Sorry about the last blog, European keyboards mess me up.
Arriving in San Sebastian I was pumped to climb Mt. Urgull and see the giant statue of Jesus and check out some of the cool churches. Unfortunately there was a huge storm in San Sebastian and the weather was changing from howling winds to pouring rain and snow flurries. Apparently it only snows there once every 20 years. Lucky me. I did see the statue from the highway (it’s enormous) and it was lit up at night and looked wicked! Walking around the city felt as the French would say, “as cold as a duck”, but the architecture was very impressive and I could see huge waves rolling in from the Atlantic under the bridge we crossed. The city is right on the ocean and I think that was the first time I’ve ever seen the Atlantic from this coast. “The Other West Coast” as my fellow traveller Mike Johnson called it, was beautiful. I would love to go back this Spring if I have time to see the beach, climb the mountain, ect… basically everything else San Sebastian is known for aside from it’s nightlife.
Saturday night, I rushed through my last blog and then went to find my group who was eating Paella. They were all finished and there was a ton left when I arrived, so they offered me some. I put a scoop or two on a plate and tried it, it was good, but not as good as my mom makes it. Then they split the bill which was 77 euros for 8 of us and I had to pay 10 euros for just trying their dinner!! I wasn’t too happy, plus some of them had ordered drinks which were probably on the bill too!
After getting ripped off at dinner, we went out to get more ripped off on alcohol. The bars were packed, even though it was the off season and finding one with room to stand was difficult. Three of us were staying in a mixed hostel room with a guy from Barcelona and a Swede. They were flying solo so I invited them along with us. By the end of the night the Swedish guy probably thought I was a moron haha, because I asked him how long the train ride is from Sweden and I confessed I didn’t know Luxembourg was both a city and a country. The looks on his face for my stupidity were pretty priceless though and I suppose it wasn’t as bad as when Michelle asked Marco where Italy is.
The Spanish guy, Alex, took us barhopping along the main street. He was hillarious. We passed a McDonalds and he yelled, “Look it’s your embassy!”. He was also shameless and spent the night hitting on each girl, hoping to score with an American. None of the girls in our group were into him at all, which made the situation even more amusing. This was probably due to him acting very very flambouyant. If he had been American I would’ve been convinced he was gay. The Swede (whose name is Rickard) and I were watching Alex salsa with my friend Vanessa at the first bar and he points at Alex and asks me, “Is this what Americans picture when they think of European men?”
Alex is a European stereotype, but Rickard was one too. Alex was the suave, slightly creepy guy with the cheesy lines (“Try this shot, it’s sweet like me”) and Rickard was the overly senstive, blue eyed scandanavian. We were listening to some American pop song in a bar when he began to tell me how it reminded him of a friend he had who was like a little brother and made him want to cry out of homesickness….really man? The best part is he was completely serious and wasn’t remotely intersted in any of the American girls. He was nice and a good conversationalist. He told me how much he loved Obama, but how ashamed he was of the peace prize and said he blushes every time he thinks about it. He also commented to me after an hour or so in the first bar that it was now full of men. I said, “hmm, you’re right….thats kind of scary”. “You should be scared” was his response and taking his advice I gathered the group to go to the next bar.
[By the way, I should add we did have two guys in our USAC group…it wasn’t 6 girls and 2 random European men]
The second out of many bars was very rustic looking. Red Bricks lined the walls and built the bar. A bronze tile on the floor went matched and made the Spanish atmosphere tangible. There I tried this basque liquor which was the smoothest shot I’ve ever taken. It was very sweet and yummy! I also tasted Sangria for the first time and had a mixed coke and wine (surprisingly delicious). We met ppl from all over the world that night, including other Americans, a French speaking woman from somewhere besides France… and even an Irish guy. At first the Irish guy didn’t believe I was American and said, “Thats what all English speakers claim! What are you really?”, “Okay, I’m Canadian”, “Oh no! Thats the worst!!!” Vanessa was drunk and then picking up on the accent yelled, “You’re Irish!! We’re American, we love accents!” I yelled, “Shush Vanessa you aren’t supposed to say that!” “Oh really?” he said, “I own my own farm ya know”. <— Nicole if you're reading this, I thought you would love that haha!
Vanessa is incredibly funny and I loved spending the weekend with her. Plus, she has a boyfriend back home, so all her comments were in good fun and it was nice hanging out with someone who wasn't looking to hook up with a European guy (Not that most girls are, but a few can be). She did drink far more than me though and thus at 2:30 or I said bye to my group to take her home. She was tired and had gone outside by herself to get some fresh air. I found a creepy Spanish guy trying to speak french with her while she was backing up against a wall trying to escape. I whisked my hand around him, grabbed her arm and pulled away saying, "Time to go!! Elle ne parle pas francais, bon nuit!"
We went back to the hostel and passed out in the beds only to wake up a few hours later at 8:10 am to get an early train back to Pau. On the last train home I spoke with this woman born in San Sebastian for an hour and a half about her world travels. She was awesome!! She has been everywhere! Off the top of my head I recall her telling me about Hong Kong, Tokyo, Thailand, Australia, London, Dublin, Rome, Bruxelles, Paris, visitng New York 4 times, living in Canada, Barcelona, Seville, travelling the states, Lourdes, Lyon, Nice, Marseilles, Lilles, and more! She knows France like the back of her hand and gave me over a dozen cities "I have to go to". Unfortunately many of them are in the north which is hard to get away to for a weekend. The lady now lives in Lons, the town just outside of Pau I'm in! She gave me her number, e-mail and name, repeatedly telling me to call her if I ever need anything. She also wants to take me shopping at les soldes or get coffee!! It was great to meet someone with such a passion for world travel and she gave me a lot of advice for my stay in Pau, including how I can find my residents in Lourdes online!!
This weekend I'll probably take it easy in Pau, but next weekend I'm going to a winery in Bordeaux and St Jean-De-Pied with USAC on saturday. I might take a day trip to Lourdes Sunday since I'm so close and try to track down some relatives!!