We had a fantastic time in Donostia, a lovely town on the Basque coast. Arriving on a train in the early morning drizzle wasn't ideal, but things quickly got better. After a short rest, we headed into the old town and stuffed ourselves on amazing Pintxos (tapas), hopping from bar to bar. Donostia is great for this as each bar has different specialties, and it's accepted that you hop from bar to bar. Cidra (cider) is served in a uniquely Basque way, poured as far from the glass so as to aerate the drink as much as possible, and no more than about two centimetres poured per serve to keep it fresh.
The sun came out in the afternoon so we found some beers and crisps and headed to the beach. To our surprise, Tor and Hannah who we'd met at one of writer Peter Moore's events, were there on the beach! We ended up spending the evening hanging out with them, doing the bar hop and Pintxos thing.
After Tor and Hannah had left, Holly and I wandered around town and were on our last beer when we heard a Basque choir singing and went to watch. Holly asked someone to explain the songs to her, and we landed in with a group including a couple consisting of a Basque woman who speaks English in a cross of Edinburgh and Belfast accents and a Basque speaking guy from Belfast. We chatted away and they dragged us off to a few more bars, including one frequented by Basque seperatists, complete with pictures of political prisoners. Great fun.
The following day, still nursing a hangover, we met up with our new friends to go out to one of the amazing cider barns they have in the Basque country. Here you get a stack of brilliant food and all the sidra you can drink, pouring and drinking in the typical Basque way to ensure maximum aeration.
So Donostia, great place. I highly recommend it! Thanks to Mark and Maite, thanks for showing us around.