San Sebastian and Mundaka

After Biarritz, it felt great to have an apartment lined up for San Sebastian thanks to Airbnb. We cruised into our first Spanish city with ease and settled into a very cool apartment in a building just a few blocks from the beach. Our host turned out to be the owner of a surf shop on the boardwalk, which worked out well because we were able to rent a surfboard for a discounted price. For a city beach it’s gorgeous but crowded, as you could imagine. The waves were great and the sun was shining, so we were perfectly entertained for our two-day stay.

After another (relatively) big city, we thought we’d try a smaller town on the north coast of Spain that neither of us had ever heard of, Mundaka. We found another apartment thanks to Airbnb and, although it felt less authentic, the host and her boyfriend were super friendly and spoke English very well. It was nice to get recommendations for things to do in Mundaka, as well as the rest of Spain and Portugal! The hardest thing for us to get used to in Spain was their eating schedule. We’d be chewing on our fingers (only Stefaan) by 7:30 and they don’t even think about dinner until 10! Because of this issue, we walked all the way to the neighboring town the first night on an unsuccessful quest for tapas. After a bus brought us back to Mundaka we ended up drinking local wine (Txakoli ) and eating grilled peppers and sandwiches at a local hotel. The staff was extremely friendly and seemed to recognize our dire situation. The next day was spent lounging on the breakwater in the harbor with all the local kids on summer vacation. We felt old, but it was a great energy to be a part of. Not to mention water was unbelievably clear and refreshing.

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Barcelona

Barcelona doesn’t take much getting used to. Much like New York there are corner stores, Starbucks, and people are very fashionable. Things you may not notice unless you’ve been in small villages along the coast of Spain and Portugal for a while. It was a nice contrast since we’ve been feeling a bit homesick lately. Our apartment was in an older part of town called Gracia. People’s voices resonate in small streets that were obviously not intended for cars to be driving on. We had a great little terrace where we could pretend we were locals while other tourists looked up at us, wandering the neighborhood. As far as food goes, you have almost as many options as New York City. This was especially nice because Sarah wasn’t feeling well since we had terrible Paella in Valencia, Spain. We were able to find something light at a wonderful vegetarian restaurant called Teresa Carles. Each night we’d wander the streets looking for a new type of restaurant, all of which proved to be very impressive. Just before we left, we were able to see our good friend from college who has lived in Barcelona for a few years now. Reconnecting with her and getting a glimpse of her life these days was just the icing on the cake.

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