Semana Grande, also known as the biggest weeklong celebration in San Sebastián, is over.
It feels like coming down off some kind of high....for a whole 9 days, stores and restaurants and bars are open at what seems like any hour of the day. Then, before you know it, you can't even buy an ice cream cone at 12:30 at night. Oh, the inhumanity.
I've given five reasons why it may be my favorite week ever, and now it's time for five more.
6) Because you're just sitting unsuspectingly outside of the Buen Pastor cathedral, sipping a glass of txakoli, when a trumpet starts blaring and a parade of sailors walks by. Natural, right?
7)Every night of the week, there is a different fireworks show. Any true old-school donostiarran will tell you that the process is as follows: 10:30pm, assume position. 10:45, watch fireworks. Complain about how they aren't as good as last night's/year's/decade's. 11:15, take a stroll along the Boulevard. Ice cream is the essential accesory. Home by midnight.
8)ATP TENNIS! This year's Donosti Challenger fell on Semana Grande, and I'm lucky enough (or obnoxious enough about my love for the sport) to have friends that place a precious pink bono in my hands for entry for the entire week.
It's tennis like I've never seen it...set in the foothills of Mount Igeldo, on the very courts I play on, and with three euro mojitos and the rare Donostian sun out in full force. Unforgettable.
9) Then there's the funny way time works, how you can just slip away for a day and nobody notices. I took advantage and fled to Lazkao, a tiny village outside of the slightly larger Beasain, about thirty minutes outside of San Sebastián.
Nothing special, just an evening stroll, an aperitif, a dinner in the house of a friend, and then a luxurious morning coffee overlooking the frontón. Strike that. VERY special.
10) And finally, because it's just a great week to be with friends. There's something in the air that makes low levels of productivity okay, that makes staying out until two on a Monday night absolutely normal, and something that calls for celebration. Like one of the best dinners I've had prepared by home cooks here to date.
How do you finish off Semana Grande? A coffee flavored digestif from Galicia so authentic that they sell it out of the back of a bar in recycled liquor bottles. And, of course, in good company.