Than Thee-bath-tian in June
I have to admit that it is a bit too hot here in Northern Spain to be eating and drinking at all let alone as much as we are on this Gourmet Rampage. 36 degrees and the sweat is dribbling under my bra when I walk…..not so nice. Apparently it is not normally so hot in San Thebastian.
Apart from my engorged liver and pendulous belly, my digits and feet are swollen like puffer fish from the heat too.
Luckily this 5 star hotel (the Queen of Spain’s summer palace last century) has a pool and spa thingey for the swollen and obese…..
San Sebastian is such a lovely city ringed by mountains and sea – very pretty.
Oddly nobody lives in houses – they appear to all dwell in housing commission high rises amongst Pyrenean splendour and rolling green hills. It’s quite odd to travel into these semi-wildernesses and come across a mass high-rise development and then back into Adelweiss mountainside again 5 minutes later. No urban sprawl though so it’s probably quite sensible. Everyone can enjoy the beauty. Though I have to say – it is most odd to see such congested living in such a rural backdrop.
We went into the Old City of San-Sebastian to experience a Pintxos – tapas meal. PINCHOSS are “tapas” or small bits of food on a toothpick, which is essentially where harried barmen snarl at you and proffer wilting platters of bar snacks of sausage, hot dogs, fried fish, braised Ox cheek etc that everyone has coughed on and you stand and holler at your neighbour in a bar 2 by 4 feet wide.
“Quatro cervezas por favor!” I scream at the barman and eventually he deigns to serve me 4 beers. When I hollered for la cuenta he ignored me for an hour until finally I figured he obviously liked me too much to charge me so I didn’t deign to pay him for our beers and soggy Pintxos. Easy. Then we walked out.
I quite like this system of free food and drink….wonder how long I can keep it up?
The next day we went on a Pintxos tour with local English guides which was superb. A glass of lubricating Cava (Spanish fizzy) got us started and we bobbed in and out of some wonderful little holes-in-the-wall eating exquisite mini platters of food whilst our guides explained how they were cooked. Our guide paid for all our Pintxos tastings – (obviously hadn’t been to the bar we went to where you seemed to get them for free.)
One secret is to do the Pinxtos crawl at 7 pm. No self-respecting Spaniard would eat at that hour (he’s only just finished lunch a couple of hours ago!) so the bars are empty and the food is fresher.
I admit I’m a bit cranky as have had little sleep the last 2 nights. This dead posh hotel I am staying in has all these weddings in its grand ballroom and then the pissed locals stagger upstairs to their hotel room and yell and laugh their heads off slamming doors at 3 am. So when I woke this morning I rang the little doorbell long and hard of everyone who woke me up and then I took their “Do Not Disturb” signs off and turned them over to Please Make My Room Up Now.
I even requested an iron to be delivered at 8 am to room 332 next to me who was particularly selfish and loud.
Must dash as I am off to Martin Beratsegui’s eponymous 3 Michelin star restaurant for a 4 hour lunch. Did you know that San Sebastian has more Michelin star restos than any other part of Spain? Wish I was a bit hungrier though – I have been force-feeding my expanding gut for 8 days now and I feel like I am about to fall off the perch from over-eating.
I tried walking hard for an hour but the heat struck me a cruel blow and I have returned to the air-conditioned cool of my hotel suite splayed out on the bed resting again…….
This can’t be good for me.
Adios until after the next sitting