San Sebastián, Spain

Karie on Apr 21st 2008 11:04 am

Adam & Nicki spent most of their trip doing slow-paced tourism with us in Barcelona, with the exception of a brief getaway to San Sebastián. I figured out that an over night bus would be cost-effective and give us more time in the city than flying. Adam & Nicki, being the troopers that they are – and having taken their fair share of janky buses and trains around the world – were game.

Luckily several passengers got off at some of the earlier stops on the route, giving us the opportunity to spread out in separate rows for part of the night. Scott, Nicki & I all got a little sleep – about as good as you can expect on an over night bus where you have to consciously hold your body onto the seat to prevent yourself from rolling off when our Formula One bus driver would stop, go or turn. Adam got about 20 minutes max. His row was across from mine, and every time I would wake up (about every 10 minutes I think), all I saw was him sitting straight up with a slight look of panic on his face as he stared directly forward.

I was absolutely right – taking a bus gave us significantly more time in the city! In fact, thanks to our bus driver, we arrived way ahead of schedule, and a couple hours before the sun.

We were all a bit delirious when we rolled out of the bus around 6:30a.m. Especially me & Nicki – we were flat out comedians. Of course there was no public transportation at the time, so we hoofed it to our hotel in the dark. I think the only person more tired and inconvenienced than us was the guy who owns the hostel. He was clearly irritated to see us at such an early hour, but at least he let us store our luggage and told us to come back at 12:30. It was now about 7:00am on a Sunday.

We headed straight for the beach (our reason for coming here), and it was absolutely gorgeous. We weren’t the only ones that had that idea either… There were plenty of surfers out, as well as a handful of drunk people who never went home the night before. At least we had entertainment… and at the risk of sounding cheesy, we had each other. Seriously, there are not many people in the world that I would put through a near-sleepless over night bus adventure followed by a ½-day of exhausting nothingness, and expect them to not hate me at least a little bit. Scott and I regularly put ourselves in uncomfortable situations, but this is when you realize just how cool your friends are.

I honestly don’t know how we passed the next 5 ½ hours. I think we were sleep walking for part of it. Once 12:30 rolled around we headed back to the hotel for a little nap, then we were ready to go again.

The weather was partly cloudy, but a comfortable temperature and pretty good surf conditions, which was torture for Adam, because there are no surf shops open on Sunday to rent a board. So, we spent most of the day doing what people do in San Sebastian – sitting on the beach and going for walks along the beautiful coastline.

We planned to get up early the next morning so Adam could catch some waves, but when our alarm went off all I could hear was pouring rain. We snoozed another hour in hopes that it would pass, but no such luck. Now the surf shops were open, but nobody in their right mind was getting in the ocean, so a double-bummer. The good news is that the city was a lot livelier than it was on Sunday, so we took the opportunity to explore more of the town, the shops, and take some really long breaks in restaurants, bookstores and cafes.

Despite the fact that one of our primary reasons for coming here (surfing) didn’t happen, we still had a great time. San Sebastian is a beautiful town, and I loved the atmosphere. It has the perfect beach community blend of being laid back, yet active. There were lots of locals out running or cycling along the beach, and others taking a leisurely walk with the family. That’s part of what I love about San Diego, so I really enjoyed seeing a different twist on a similar lifestyle in Spain.

We headed back to Barcelona the next day, where the weather kept getting better & better, so we were able to fit in a couple of sunny beach days after all, including a day trip to Sitges. I think their vacation was as rejuvenating for us as it was for them. We have made lots of great friends in Barcelona, but this is the first time all year we have seen a familiar face from home. There’s something comforting about people who know where you came from, and will still be there when you get back.

As much as part of me is not looking forward to leaving Spain when our year is up, having them here reminded us that we love home too. We have no clue what we’re going to do when we go back, where we will live, what we will drive, etc., but friends & family take the edge off that fear and replace it with anticipation. Thanks for coming peeps! Miss you already.

Filed in Photo Gallery,Spain,Travels | Comments (2)

2 Responses to “San Sebastián, Spain”

  1. Peteron 10 Mar 2009 at 3:08 am

    Hi there, happened onto your blog while googling about overnight bus rides from Barcelona to San Sebastian. I won’t be there until October of this year, but I like to get the planning part out of the way as soon as I can. Might you be able to share any information regarding the bus ride? Such as which bus line? Travel time? Cost, and such? Also–did you take the overnight bus back to Barcelona?


  2. Karieon 13 Mar 2009 at 10:41 pm


    We used Vibasa and paid about 27 Euros each for the overnight bus. I don’t remember exactly how long it was… I think the trip was 10pm to 6am. The bus wasn’t crowded at all so we all got to sleep in our own rows, which was nice.

    To get back to Barcelona we took a bus from San Sebasitian to Bilbao (about 1-2 hours) then flew ClickAir back to Barcelona from there. Sometimes it can be just as cheap to fly as to take a bus. We just did a combination of the two b/c that’s what worked out best for us with price & schedule.

    Hope this helps. Enjoy your trip!

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