Monday, October 8, 2007

San Sebastian: rain, clouds, and sun!

This past weekend was full of many new sites and experiences. The morning started out with Caitlin and I calling Ben at 830am (when our bus left at 845) and asking him why the hell he wasnt at our apartment to walk to the bus station. We woke him up with the phone call..hung up and practically ran to the bus station. The funny thing is the night before Ben had wanted to meet us earlier then we suggested to meet up so we were early for our bus...yet he was the one that over slept. Caitlin and i got to the bus station and got our tickets. Somehow, someway Ben made it in time, got his ticket, and got on the bus! By car it takes about 4 hours to get to San Sebastian but we were taking the bus (a slow bus at that because its cheaper and has more stops) so it took 6.5 hrs.

When we finally arrived in San Sebastian it was dumping rain and we were dropped off at the bus station, but it had no informtion desk. It was not the same as the bus station that we left from in Oviedo. After ten minutes we finally got a cab and showed him the address to our hostel. He couldnt drop us off right in front of it so he took us close enough and we managed to find our way to the hostel. This was my first time staying in a hostel but Caitlin and Ben told me they are not usually like the one we stayed in. It literally was someones apartment that they decided to use two small rooms and make a hostel out of it! Caitlin and Ben said that hostels they had been to had big common areas, or hammocks outside, or even a pool on the roof...but this one was in an old couples house. Although it was an interesting experience, it wasnt too bad. The first night there were four beds in our room so there was another guy staying with us from New Zealand. He was friendly and talked to us for awhile. He told his employer that if he didnt get 4 months off this year he was going to quit (interesting huh?) He designs surf shops for Billabong (a surfing brand) which sounds like a pretty sweet job because he said he gets to travel all over. Right now this was part of his 4 months off and he had been all over including Aspen, Colorado. I asked him about our accents because naturally we think that people from Australia and New Zealand have cool accents, and he said we definatley have accents, but he doesnt know if people from where he is from are enthrawled by them.

Anyways, the first evening it was pouring rain and we werent much in the mood for exploring, soaking wet so we went to an irish pub and had coffee with baileys. We ended up walking around a little and retreating to our hostel. The bathrooms were microscopic and it was one of those times where i wished i had flipflops for the shower and my own towel, but i bucked up and survived.

The next day it wasnt rainy, just cloudy. Bén´s sister is traveling around the world with a friend for three months so they met up with us and we went to the aquarium. It was probably 1/10 the size of a normal aquarium and it was almost 10 dollars american, which was annoying because we didnt know it was that small, but the acquatic life was fun to see and it was still a good experience. After the aquarium we went down to the beach and walked around in the sand. It was a cloudy day but San Sebastian is definately a surf town and probably spectacular for laying out during the summers. We explored more of the city and took pictures...

After we returned to our hostel in the middle of the day I found that my bed was now a bunk bed that had expanded and a girl was sleeping beneath. Later when she woke up we all chatted with her and she is from Newyork and Puerto Rico, traveling all over. She told us many crazy stories and she definately has guts to be traveling all alone for so long. I know for sure i couldnt do it. The couple that owns the hostel brought us pumkin soup for a tasted nothing like pumkin, more like cheese soup, but i ate some anyways.

Our last day, Sunday, was amazing! Blue clear skies and it got warmer as the day went on. Our bus was scheduled to leave at 5pm but we tried to pack in a hike up to this tall statue of christ before we left. It wasnt too far and we thought that it would be nice to get a great view of san sebastian and the sea (we didnt really care about the statue of christ. no offense, but seriously i have seen enough crucified christs and i have only been here two weeks!) Surprisingly there was a museum, cemetary, cafe, and the big statue up the mountain side. It was a nice hike on gravel ground or steps all the way up. I have some amazing photos of the view and it was definatley the perfect day to go up there. I was so happy that we were able to experience one night day in San Sebastian before we left. After we hiked back down we went back to the beach and put our feet in the water. It wasnt cold at all and i wished we had more time because we brought our swim suits and everyone was out enjoying the sun!

At around 4:30pm we headed for the bus station and caught our bus. Not even an hour after we were on the bus we stopped an area on the side of the road after going through a toll spot. Another bus was pulled over and there were Civil Guard men all around with huge guns and uniforms. A man from the civil guard got on the bus and came to the back where i was sitting. He picked out a man that was literally sitting directly in front of my seat! He started looking through all of his stuff and asking him a bunch of questions. It was something i cant even describe because i have never experienced that before! They took the man off the bus and we were stopped for almost an hour. The civil guard came back on the bus several times and one time he came to the back and started to ask me a question. That was a moment where i knew it was smart to act like i knew very little spanish and pretend to act and look as american as possible. i told him i knew only a little spanish so he said ok. We asked the girl sitting near us if stuff like this happened often on the buses and she said NO, never. We determined they must have been looking for someone and this man may have fit the profile. After almost an hour they let him back on the bus and we were on our way. SO CRAZY! everything was fine the rest of the trip and the man got off at the next stop, but it was a surreal experience.

I feel weird ending on that note, but i have to go to class! ill add more soon. take care!


Nicole Ann said...

sounds like an exciting weekend! definitely some good experiences too. i want to see pictures!!

keep us updated! school, bars, friends, boys...come on girl!


Ima said...

Oh my gosh.. such experiences. I am less than two years away from 50 and I have never experienced what you described in this entry.
Guards getting on buses with guns, and beds turning from singles to bunks!. You bet that girl is brave traveling on her own especially if she is staying in a hostel and she leaves for the day and comes back and finds out she is sharing a room with some random person for that night or more!!!

I also have not been on a hike where you are lucky enough to visit a cafe, cemetary, a statue AND an amazing view!!!

Keep up the great descriptive entries. I love them and I love you!!!


Mirabelle said...

Well written article.