POSTED ON October 4, 2007 | IN Spain's Wine Country | BY joe

We have arrived in the northeast city of San Sebastian/Donostia. Since San Sebastian is in Basque country, like all city names, it has its Spanish version and its Basque version (Donostia). We have rented a four-bedroom apartment with easy access to the beach and the old part of town. Our apartment has a full kitchen and a comfortable living room. We will be spending four full days here relaxing and dining. The weather is not the greatest with days partly cloudy and some rain. The temperature is in the 70’s and it is quite humid.

The main attractions in San Sebastian are the bay and its beach. This is vacationland for many Spaniards who come from southern Spain to escape the summer heat. It first became popular when the Spanish queen took her summers here in the late 1800’s. Her summer palace here has been converted into City Hall. The beach view from our rooftop patio is magnificent.

Within easy walking distance of our apartment we find a huge supermercado where we can buy all we need for breakfast, appetizers, and a nice variety of wine. We find panderias, produce markets, and fish and seafood stands where farmers sell their goods.

This part of town is very expensive. The shops are upscale and pricey. With the dollar weak, the price of items is quite expensive. The best deals for us are the food and the wine.

As far as wine, there is a tradition in San Sebastian with their local Txakoli (cha ko’ lee) wine. This wine comes from vineyards in the surrounding Basque land. It is a dry white wine, with slight acidity and a bit of effervescence. The bartenders serve the wine into Txaloli glasses, almost the size of traditional beer glasses. There is a pourer that has a flap on it, and the wine is poured from at least three feet high to further aerate the wine. Very interesting.

Tomorrow we plan to visit the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao.

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