Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Wednesday August 17

This morning I got up around 10 and my hostess offered me a coffee before I left the house.  I decided today I would walk around the city of San Sebastian.  I walked across the street into the old town part of San Sebastian and into the Brexta building which faced the boulevard where the tourist office was.  I had read in some literature that it was actually a shopping center so I thought i'd check it out.  I walked into one ladie's clothing store but didn't find anything I liked.  I was looking for some sort of cool lightweight jacket that I would wear again, or a dressier top  (for the skirt I had brought with me) to wear to Mugaritz, the 2 Michelin starred restaurant I was going to the next day.  I walked across the walkway into another shop that was a local Spanish designer, and tried on a dress and two tops, one a tunic and more casual, and another one that was too small.  The dress was Ok but it was thin material and my few (ha ha) bulges screamed at me, so I eliminated that right away.  I got the tunic top which was on sale for under $40US.  I briefly looked at a couple of other shops, but I really wasn't in a shopping mood, and didn't want to get into that mode just because I was bored.

I took the escalator upstairs and it was full of athletic shoes and clothing, and I had no interest in either so I took the escalator down to the bottom floor - below street level and found a farmer's market sort of place with individual areas for produce, seafood, meat, charcuterie and a lot more.  The fish displays were the most interesting, and some of the vendors had it down to an art, very appealing a beautiful, so I took pics but didn't buy anything since I had no place to keep it - my airbnb was a bedroom and shared bathroom, no kitchen.   There was also what appeared to be a good sized supermarket that obviously served the local community.  I didn't go inside.

I left the building and turned towards the Cathedral, or the hill near Old Town with the statue on it.  I looked for someplace to get something to eat, and found a place that I could actually see from the airbnb that wasn't too horribly crowded and I ordered a couple of pinxtas  that looked interesting, and a glass of white wine.  There was no place to stand inside at the counter, but I did find a table outside to stand at while I ate.  I can't tell you what I ate, because I don't remember, but I did eat it all.  These places, and there are literally several dozen on every street in the Old Town have so many different tapas and most aren't labeled so you just guess.  I am assuming I had some sort of charcuterie with cheese on one, and maybe ham on another, and some sort of layered pie sort of thing with veggies.

After finishing I walked up and down the other streets nearby and then all the way down to the waterfront, and along the beach walk.  There was another shopping sort of mall area on Saint Martin so I headed that way.  Everywhere I walked today seemed to have music of some sort going on, whether live or recorded.  Parts of the waterfront were barricaded off to ready for tonite's fireworks display scheduled for 10:30pm.  The fireworks were part of a competition between various countries and tonite was Ecuador's turn.  I headed towards a big tent where reggae music was blasting and discovered it was not live. There were a few young people hanging out, but not much happening.

I walked on and found another place where there were people of all ages perched on benches and cement platforms overlooking the water, and where another stage of sort was set up, and a young guy was doing a lot of talking and then playing music.  Everywhere in this part of town there were hundreds of locals of all ages sitting around, despite the loudness and the type of music being played.  It was kind of cloudy today, and humid, and it was that time of day between 1-4pm where all the shops were closed so most people were hanging out.

I kept walking and saw the more ritzy waterfront area with immaculately groomed men & women sipping wine and eating on private terraces or upscale hotel restaurants.  I continued cruising up and down the streets, stopping in a beauty supply to buy a small package of Velcro rollers to use in my hair so it might have some shape for my fancy lunch tomorrow.  I started looking for shoes/sandals of some sort also since I had shipped home everything but my sensible jambu mary janes and a pair of slip on croc sandals.  I saw very few that I liked, and that looked like they would be comfortable and cute, and tried on a few pairs unsuccessfully.  I stopped at another coffee place and had a café con leche and a brownie.  I continued going into shops and eventually purchased another embroidered lacy top that came with a black camisole.  This top was a Norwegian designer, and the cost also was only about $40 US on sale.  There were sales in all the shops around.  I eventually found the shopping center on Saint Martin, and there was a large 3 story Zara store, which I had first visited in Madrid at the airport, and now we have them all over the US so it is not such a big deal.  I went into the ground floor which was mobbed, and didn't have anything I found particularly interesting, and I just didn't have the interest or energy to check out the other two floors.

I walked out into a pedestrian street on the other side of the Zara building, and there were lots of designer and higher end chain sorts of stores that you find everywhere in the world- but I was just not into buying stuff.  I found a restaurant with an outdoor street terrace seating area and ordered some lunch. It was probably about 3 or 4 by that time.  I ordered a mixed salad, which I thought was just greens but turned out to be a pretty substantial salad with tuna on top- or some sort of canned fish I believe.  I had also ordered mushroom risotto, and when I saw the size of the salad I knew I had ordered way too much.  For my drink I had a half bottle of the local cider, which is alcoholic and has a vinegary taste but was good with the salad. 

I ate as much as I could of the salad, and about half of the risotto.  Neither plate was bad, but it was just mediocre after the last three weeks of amazing food, and although it was not real expensive, I wish I had just had tapas to tide me over until later.  I walked back to my airbnb to take a little nap, and showed off my purchases to my host and her friend.  She offered me a beer, and we had another one of our little discussions about life in general using google translate.  After a half hour or so I went into my room and hung out for an hour or so, and cooled off.

I headed out again probably about 7pm, and stopped in Constitution square for a drink and to watch some basque entertainment on a big stage.  The square was packed with cafes and people of all ages having a small bite to eat and drinks.  I ordered a drink I saw on another table that was rum and wine and some sort of fruit juice and it was really good.  I hung out for maybe an hour before moving on.  I again followed the sound of music and walked along the waterfront.  I walked near the area where the fireworks were going to be set off, and up the boulevard to the large gazebo stage, where an orchestra was set up.  I hung out on a railing around a green area and listened for a while. 

I stopped into another bar for tapas and had what turned out to be a burget slider, and breaded melted cheese.  I ordered a glass of white wine while I ate at the counter, then ordered a second to go.  I walked back outside and over to the gazebo area to try to sit and wait for the fireworks and finally gave up and went back to the bnb and bed.

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