My friends and I decided to explore two new cities this past weekend in Northern Spain. We have learned about Basque Country in our classes this semester and have heard about the differences between Northern and Southern Spain. We took a 12 hour bus ride and arrived in San Sebastian at 6:30 am Friday morning. Immediately, the change in temperature and weather surprised us! It was very chilly and rainy.
My favorite part of the trip was walking around the two cities without a destination in mind and wandering the streets. The cathedrals of San Sebastian and Bilbao were beautiful and interesting to visit. We also got to see an amazing view of the San Sebastian after taking a funicular up the side of a mountain. We walked around the beautiful city and tried countless tapas (called pintxos in this region).
San Sebastian is the culinary capital of Spain and everything we ate this weekend lived up to the expectations! Every bar and restaurant puts out different varieties of pintxos, which made us feel like we were window shopping for food! The only problem was that vegetarian options were few and far between. One night it took us an hour to find a restaurant that had an open table and a single vegetarian option. Being a vegetarian in Granada is so much easier. Half of the tapas in Granada are already vegetarian friendly (olives, cheese, tortilla de patatas), so I was shocked at the lack of options in San Sebastian and Bilbao.
We visited the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and I really enjoyed Andy Warhol's pieces. It was well worth the visit! One huge difference between Southern Spain and Basque Country is the language. When we were in the museum, English was the fourth language on the exhibits. Spanish, French, and the Basque language were on street signs, store signs, and menus. This was very different from Granada, where the signs are in Spanish and sometimes have English translations. Overall, I had a great weekend exploring a new region of Spain and eating delicious food!