner consisted of a few courses.  Meats, fish, etc.  But the star of the show was the cider.  The all you can drink cider.  Why yes, that was the draw for us.

We were shown to a room with cider barrels.  Well, we were told to go to a room with cider barrels.  It took a while to actually find that room.  Once we did, we learned how to open the spigot and pour out the glorious cider.

One of us was taking the pouring seriously.
One of us was not.
Once we learned that skill, we found our table and began consuming the feast.  At our table was Sandy and Sandy, a lovely couple from Scotland.  We chatted for a few hours while we ate.  And ate we did.

First, you start with sausage.
Then, you add a tortilla.
Next, you consume the fish.
And you can't forget the steak.  Side note, look at the rareness.  Be still my heart.  The couple at our table sent their steak back to be cooked a little longer.  They were weak. 
Dessert began with cheese and quince.
And some nuts...
And also included some rolled cookies.
There were a few things we learned from the cider house.  Spanish cider is a bit fizzy, but not overly.  The cider is usually poured from a high level to spur on the carbonation.  And you don't want to fill the glass all the way up.

Hanging in a cider barrel.
The cider house was a lot of fun.  I mean, let's be honest.  You're not getting this kind of experience in Chicago.

We were heading out of San Sebastián in the morning.  Overall, San Sebastián was weird for me.  It was beautiful and the food was amazing.  But because we were so focused on the food, it felt like we didn't get the feel for the city.  Adele and I did some bar hopping for pintxos one night, but I think we could have spent longer in the city getting to know everything.  Oh well, I guess we need to go back again.  I'm fine with that.


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