GOING SOMEWHERE: SAN SEBASTIAN
Exploring a beachy alternative to Barcelona, via skateboard.
You can get around San Sebastian a few different ways. The seaside town cradled by mountains and carved by ancient stone walls is easy to see on foot, bike, bus, car, or even on a Vespa - something we wanted to do, but couldn't figure out how to book.
This story was published on August 13, 2012.
Instead, we had a few longboards, which we used to curve across the well-worn boardwalks, down the main promenade, and onto the beginnings of narrow cobblestone streets that overlap like Converse sneaker laces across the town. (Yes, I fell a couple times. Yes, it hurt, but I got over it because almost everywhere in San Sebastian has gelato, espresso, and hard liquor.)
Along the way, here's what we discovered:
*A carousel from 1900, repainted with homages to the town's most famous visitors, including Toulouse Lautrec, Degas, and Matisse.
*A series of tapas bars interspaced with gelato stands (must try: the salted caramel flavor) that line the entire section of San Sebastian's "old town."
*Signs in Spanish and Basque, a nod to the region's rich folk heritage and multilingual residents.
*Sand the color of suntan lotion and ocean the color of sky - and yes, if you really want to, you can sunbathe with nothing on without getting arrested.
*Occasional panels of cracked glass allegedly smashed by loose Pamplona bulls on the run.
*Road signs to France (a 30 minute drive) and Bilbao (about 45 minutes).
Make sure you bring sunscreen, and your passport - after a few of the town's famous sangrias, you never quite know where you'll end up...