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The NewSLU

Visiting San Sebastián in the Off-Season

The author shares her experience visiting the Basque country in the winter and tips for future travelers

As the cold rain dripped down my face and my thin long-sleeve shirt turned from a mustard yellow to a light brown, I began to question my decision of going to the aquarium in San Sebastian. Right next to the Bay of Biscay, rain poured from the grey sky accompanied by harsh winds that made it entirely impossible to open my umbrella without risk of it flying away or breaking.

At this point, I’d been in San Sebastian for roughly two hours. During my walk to the aquarium, a harsh reality settled in. This trip was not going to be the relaxing getaway beach vacation I had previously imagined. People with common sense would have known prior to the trip that the city would be wet and cold when I visited, as it is northern Spain in February. This new reality was not a negative one though, it was a chance for a new adventure.

The frigid cold was quickly forgotten as I walked through the aquarium admiring the bull sharks, manta rays and tropical fish residing in the aquarium. Comforted by the warmth of the aquarium, I was hesitant to depart. Ultimately, my hunger got the best of me, so I decided to brave the walk by to the city center in the rain once again.

Following the departure from the aquarium, I was ready to experience San Sebastián’s famous food, specially the pintxos. Pintxos are little pieces of bread covered in a variety of meats, cheeses, sauces, vegetables, basically any topping you could imagine.

My favorite pintxo that I tried was goat cheese with avocado and marmalade. Though it seemed rather simple, I was taken aback by the flavor. Accompanying my pintxos was a Basque beer which was equally as incredible. The rumors that food in San Sebastián was incredible was proven true to me after one simple meal at a random bar near the aquarium.

The sun greeted me the next morning, allowing me to see the city in daylight. The Good Shepard of San Sebastián Cathedral stands in the center of the city, surrounded by well-kept green lawns accompanied by statues and flowers. With a gothic revival style, the cathedral is a must see.

My next stop was the beach, another notable feature of San Sebastián. Though the cold temperatures made it almost impossible to in the water, sitting on the shore and listening to the waves brought serenity. The rest of the day was spent by the water, admiring the strong waves and surfers who were brave enough to enter the water.

To end my trip to the Basque country, I spent my last night in an Irish bar with a Guinness. I sat and chatted with my friend as Ed Sheeran blared over the speakers resulting in couples dancing around the bar.

Though San Sebastián is a popular tourist destination in the summer, I am glad I visited in the winter. The cold weather pushed me into establishments I might not have visited in the summer, leading to a more authentic experience.

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About the Contributor
Abby Langton
Abby Langton, Editor-in-Chief
Abby Langton, a senior and communication major, is the Editor-in-Chief of The NewSLU. She has covered hard news, features and sports.

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