Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Outstanding Out-of-Towners (Part 2)

For their first offical day in San Sebastian, we decided to wander around so they could get a lay of the land, and plus it was quite sunny!  I woke up and headed over early in the morning to have the morning coffee with them along with some breakfast.  The apartment had served them well for the first night and Grammy even slept so well she wasn't awake when I arrived!  After years and years of Grammy waking me up, I had the pleasure of waking her up 'Grammmmmmmy' :)  I bet she didn't expect that!

Cathy on the other hand had been up for hours and was hustling all around the apartment to get the breakfast ready!  Turns out I am the only one who takes sugar with her coffee, but they love me anyways. 

When they got around we headed out to Cathy's favorite little breakfast spot that we went to last time she was here - Barrentxe, a little bakery in the Plaza Gipuzkoa.  On the way we passed so much beauty that a walk that normally takes 10 minutes took oh so much longer!  You can't possibly pass the Buen Pastor church with its spire to the sky and not stop to admire it and go in to see if it is as pretty from the inside as out - which it is. 

Each street was lined with trees bursting with white flowers and sometimes with a slight gust of wind a sheet of petals would dance to the ground as we walked.  If the petals weren't falling they were just so beautiful that they deserved a photo as they stood out against the tan sandstone buildings.  The rod-iron balconies each with a different design, the flowers hanging out the flower boxes, the well-dressed ladies strutting by - each thing was worthy of a look and exciting for eyes that were new to the city.

We made it to the bakery but then ran into a problem - with many different types of baked on site each day and tasty plates of croissants, chocolate treats and breakfast muffins and rolls, it was tough to decide what to eat!  Eventually we sat down with our yummy breakfast and our cafĂ© con leche to wake up right. 

Being Easter week the windows and display cases were stuffed with choclate bunnies and delictable eggs, although Mr. Easter Bunny himself doesn't really play part in the religious way that the locals celerbate the holiday.  It appealed to the American in us though!

We continued our strolling, always making sure to look up from time to time to appreciate the old-style beauty of the buildings - their cornices, balconies, stone-work, flowers and more.  Being a weekday morning, the outdoor farmer's market was in full-swing.  Walking onto the Boulevard, the main drag, Cathy and Grammy were able to recognize where we were and that we had been there the night before chomping down on pintxos.  This time instead of artistic snacks on bread we were able to stare at the bright colors of the fresh veggies that graced the tables.  From strange shaped tomatoes to eggs that were stacked many cartons high, they were able to see the city in action. 
 While greens make a good meal we couldn't miss checking out the fish market where massive entire fish are laid out - octopus, crab, live lobsters, monkfish, shrimp, the works - all there for your eyes to feast on!  Drastically different from the fresh food fair we had been seeing, they were incredibly shocked at the frozen food store.  We are not talking frozen food like TV dinners or anything, because this place really just has food, but it's frozen.  Do you want a half a pound of frozen peas?  Well, here you can just scoop them up like the bulk section of American grocery stores.  How about some chopped onions?  Ready for the taking too!  They were shocked and had never seen such a thing which gave me a good chuckle as it is something I have become used to.

Wandering up and down the pedestrian streets of the Old Part we passed many a pintxo bar, gorgeous houses, cute clothing shops, meat markets, my first apartment (which warranted a photo), the main plaza and more.  We continued our destinationless walking, also known as the Basque Stroll, throughout town gazing left and right.  We made it all the way to the port and walked along the Concha Beach when we realized a few miles for the first day was probably enough and headed to the grocery store to get them supplies for the week to come. 
Shopping in a foreign country is always a hoot - not understanding what you're buying, purchasing soley based on the photo on the box, getting lost in the store - those are all parts of the intial shopping trip!  Grammy and Cathy were quite experts though and we got their stuff along with a few bottles of must-needed wine to stock the shelves and headed back to the apartment. 

They were able to put thier feet up for a few hours and then Joseba dropped by after work and picked them up so they could come and see our home!  Grammy had been pretty excited to see where we live our life, so even the entry to our main door was a treat for her.  Little did she know, Chef Joseba had a lot of treats up his sleeve.  What they really got a kick out of though in our building was the interior clothes hanging area.  Obvioiusly not something we have at home, I guess it is kind of funny to look out your window and see your neighbor's undies!  Ask either one of them about it and they will probably start laughing. 
After the grand tour of our little apartment we patiently waited for our scrumptous meal and entertained ourselves with Skype calls to the fam, photo book looking and some wine.  Joseba pulled out all the stops - chorizo pintxos, spanish ham and later a massive salad with the works - turkey, cheese, tomatoes, and even...sea snakes!  Grammy ate them without a word!  And the best is that she thought they were tasty!  I only told her what they were after she had eaten them but when I started to explain, she already knew - she's a quick one! 

We also nibbled on some Basque cheese and membrillo to finish the meal off nicely.  When 1 o'clock rolled around, Grammy couldn't believe she was burning the midnight oil and seeing as it was only thier first day we thought we'd let them get some rest because the following day was going to be an important one - meeting the fam! 

More to come soon!  Muxu!

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