Sorry for the long absence! I took a bit of a break from blogging last week because my sister came to visit us for a week and then I got sick (which is super fun when you're seven months pregnant and can't take any medication!). But I'm back now and ready to fill you guys in on everything the Professor and I have been up to.
First of all, while my sister was visiting us last week, we decided to take a mini road trip to the Basque country, a few hours north of Barcelona. The pictures above are from one of the most beautiful cities I have ever visited, San Sebastian. I'm a sucker for mountains and lush green landscapes and in addition to having these things in spades, San Sebastian also has a very scenic beach with colorful old houses dotting the coast. I wish these pictures did it justice but unfortunately I'm still sporting a point and shoot camera :/.
If you plan to visit San Sebastian, I have a few recommendations for you. The Monte Urgull is definitely worth a visit. You have to hike up quite a ways to get to the top but the views of the city from that high up are definitely worth it. I would advise you to bring a lunch because while there are cafes and bars on the mountain where you can grab a quick snack, the food is not great and is overpriced. Plus if you bring a lunch, you can have a wonderful picnic on the grass looking out over the city. I would also definitely visit the Parte Vieja of the city. Not only is it worth it to walk down these old streets and pop into different small shops, there is also some really good eating to be done here.
San Sebastian is famous for its pintxos (pronounced pin-chos), which are tiny tapas with a toothpick stuck in the middle. They can be of anything: meat, fish, seafood, egg dishes, vegetables, etc. When you walk into a pintxos bar, you will see an assortment of pintxos running the length of the countertop. There is normally no seating at a pintxos bar so don't expect to be waited on. To order, go up to the counter, point to a variety of different pintxos that look good to you (if you're big eaters, I would say order 15-20 different ones for a group of 4 people), and the chef will heat them up, dress them up fancy, and you'll pick them up from the counter when they're done. Once you have your food, order your beer or wine (or in my case fruit juice :) and make your way to a "table". I'm using the word table here pretty loosely. Sometimes, you will find an actual table at bar height with no bar stools. You're meant to just eat standing up and walk back and forth between your table and the counter to order more things. Other times, your "table" will be a wine barrel that you'll have to hover over, again not sitting down. There are two pintxos bars I would recommend in particular: Astelana and La Vina. At La Vina, definitely order the cheesecake. It's not American styled cheesecake but it's light, smooth, creamy and not overly sweet. Plus, you'll see that cheesecake flying out of the oven and onto plates more than any other dish La Vina serves--it's that popular. Below are some pics of our favorite pintxos at Astelana.
Not too shabby, eh? :)