A Week in Spain: San Sebastian + Madrid

27 August

No matter what time of day, San Sebastian’s beach cove was incredibly beautiful. I can’t imagine this view ever getting old. We had a couple of days to spend there and were excited to have some beach/relaxation time after so much exploring in France. When we trained in from Bordeaux it was in the early evening, so we jumped right into pintxos mode and headed out to the old town. We heard rave reviews about the food there, so we were excited to check out some spots. Every restaurant down the alleyways had food repleting the bar — culinary small bites, so you could grab a plate, pick whichever pintxos you’d like, grab a glass of wine, and they charge you per plate.

We would just tapas crawl from place to place until we were full. Lucky for us, we had many recommended spots to try, which we conquered all. It was such a fun and unique experience, completely different than what I expected (in a good way). The next day was gorgeous so we spent most of the time in the sun — beach, lunch waterside, and then finished the afternoon by our hotel pool. Such a relaxing portion of our trip and it was nice because after a lot of wine and cheese indulging, San Sebastian was definitely a walk-everywhere town, so it was nice to get some exercise. The next day sadly started to rain, so we wandered around and explored shops, but decided to cut our time there short and booked a train for the following afternoon to Madrid. We had the best time — I just wish it wouldn’t have rained.

Here are a few of our favorite spots in San Sebastian: La CucharaAtari Gastroteka, and La Vina had the most insane cheesecake. ever. If you are in San Sebastian, these 3 places were most definitely our favorites by far.

We arrived in Madrid the evening we left San Sebastian and found a hotel that was right amidst all of the cafe action. We spent our first night there sitting outside people watching (taking me right back to Paris, where I felt like I belonged), and called it a night. We had originally booked our flights out of Madrid and were planning to only have 1 night there, but since the rain caused us to head in sooner, we had 2 full days to relax before our flight home. We were a bit tired at this point in the trip, so we didn’t have too many set plans. The city was really pretty, we went and passed by a lot of the touristy type stuff like the Palace, and we wandered through some of their markets which was fun to see.

My favorite part of Madrid was the discovery of 2 amazing restaurants. Equal parts, amazing interior / delicious food. Which, if you know me, this is important (haha). Matt discovered the first one on a local food blog called Frida, and the second one was called El Imparcial. So delicious and SO beautiful! Frida had a very California Cuisine menu, photos above with the palm leaf wallpaper! El Imparcial was seriously stunning, every inch of that place was eye-candy. The photos of the lavish emerald velvet booths, nude/peach distressed walls, chandeliers strung throughout, and floral arrangements atop every table — just perfect. The food was delicious too, and also reminded me of restaurants you would find in SF.  I highly recommend them both if you’re in Madrid, they were so so good.

Our trip was such an amazing experience, I cannot wait to get back to Europe again soon. Next up on my list: Italy! x

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