A Pintxos Tour

May 26, 2019
San Sebastian rain 62°

After a dinner well after midnight and a bed time past 3am we closed the storm shutters and slept in.

It was nearly 11am when we emerged from our bedroom. Jeanne and Graham had been up for hours. After the large loss yesterday I had a lot of figuring out to do. No laptop, no hard drive and more importantly no battery charger for my camera. After some napkin math I figured I had enough camera storage for the rest of the trip but likely not enough battery power. A call to Joe would fix that.

It was now noon so I made Leslie and I a sandwich of fresh baguette, meats and cheese. Even after lunch it was slow going, and the rain we’d been experiencing since early morning wasn’t motivating us to get out anytime soon.

It was nearly 2pm by the time we exited the building. Leslie led us towards the old town via the waterfront.

The waterfront was beautiful even on this gloomy day. We reached a waterfront carousel, a picture perfect boardwalk with a grand fixture at the end.

The Old Town

I’ve been rambling about how incredible these old towns have been in these last few cities. This old town might be the best yet.

I’ve liked the previous old towns but there is something I’ve left out of my journal. The other cities have been paved in dog poop. Leslie stepped in a hidden dump by the beach, I stepped in a fresh one at the last city. Walking around a city shouldn’t be spent looking at the ground. So far today, clean shoes.

With my dog poop rant over it’s all about this fantastic waterfront old town. The streets are narrow, lined with stone pavers and the businesses are all small shops and restaurants. There is outdoor seating, restaurants spilling into the streets with patrons holding wine glasses and tourists snapping photos of the cathedrals that anchor each end of the long street.

With the drizzle and rain we decided a museum was a great way to spend an hour or two. The San Telmo Museum is one of the few recommended attractions other than dining.

At a modest 6 euros we paid our admission and started our self guided tour. We started in the rotational exhibit hall which was focused on death, the beliefs and traditions surrounding it. It seemed accurate enough until we saw the part about Halloween, they had candy canes in the jack o lanterns!

The rest of the museum revolved around the history of Spain and this particular region. There was a little of everything including the historic clothes, government and industry.

Overall it was well worth the time and gave us a small insight into the history of the country and region.

Everyone convened in the lobby and we returned to the old town. We continued our exploration with the end goal of returning to the apartment. Leslie and I had dinner plans on our own so a round of cocktails at the house was in order.

The apartment is incredible, it’s situated on a corner overlooking an intersection where the road and pedestrian plaza meet. Below us small restaurants, outdoor cafes and bars line the plaza.

A Pintxos Tour

3 hours, 6 glasses of wine, 14 unique dishes

After getting changed we walked back over to the old town where we met Vikki, our guide, and eight other English speaking tour goers. We were embarking on a three hour restaurant tour where we’d be sampling pintxos along with paired wines.

Our tour started at a lively and packed bar. The bartender poured everyone a glass of txakoli, it’s customary to pour from high above the glass to aerate the wine. Then came the first hot pintxos we’ve had, spicy chorizo on a baguette. It was incredible.

Every bar, a new full glass of wine and several unique plates of food. We had prawn and bacon brochettes, basque red sausage, scallops served in ajoblanco cream, white asparagus, ham croquettes, octopus, lamb, wild mushroom risotto, beef tenderloin, Iberian ham, pork cheeks served with pumpkin cream, cheese mousse with apples, nuts and quince jelly and finally caramelized French toast with ice cream.

After 6 glasses of wine everyone was in great spirits and very chatty.

Vikki said goodbye and Leslie and I stayed at the bar and ordered a gin and tonic served in a goblet.

We were feeling real great by this point. We left the bar under a drizzly night sky. The street lamps were reflecting on the stone roadways. It was a beautiful way to see the old town.

It was around 11pm when we returned to the apartment. After such an enjoyable evening we didn’t want it to end. We poured one more drink and sat out on the balcony watching the night wind down. The bars were emptying and people were headed home.

I think we did a pretty good job of rebounding after a big bump in the road. The inevitable paperwork can wait until we get home.