Sunday, March 18, 2007

San Sebastián (3/16 to 3/18)

I stopped here to break up the long Paris-Lisbon train ride. The hostel which I stayed at was great, except for it´s proximity to the local church which rings it’s out of tune bells every half hour, day and night (luckily, I packed ear plugs for my trip).

The city is contained in a small area, but densely packed and lively at all hours. The bar snacks here are filling, cheap, and delicious, a dangerous combination if you’re trying to eat healthy while travelling. When I first arrived I was intimidated by the bar/restaurant scene, since I was unsure of how to order, whether to stand at the bar or sit at a table, and how to pay for the meal. Unlike restaurants in the states, you order drinks and food continuously and it’s on your honor to tell the wait staff what you owe at the end of the meal. Luckily, the bartenders and waiters are tolerant of ignorant tourists like myself and were helpful in directing me on the customs despite the language barrier (I only know a few Spanish phrases, and most people here don’t speak English).

The hostel was booked solid last night, due to a rowdy group of about 30 English visiting to celebrate a 30th birthday. I can now say I’ve witnessed hard drug use, which they used excessively in the hostel’s common areas. The birthday boy claimed it was the last night he was going to use drugs, but I doubt his commitment to that claim based on the amount of his consumption last night.

I accidentally ordered a whole bottle of wine with my lunch (I thought that at 6 euros I would get a glass!), and ended up exceeding my expectations by polishing off almost 2/3´rds of it over the 3 course meal. Needless to say, I was quite tipsy by the time the bill arrived and I spent the afternoon walking it off, contemplating whether I can extend my trip another month- I am supposed to start work, and file my taxes, but I’m not sure when I’ll be in Europe again so the prospect of staying is quite attractive right now.

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