San Sebastian: From Tapas to Pintxos

After a lovely relaxing break in Sitges, we once again packed our bags, trundled up to the train station and caught a train cross country to San Sebastian.  This was another six hour train ride zigzagging across the plains and mountains of the country. The scenery was ever changing and we even got to stop at Pamplona. We didn’t see any bulls, though.

Finally we arrived at San Sebastian, where we waited and waited for a taxi to take us to our Air BNB apartment. In the end we gave up and walked. It only took us 20 minutes, even dragging our bags and it was nice to stretch our legs.

Our apartment was a huge, top floor apartment with a tiny lift and an amazing view of the Urumea river and Zurriola beach. I spent hours reading beside the window, while listening to the waves roll up the river.

Urumea river and Zurriola beach
As you can see, the beach was a popular one. We had obviously been spoilt during our time in Sitges as I found it impossible to keep an eye on four kids while they were swimming at this beach.

Zurriola has some good surf and the waves were quite large with the ‘right’ wind.  There are separate areas for surfers and swimmers so it’s probably safe enough, but I didn’t find it very enjoyable. The kids loved it though and went out with buckets trying to catch fish and crabs. They did come back with one small amputee crab that I then freaked them out with by showing them how to pick it up. Who knew that such a skill would one day be used to terrify my offspring?

crab
There are calmer beaches in Concha bay, to the south, but these were also very busy. They did have some rock pools at the end near the Aquarium, where there were crabs and small fish waiting to be caught.

And further along the beach we found a lovely playground, Alderdi Eder, complete with shady seats and a gorgeous carousel. The older two were a bit meh about this, but it was a ‘must do’ for DD3 and DS. They spent ages deciding what they were going to ride on. DS chose an airplane and DD went for a cat.

Carousel in San Sebastian

We spent quite a lot of time wandering around San Sebastian, exploring and looking for places to eat. Again DH had visions of us roaming from bar to bar, eating a pintxos from this bar and that as we moved happily between establishments. Sadly for him, this was not to be.

Our children are varied in their fussiness, so catering for all of them with pintxos proved to be impossible. We ate at a place like the one pictured below just once. It involved hysteria from DD3 ( she didn’t like the hams hung behind the counter and won’t eat chicken), disgust from the other two DDs ( they won’t eat seafood or tomatoes), flat out refusal from DS ( if it’s not a burger or a pizza he won’t eat it), but we had lunch there anyhow.

Pintxos bar San Sebastian

It was all very tasty but it was hard to enjoy the food with the kids looking so disgruntled next to us. From then on we stuck to Italian restaurants. We may have to wait until the kids leave home before we can experiment gastronomically on holiday.

The weather was pretty good when we were in San Sebastian, but we had one wet day and used it to visit the aquarium. It was very busy but the line moved quickly and we were soon inside. We’ve seen a lot of aquariums as a family but this one was quite interesting as half of it is in the form of a museum of local fishing and naval history.

The aquarium itself was compact but informative and the kids especially liked the touch pool and the shark tunnel. ( NB These are NOT linked)

touch pool San Sebastian aquarium

All in all, we had a fairly relaxed time in San Sebastian. There is plenty to do with kids, and we had no trouble finding food for them. We loved the accommodation and would like to have stayed longer. But by now we were on the homeward stretch and were heading back to France, to stay in Paris for three nights.