No, I will not be coming home this week BUT I did just finish my final weekend in San Sebastián. During the week I will still be here, finishing up my studies and tutoring a girl in English until I leave, but every weekend from here on out I have an adventure set up elsewhere! This upcoming weekend is incredibly exciting because my family will be meeting me in Madrid and then coming up to San Sebastián for a few days early next week. This is the longest I have ever gone without seeing my family so you could imagine I am STOKED. This past weekend was full of some local adventures with incredible views and lots of friends. Let’s get into it!
Friday morning I hopped on a bus with some friends and classmates to go on two local hikes, starting with the San Juan de Gaztelugatxe hike in Bermeo, otherwise knows as Dragonstone from Game of Thrones. I don’t watch Game of Thrones (and probably never will) but this hike was AMAZING. I highly recommend visiting the Basque coast to any hikers and adventurers out there. The scenery is phenomenal and extremely untouched in most cases. The island is connected by and old stone bridge that they keep up with yearly, and the church of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe resides atop the mountain-island combo. At the church there is a bell you can ring, and if you make a wish after the 3rd ring there is a legend that it will definitely come true. No spoiling my wish here but I’m hoping the story is true! It was an awesome experience to have with all of my friends and what a great way to kick off the weekend.
We then took the bus to Zurmaia to do another hike, a little bit shorter of a trek but my favorite of the two. In Zurmaia, you can see where the Iberian peninsula crashed into the rest of Europe millions of years ago. The rock formations show perfectly dated history, and include important information that helped date the dinosaur extinction and confirm the theory that a large space object probably caused the extinction. The views. were. insane. We literally got to the edge of the cliffs right as the sun was setting. There were surfers to one side of us in a secluded cove and a vast stretch of mountains, cliffs and ocean to the other. It made me want to go explore the entire world, there are some hidden, amazing things that not many people have seen! How lucky I am to have the opportunity to explore another continent and all the beauty it offers.
Saturday I headed out to the Basque countryside with my pal Sam to spend the day with her landlord. He is a cute little old man who speaks little to no English and carted us around his pueblo and the surrounding areas to see what the locals of the area spend their time doing. We explored a neat cave, had a snack with another incredible view and basically just had a relaxed day practicing our Spanish for hours on end with him. Our final destination of our day trip was a tiny pueblo with about four streets called Apodaka, which is the basque version of Sam’s last name! The day definitely put my language skills to the test, but he told me that I did very well! It was reassuring to hear from a local that I am improving my speaking and comprehension skills a lot since that was my main academic goal coming abroad. To end the day, he gave us each huge bags of freshly picked kiwis and apples from his own garden. I have yet to try a kiwi because they take a few days to ripen after being picked but I am sure they will be delicious! Exploring the Basque region where I live is one of my favorite things I have gotten to do since I have been here, and I am hoping to have time between classes during the weeks to continue my explorations.
I finished out the weekend with a trip to Bilbao and the Guggenheim. Bilbao is so much more different than San Sebastián than I thought it was going to be! So much more urban. The Guggenheim was a very fun experience, however I was a little underwhelmed. I wish I had gotten to see the second floor, which was under construction for the weekend. My roommate Grace and I had a yummy lunch before at a local cafe as well. All in all it was a wonderful weekend here in el País Vasco!
I’m going to keep this post pretty brief since I have a lot to do to get ready for Madrid and my family to arrive here. I am so beyond excited to see them!!! (also as a side note I just booked a ticket to sky dive in Interlaken, Switzerland in an upcoming weekend. THE COUNTDOWN BEGINS!)
I hope everyone has an amazing Thanksgiving weekend! I am so lucky to get to spend mine with my family 🙂