English | Deutsch
Looking for good weather I thought it might be a good idea to drive from Biarritz at the south-west coast of France around the Pyrenees to the Basque town of San Sebastián in Spain.
The highway led from France to Spain without any interruption of a border control and soon we drove down the hills into Donostia which is the Basque name of San Sebastián and found parking easily next to a beautiful boulevard in the Old Town.
My mothers four-legged best friend Hesper, a Pyrenees Mountain dog, accompanied us of course and experienced her first time in a lift. Being a most relaxed and trustful dog, no problems at all.
San Sebastián lies at a beautiful bay where surfers enjoy the waves in front of the medieval town. A lovely contrast of ancient and modern times.
My intention to flee the rain on the south side of the Pyrenees didn’t work out very well. A down pour sent us searching for shelter with many other visitors. Within short time there were a lot of ooooh’s and aaaah’s about Hesper standing in between the international crowd and tolerating many hands from strangers petting her.
As soon as the rain slowed down we headed to a bar at the brim of the Old Town of San Sebastián. In not very good Spanish I ordered an Irish Coffee to warm up.
I heard a lot of the Basque language spoken in San Sebastián. From the border in Spain I’d observed that the street signs were only in Basque and Spanish. Sorry for the French who just hop the border – but they might speak Basque, too anyway. No wonder the French – Spanish Basque region feels like a separate country!
The Old Town of – let’s use the Basque name – Donostia is lovely. Narrow streets with plenty authentic Restaurants and Tapas Bars.
Of course, the gesticulating market vendor trying to communicate with tourists from other mother tongue is present also in the north of Spain.
A bit crowded at times, but not always as we found some empty streets, too.
On table at a restaurant’s terrace we witnessed a pigeon fight for some crumbs. Other than that the town was pretty peaceful.
Hesper had a fest “reading “newspapers which other dogs left behind all around town. Taking her time she strained my mothers nerves a little bit.
The Old Town boasts of old stories from the past as an important shipping port for explorations to the ‘New World’ in medieval times, told by little architectural details and imposing buildings.
I found some captivating street art as well.
Of course – as it’s right and proper for any port – plenty small boats, yachts and impressive automobiles for the enjoyment for the rich and for those who appear to be.
But the little ones didn’t have to miss out on fancy transport as it was the antique carousel which conjured up happiness on their faces.
Not sure who was the most tired after the city trip but it was worth the drive.
More travel inspiration: