It was difficult for me to imagine what shape my visit to the Basque Country of Spain, home to my most ancient ancestors, would take once I arrived. Would I find what I was looking for? Did I know what I was looking for?
I exited the train depot on foot, in pouring down rain, in search of Joaquin Pension, Calle Camino 4. I soon found myself in an ancient city of old Spanish architecture, sculptured gardens, and marble alamedas filled with hundreds of people—strolling, shopping, enjoying small plates of food in outdoor cafés, with street entertainers and animated conversations everywhere I passed. I know a little Spanish and caught the occasional word. Half of the people looked like me, that is, not foreign. Street signs had both Basque and Spanish names.
Half an hour later I reached the pension and checked in, tired, wet, and happy. Alone in my room, I “knew” that I belonged here, with all I had seen and experienced. “I’m all calm,” I said to myself. “But will I feel the same way in the morning?” Here are some photos from my first day in Basque Country. It’s the start of something big!
It looks like it’s all about the food – and indeed Basque Country is known as the Holy Grail destination for foodies. I sipped and nibbled my way through my first day.
San Sebastián has been chosen as the Capital of European Culture for 2016, and there are celebrations going on all year.
I also visited the Oficina de Turismo and am taking two city walking tours tomorrow: 11 a.m. “Led by a professional guide, you’ll discover on foot San Sebastián Old Town’s “musts,” its best-kept secrets and the most curious anecdotes surrounding the city.” 4:30 p.m. “From music to rowing, from dancing to cinema, from Jai Alai to Euskera, the Basque language, from the sea to the streets. Discover the rich cultural tradition of the European Capital of Culture 2016 on foot with a professional guide. See you there!