San Sebastian Trip Report

Sep 23rd, 2009, 01:55 PM
  #21  
 
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yestravel, but you sit in judgement of other things -- which you dismiss as "just" observations and seen through one's own prism.

But maybe they are perceptive observations, and observations are all we have -- shallow or informed.

Nobody is stopping Americans from dashing about "hitting" this town and that and looking for fast sensation. But why the need to jump in to imply, even assert, you are more virtuous for not passing judgment about the behavior? There actually *is* something wrong with it -- or is that just out of your worldview?
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Sep 23rd, 2009, 02:21 PM
  #22  
 
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Zeppole, sure I judge lots of things and have lots of opinions. And yes, observations and perception are all we have. Did u go to Friuli-VG? I remember u were interested in it after I had returned this past Spring.
yestravel is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2009, 03:31 PM
  #23  
 
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Egbert, thank you for your trip report. I am actually in the process of buying tickets for our trip to northern Spain next year. I have a tendency to try to see as much as possible and it tends to drive my partner crazy! Here is my proposed itinerary for our trip:

Arrive in Santiago de Compostela from Miami May 7, overnight 7th, 8th and 9th in that city.

Drive to Leon and overnight 10th and 11th.

Drive to Cosgaya for 12 and 13 and tour Picos de Europa.
The 14th and 15th will be in Ribadesella to tour the coast towards the east.

The 16th 17th and 18th in Santillana del Mar to tour Comillas, caves, coast, ect.

20th, 21st and 22nd in San Sebastian now turning in car

Lastly bus to Bilbao for 22nd and 23rd before our departure from the Bilbao Airport the 24th.

I have agonized over this itinerary. Is it too much? We love museums, architecture, nature and all aspects of travel. I like to drive and explore and my partner is a good navigator and speaks fluent Spanish. Any suggestions from you learned Fodorites?
InMiami is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2009, 06:41 PM
  #24  
 
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I love your itinerary! The only thing I would get a bit tired of is checking in and out of places so often (although I have done it). Do you already know where you are staying?
cruiseluv is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2009, 08:26 PM
  #25  
 
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Egbert, thank you for your enthusiastic TR. I, for one, appreciate your budget-consciousness...and I'm sure there are many others who eschew $300 dinners, for having fun, beer and tapas in old town SS..

Zeppole hit it squarely on the noggin when she wrote the following, and I wholeheartedly agree!

I still would prefer to eat tapas in the old town, even if I were a multi-millionaire.

By the way, maybe Maribel can chime in...why do most people staying in Bilbao, Santander or SS, and everywhere in between, seem to ignore El Bosque Pintado...the painted forest of Oma? We found it to be genuinely and uniquely intriguing and a fine place to stroll or rest in a utterly tranquil setting.

Here are some scanned pix..just click on magnifying glass icon and move the mouse to move the pix accordingly. The venerable 79-year old Basque artist, Agustin Ibarrola, has given the world various works of interesting art, including the forest. We first came across Ibarrola and his forest project in an obscure art magazine just before one of our visits to Basque country..it was a find.

http://picasaweb.google.com/stuartto...ForestOfSpain#

InMiami, think about visiting on your upcoming trip. Maribel can give you precise directions...if not, in a pinch, I'll try my best to recall. By now, I'm sure the guide books have a sizeable mention and directions...not so back about 10 years.

Stu Tower [email protected]
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Sep 23rd, 2009, 08:38 PM
  #26  
 
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yestravel;

The above painted forest suggestion is meant for your trip as well as InMiami's....sorry to have left you out..it's located just a few kms. north of Picasso's famed Gernika, between Bilbao and SS..

stu
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Sep 24th, 2009, 12:54 AM
  #27  
 
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yestravel,

I'm still looking for a time frame for that trip, and imagine I won't find one until well into next year. Immediately on the travel agenda is parts of Emilia-Romagna and Lombardia that I haven't visited -- and even some recesses of Liguria, away from the coast -- but all this talk of San Sebastian makes me miss it so!
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Sep 24th, 2009, 12:55 AM
  #28  
 
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tower, did you notice that around the Painted Forest there were no guides, no souvenir shops, no fast food restaurants, no tours....for some reason, either we don´t want to or we don´t know how to promote tourism in the Basque Country. In any case, for those coming, you´ll find so many unspoilt spots that the visit will be much worth it.

In the area, can´t miss Lekeitio, a charming fishing town with three beaches, a stunning XVI century gothic church and a unique retable, an island, a spa hotel on top of the beach with a great daily menu, and totally unspoilt by tourism (yet). And where Basque is widely spoken.

Another spot is San Juan de Gaztelugatxe (google), unique.

Another point of interest near Bilbao is the Hanging Bridge, www.puente-colgante.com, World Heritage Monument, used widely by locals, a 110 year old hanging bridge, unique.

