Next stop, San Sebastian! I had heard many good things about San Sebastian, and I was very pleased with my visit there. San Sebastian or Donostia, is a coastal town on La Concha Bay, with the River Urumea splitting the town in half.
Leaving the train station, I crossed the Puente de Maria Cristina Bridge with four monumental obelisks, located at its ends, copies of the Alexander III bridge in Paris, crowned by sculptures.
After checking in, I headed out to explore and familiarize myself with the town. I came upon a nice and unique plaza
right in front of the San Sebastian Ayuntamiento, which is actually City Hall.
This was right off the beach. La Concha beach was beautiful.
After enjoying the view of the beach, I continued on, which lead me to the Basilica Santa Maria.
As I wondered through the “Old Town”, I came across another church, although at the time I didn’t know which one it was. I later discovered it was the Church of Saint Vincent.
As I continued walking the town, I came across Constitucion Square, which has been used for Bullfighting in the older days, and is currently used for major city events.
Working my way back to my hotel, I ran across a lovely park. It was the Guipuzcoa Park or Plaza de Guipuzcoa. Very peaceful.
One of my reasons for a stop here in San Sebastian was an adventure I was told about, a hike from Zumaia
to Deba, along the coastline, for approximately 8.37 miles, if you make all the correct turns!
I took a train from San Sebastian over to Zumaia. It was a cool foggy morning.
After picking up a trail map and some rations, I was off and running.
You climb up a hill to a small old church for the start of the trail. It jettisons out to the end of a thin ridge high above the water. What a view!
The path leads down the ridge, along the coastline, and into the country-side.
There were beautiful farms, fields of sheep or ponies, and fantastic views all around!
The trail I chose is marked in Red and White (R/W). There was another trail following along marked in Yellow (Y).
When I got to the small, make that a very small town of Elorriaga, there was a sign with 7 or 8 different arrows providing directions, none where for the R/W trail, so I continued down the road about ¾ of a mile. At that point I had seen 2 (Y) arrows and no (R/W) markers, so I headed back up the hill, back to Elorriaga. Coming from this direction, I saw the R/W marker behind the original set of signs. It pointed me down what I will call an alleyway. This separated me from any other hikers. I saw several hikers going downhill, down the road, on my way back up to the little town, but I didn’t see anyone else on the R/W trail the rest of the hike.
A little ways down the trail I came to a pasture with a sign on the gate showing a body being thrown by a bull, and guess what, the bull was laying at the next gate. There I was with my burnt orange jacket and my “red” backpack. The bull stared me down, but never got up, thankfully. (-: I don’t know why I didn’t get a picture.
There were many hills or mini-mountains, and miles of trail to be had on this journey.
I finally came around a bend, and the coast was right in front of me.
One of the reasons for taking this trail was to see the rock/Flysch formations on the coast.
Flysch is a sequence of sedimentary rocks that is deposited in a deep marine facies in the foreland basin of a developing orogen. I stole this from Wikipedia. I guess I could ask my youngest daughter the geologist to put it in layman’s terms! (-:
As I sat down to take a quick break, and snack on my rations, I heard a bell, and a heard of sheep were rolling in.
On up and over the hill, to the next wrong turn. Seeing a trail with a R/W marker, I headed up a cliff. It was very steep. I came to a part where the fence was missing. By now, I had figured out it was an animal trail, or old trail, very narrow and too close to the edge.
Continuing on down the trail.
After correcting myself and getting back on the right path, I was on the last leg of the hike. Somewhere around 1.5 miles from Deba, I thought I was following the R/W trail, but once again the markers disappeared about the time I got to the bottom of the hill.
Once more, back up the hill, correction made. My engine was just about out of gas. I passed an old rundown church that I didn’t even get a picture of as I was too tired to walk up, around, and in front of it to get a picture. I regret that.
I finally finished and headed for the Deba local train station to ride back to San Sebastian.
The next day it was raining off and on all day, and rather cool, but I still had a few things on my list to see. In some of the pictures already shown, you may have seen a statue on a hill in the background. That is the Jesus Statue on top of the Castillo De La Mota. The Chateau sits on top of Monte Urgull.
You can tell that the Castillo De La Mota was quite a fortress in its time, going back to the 12th Century.
Walking the Castle you can still see the cannons and the arrow slits used to defend it.
Walking this “Monte” is fun, and quite impressive. Be sure to check out Monte Urgull if you go to San Sebastian. From the hilltop, you have a good view of the other beach in San Sebastian.
As I worked my way down from Monte Urgull, I came out right at the San Telmo Museum. The building was originally a convent of Dominican friars, built around 1562. The friars were expelled in 1836, and the building was used as an artillery barracks. Around 1902 it became a museum devoted to illustrate the evolution of the society Basque.
A couple of other sites to take in while in San Sebastian:
My time ended quickly, as it has in most cities. It was time to return to Madrid, but I enjoyed every minutes of San Sebastian/Donostia.