Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Circle Tour 13: The Last Day in Donosti

Our last full day in the Basque Country is beginning to fade, so it is urgent that I make time to remember and record what the photos bring to mind. There were many beautiful moments, in spite of how unwell I felt.

It was a free day to explore the magnificent city, go shopping, and meet up with our Basque friends.

Barb and I often ended up together because we could maintain a similar pace, although on this day her energy level far surpassed mine. We walked and walked past the lovely beach area...


...and up by the Miramar Palace where the royals enjoyed many summers.


We walked and walked and observed how the ancient and modern blend and overlap in so many ways.

Saturday mornings the streets were buzzing with people and events.
We stood in front of the Town Hall (above) and watched wedding parties exiting with fan fare every twenty minutes.

On a pedestrian walkway downtown we came across musicians and people joining in with traditional dancing.


We were told that the fish market was a must-see. Very special, indeed. Multiple vendors atistically displayed every imaginable edible sea creature. Even the floors are works of art with mosaics that reflect the Basque fishing and whaling history.


We had walked and walked (Did I mention that already?) and I was ready for a break. We spotted a McDonald's and went in to sit a spell and have some tea and a bite to eat.


I think we headed back to our lodging after that, though Barb could have kept on walking...

When we arrived I must have felt like the statue of the Txantxillo in front of our hotel.
Santiago (James) Hernández Redondo, nicknamed "Txantxillo" is considered the most well-known person in San Sebastian of the latter half of the 20th century --a bag man who endeared himself to all with his quaint manners, his xylophone and peculiar way of begging for a "pesetíta". He died ten years ago and is still missed and remembered.


I must have rested some before our long-awaited visit to our dear friends in Hondarribia. Alberto came by around 6 p.m. and drove us all to their gated community. We were allowed to see their piso (apartment) in spite of the remodelling mess, which he called un desastre. Of course we didn't care, we were delighted to spend time with his family, Edurne and the girls.

Alberto pointing out their third floor apartment; the lovely sisters appearing from upstairs--Amaia and Eider
All of us refers to Dane and Laurie, who had been with us the first time in 2010 (read more about that visit and see where we stayed in an old post--Arantxa's Place), their son Stefan and Dane's mother Barb.

We walked with our friends to revisit the familiar places and see what was new. Looks like Dane really needed that little break!


Two new things: 1) the walk-in clinic (ambulatorio) where Edurne now works is in the top floor of the Itsas Etxea pictured on the right; 2) the big blue boat Imanol is refurbishing as a retirement hobby.

In our previous visit Edurne's practice was in a temporary building while the new clinic was under construction. (For more go to Zorionak, Edurne!)

Later that evening, closer to the customary late dinner hour, we wound our way to the old part of town and eventually ended up at the sociedad gastronómica where some of the friends have a membership. There we met up with more friends and family and had a wonderful meal and delightful conversation.


Notice who are wearing aprons. Only men are allowed in the kitchen. (I think I like that!)
(To read and see more go to Eating Experiences in Euskadi.)

The crowd was a little different from our previous visit. We met some family members for the first time.


A memorable evening that ended all too soon.
We walked through the old city wall, said our goodbyes and began to disperse.


¡Hasta la próxima!

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