Or the biggest Rolls Royce collection in the world, www.torreloizaga.com, in a beautiful valley, where the owner shows you personally his incredible collection of luxury cars, all in perfect condition.
mikelg is offline  
Sep 24th, 2009, 05:51 AM
  #29  
 
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This thread is great -- thanks 4 all the wonderful suggestions. I havent really begun to reserach this part of our Spring trip and these sound like great ideas to check out! Stu, your pictures are incredible and the painted forest looks like a definite stop.
yestravel is offline  
Sep 24th, 2009, 06:04 AM
  #30  
 
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yestravel, see this photo gallery
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...e-internet.cfm
Revulgo is offline  
Sep 24th, 2009, 07:24 AM
  #31  
 
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Mike:

tower, did you notice that around the Painted Forest there were no guides, no souvenir shops, no fast food restaurants, no tours....for some reason, either we don´t want to or we don´t know how to promote tourism in the Basque Country. In any case, for those coming, you´ll find so many unspoilt spots that the visit will be much worth it.

Yes, Mike, not only did we notice this, and begin to wonder if we were on the right dirt road because of the lack of any cars thereof...but, we were the ONLY two people in the forest for over an hour. On the way back to our car we met a lone German photographer with tripod. He, too, was afraid he had taken a wrong turn somewhere.

stu (Revulgo, great list and photos..thanks)
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Sep 24th, 2009, 07:49 AM
  #32  
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inmiami that sounds like an amazing trip. You should make your own post to get some feedback from more experts as I've only been to SS and Bilbao. I might take one night off Bilbao and add one to San Sebastian though.
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Sep 24th, 2009, 07:57 AM
  #33  
 
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tower, and FREE!!

imagine the Painted Forest in the US...

Mikel
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Sep 24th, 2009, 03:46 PM
  #34  
 
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mike...."DisneyLand with Trees"
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Sep 24th, 2009, 08:32 PM
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OK, I will repost. Thanks to all and Egbert I loved your report, now I am excited about the coming trip!
InMiami is offline  
Sep 25th, 2009, 06:07 AM
  #36  
 
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zeppole on Sep 23, 09 at 11:26 AM
>>and only Americans are like this???<<
No, but they've made themselves outstanding for the large numbers who behave like this, in contrast with other cultures.

Cultural observations of tourist behavior are valid and possible. Americans -- by and large -- have a habit of taking great umbrage at any assertion that they might have a unified culture, and shared mindset, and aren't all rootin' tootin' one-of-a-kind, broke the mold individuals. They are kind of like the people who listen to Jesus in Monty Python's Life of Brian, who turn every new thought into something familiar, and the opposite of what was said."

zeppole: Do you have any statistics to back up your statements, or just your personal observations and prejudices?

I work with an idiot who doesn't like black people. Every time she sees a black person do something bad, wrong, or stupid she points it out as supporting her prejudice. Of course she ignores the many more black people she encounters every day who don't do anything bad, wrong, or stupid.
Paul1950 is offline  
Sep 25th, 2009, 11:09 AM
  #37  
 
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"In fact San Sebastian may have surpassed Seville and Granada as my favorite small city on the planet." Could not agree more. See my thoughts at marshlands.blogstream.com. I also agree that Bilbao gets a bad rap as "industrial". It does have a lot of industry but the downtown area I found to be pretty cosmopolitan.

Take note of Mikelg's advice re Leiketio - on his recommendation I spent a wonderful weekend there a couple of years ago. It does seem untouched and the food is terrific, but then it is only about 75 feet from boat to restaurant.

If you are looking for travel agent advice or help in the Basque Country, try TotallySpain.com. Located near Bilbao, it's their home territory.
weber6560 is offline  
Sep 28th, 2009, 12:10 AM
  #38  
 
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The owner of the Rolls Royce museum died this weekend at 77, he was the one in charge of keeping the cars in running condition, sold tickets as well and showed his cars. Hopefully, the exhibition will remain open.
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Feb 11th, 2010, 06:43 PM
  #39  
 
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I enjoyed reading your trip report. We are going to this area for a wedding in July. I have been to Spain several times but always sought of Madrid.... Cant wai!!!
annesherrod is offline  
Feb 11th, 2010, 08:38 PM
  #40  
 
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And the thread goes on! My last post was 8 months ago. To the point [well taken] that Americans want to do 9 cities in 7 days]. In looking at my own behavior, I have come to the conclusion that I cannot truly enjoy an area until my second trip. The first trip is to cover as much area as possible and get a taste. It is on the second and later trips that I camp for a couple of weeks, hit the busses, and only then begin to get a feel for where I am. Some folks would say this results in a narrow view of the world - "you've never been to Tacostan?". While true, I have a better understanding of where I HAVE been. It's the second trip that is important.

BTW: If Mikelg says do it - do it!
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