My dream trip to Donostia San Sebastian

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The trip
The reason my camper and I went to Spain was too visit Donostia San Sebastian, since getting my Pattys wagon in 2012 it had been my great wish. The opportunity arrived when a friend of mine said he wanted to go and have a look around in Portugal with the idea of maybe buying a place there.
First via great friends in the Gers, where Jan made the best Paella I have ever tasted



Then San Sebastian where I stayed in a super camping in Zarautz, from where it was a short train journey to san Sebastian.

The first disappointment was DOGS, little Jolly was not welcome in bars or hotels, infact in Portugal there is a law forbidding our wonderful four footers.
Then to Burgos with a stop in Bilbao, fortunately Larry looked after Jolly so I could have LOOK AROUND THE GUGGENHEIM MUSEM INSIDE AS WELL AS OUTSIDE. Which is in itself stunning.

Having an invalid parking card enabled us to park quite nearby, most public parking’s in cities are underground and camper van fool proof!!! Moral is – Don’t take it into cities, we did several times.
Then to Burgos, I slept on the street and my companion in a nearby hotel and to our surprise we witnessed the Palm Sunday parade. As we did later that day in a small mountain village near Salamanca, but this time with a clamp on the camper. Very Klu Klux Clan style

Our next stop was 2 days rest at
Belonging to friends of Frank van Tunen. It was super and as a special treat as it was not busy I even could park up Pattys Wagon.
We had a wonderful time there with the most beautiful surroundings and a wonderful host and hostess, Karin and Jan, not to mention their help a man of all trades, who made a most wonderful diner of a goat they had received, the day before, from the shepherd, who grazes his sheep on their land.

Fantastic and in such a place. This photo was taken the night before whilst we where eating out in a local restaurant, clams and ink fish of course.

From here to Lisbon or should I say Cascais, which was originally a fishing village but is now a very fashionable summer resort a train ride from Lisbon, but Easter is not such a good idea, especially not having booked a hotel in advance.
So I have still to do a city weekend one day like Rick Stein does.
After a day in Cascais we moved up the coast, passing through Sintra on the and stopping overnight in a small seaside towns, which is when we heard that all the Spanish and Portuguese go to the coast at Easter.
At least I was in good company when I parked up for the night under the road bridge in Aveiro an old salt village near Porto
After Porto we decided to cut our trip short and not go along the North coast, I will save that for another time. Our next stop was Leon, which we reached on a scenic ride through Chavas over the mountains.
Here by luck I found a small auberge used by pilgrims and we had a very interesting evening, sharing their simple meal for 10 euros and hearing of their experiences, makes you think

Two Canadian ladies of 60 years had already walked 19 days from Burgos and where treating themselves in a Parador for 1 night as one was sixty that week.
Special Camino de Santiago Pilgrims’ Rate
They got 15% of the price
The next morning the pilgrims where of early and we saw them on the road, whilst drinking our coffee and munching on our chocolate croissant.
And we sped through the French Countryside to Amsterdam.
arrived home to see my cherry blossom in flower and my bulbs still blooming, as I write this the Wisteria is showing its full glory as it did on 7 th May 1980 at the official opening party of La Cuisine Française Amsterdam
The food
Rick Stein said that tapas they originated in Seville, who knows, and that the Spanish cuisine is earthier.
I tasted some lovely Pintxo, preferably from the blackboard in the café rather than from the long buffet at the bar, which by the way looked fantastic.
I also got very good at eavesdropping the culinary guides taking the hotel guests on Pintxos crawl…and then I tried to order what they had ordered.

Though I must admit some of the bars with a huge array of Pintxos on show where amazing to look at. Though I am not really a buffet person, I think I have done too much catering for that, where everyone grabs and piles their plates high, though I must admit in Portugal they counted the plates contents before you ate it.
We visited several bars which had been recommended to me all having a different
Approach. One was specialised in anchovies called TXep.., the other the most modern of them all Zeroux they say, there I had a most beautiful Urchin,
then a super small place full of locals at at lunch time , a pity I could not understand the board well enough so I took pot luck and it was delicious,
I smuggled Jolly my Dachshund in there , but she was seen quite quickly, fortunately we where allowed to stay

For the rest it was not so culinary as I had expected as I say Camper life is different and dogs have their limitations
More knowledge of local restaurants is needed as we found in Coimbra where our host taxied us to a local café behind the petrol pump, and I found my Amejas ,
or in the big culinary hots spots a local foodie (guide) is even better as the bars even if you have the name are difficult to find
I will post some photos on my blog and see if I can give recipes for you
As I said my best food was Jans’ Paella in the Gers
Now in Holland touring with the camper and preparing for the Finland Trip

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