Friday, August 12, 2011

Cool breezes and Coldplay

           So upon my arrival in san sebastian, I was given my own set of keys to the apartment of my host, since she was leaving for barcelona for the weekend. Time to myself.....THANK GOD!!! A well needed vacation after the madness of Pamplona. San sebastian is definately one of the smaller cities, but has a beauty that has withstanded the test of time. It is where the old kings of spain would go on summer vacation. The monarchy now summers in Mallorca, since it is less crowded. The beaches here are as beautiful as the architecture that surrounds them.
             My first night there, I just found myself wandering around admiring the sunset. I grabbed a hearty meal of pasta bolognese and had an impromtu picnic on the wall over looking some cube-like rocks and the ocean. Now, I have this rule..... When in a country, I try and eat only the cuisine native to the area, (which is pinxtos or the basque version of tapas) because who wants to go to italy to eat a burger? However, I broke my own rule because I hadn't had a nice sit down meal since I was back home and with the stomach issues of Pamplona I had lost 5 pounds and was feeling malnourished. After my belly was full, I went home and drifted off into a deep sleep.
            The next day, I slept in a bit. The sky was a bit cloudy, but it cleared up in the afternoon so I decided to go to the beach for some well needed sun. I had heard that the beaches in Europe were mostly topless, but before stripping down I wanted to be sure. I didn't want to end my trip early beacuse I had been arrested in Europe for indecent exposure. So I set up my towel and looked to see if what I had been told was true. At first, there weren't any topless women to be found. Then slowly but surely they came out of the woodwork and began appearing like ants to a picnic. The first topless woman I saw was in her mid 20's and was cuddled up on a towel with her boyfriend. Then I saw about a half a dozen women in their 50's lounging on the beach.
              So, I decided that if THEY could do it.... so could I!!!! But, it was time to pay the piper so to speak. I felt the same as I did the first time I went skinny dipping. As if I were doing something illegal, even though it is perfectly legal in San sebastian. I slowly peeled my top off while carefully looking for wandering eyes or shouts from the nearby lifeguards to put my clothes back on! But with no such response, I proceeded. In fact, in seemed as if no one even cared!!! There was not so much as a batting of an eyelash as I rubbed sunscreen on my nipples to keep them from sunburning, since that once one experience I did NOT want to have on my european adventure.
               In america, there would be men sneaking around on the beaches with thier camera phones idely standing by. But.... not in Europe. Women of all sizes and ages are allowed to be just as free as a kid at the beach. It is a completely liberating experience to feel accepted just as you are. To feel so close to nature and feel the warmth of the sun beating down on you without judgement. So, I enjoyed a quick swim in the ocean and spent the remainder of the afternoon listening to the song 'yellow' by coldplay and being content with just being me.

-The topless beaches!!
-The breathtaking sunsets
-San sebastian has the most michelin star restaurants per square meter of any city in europe.

-All the mayonaisse in the pinxtos (basque tapas)... Im still not over my mayonaisse poisoning!

Hours traveled: 35
Miles traveled: 8,104

the wall I sat on to eat my dinner

topless beach

watching the clouds go by

the sunsets in san sebastian