hello to san sebastián
I understand. I understand why people live blocks from the beach (we live about four back). I understand why people love Ikea (my whole piso is furnished in it). I understand why people love this city, which was until recently a fairly well-kept secret until the likes of Anthony Bourdain, Gwyneth Paltrow, Mario Batali, Ruth Reichl etc. etc. got their hands on it (you can walk in any bar and eat better than you would anywhere else in the world).
If you're not yet in on it, let me tell you a little about it. A river (el Urumea) cuts through this town of about 180,000, dividing it into two parts. On the right side, where I live, you have la Playa Zurriola, the haven of surfers and jóvenes, Gros and a couple other neighborhoods, all of which are filled with more living, working (or at least drinking coffee like its their job) people. To the left, you have the Casco Viejo, and the Cathedral, and the vast majority of the tourists. Also, two beautiful beaches and a magical island and mountain (which you can see illustrated in the sand of the Bay of Biscay above-that little lump on top is Jesús).
Waves crash all around. The sound of the sea is a constant. As I've already been witness to, the city is deathly beautiful whether under the (kinda) hot sun, during la puesta del sol (spanish vocab del día: SUNSET), or after a bout of sirimiri (a light drizzling of rain, which come and go here with equally amazing frequency and rapidity).
It makes you feel okay, this place. Because it's like, even if I accomplished nothing the whole time I was here, I would have absorbed endless hours of beauty. I understand.