San Sebastian


We almost didn’t make San Sebastian part of our trip but decided to squeeze in a couple of days here between Barcelona and Paris.  It was definitely worth the squeeze and we could’ve spent several more days exploring the food scene, hiking the mountains, and laying on the beach.  The pictures speak for themselves, but San Sebastian is a beautiful place.  The green blue water is crystal clear in parts and deep blue in others and the dark green mountains provide a beautiful contrast to the water below.  Besides the nature views the town is also really pretty with architecture that reminded me of Paris and a clean promenade by the water to take in the views.  The food scene is littered with Michelin star restaurants, pinxtos bars, and delicious fresh produce from local farms so whether you want a simple picnic to eat at the beach, a hoity-toity dinner, or to bar hop all day long this place have has you covered.

San Sebastian was a bit up and down for us despite all the great things it had to offer.  Our bodies were sick (me) and tired (Josiah) and we were struggling on more than one occasion to not let our bad mood or grumpy feelings take over completely.  I wrote a bit more about that here and have taken the lesson of practicing gratitude for the small things with me in the weeks since.  It’s usually the moments of total frustration when I don’t want to be grateful for anything that I have to force myself to see the small bits of light all around.  It’s also a reminder that it doesn’t matter where I am in the world, what I’m seeing, or who I’m with frustration, bad days, and moments where I just want to sit on the curb and cry a little bit will follow me.  It’s life and it’s inevitable, but God keeps meeting me in those places with gentle nudges to find the good.

Lastly, our room was crazy!  The building we stayed in seemed it was caving inward and the slant in the floor of our room made me dizzy every time I stood up.  We were also really close to the church so the bells in the tower rang every hour and Josiah about lost his marbles.  But, for $35 dollars a night I guess you can’t expect the Ritz.


First glimpses of La Concha Beach – mouths dropped, eyes wide open with delight.



The beach got pretty crowed in the afternoon as the water slivered the sand away and pushed everyone back toward the promenade.


Zurriola bridge on a cloudy morning before our Pinxtos tour.


Cappuccinos from Sakona Coffee Roasters.



First stop on our pinxtos tour.  We went to five different pinxto bars so we got to try five pinxtos and five different wines or ciders.




Green on green on green.






Delicious Iberico ham!



Josiah showing his quality.



Oh heeeey.





Praia da Marinha


“Beauty is transcendent. It is our most immediate experience of the eternal. Think of what it’s like to behold a gorgeous sunset or the ocean at dawn. Remember the ending of a great story. We yearn to linger, to experience it all our days. Sometimes the beauty is so deep it pierces us with longing. For what? For life as it was meant to be. Beauty reminds us of an Eden we have never known, but somehow our hearts were created for.”
Stasi Eldredge

You know when you look forward to something for a long time, dreaming about what it will be like, looking at photos, and hoping that it’s as magical as you’ve drawn it up to be in your head?  That was Praia da Marihna.  I was so excited about this day and even now I get teary eyed thinking about it because my expectations were exceeded and the sheer bliss of being there still makes heart jump.

The whole day was adventure and discovery and challenge.  It started by picking up our rental car.  Josiah was pretty nervous because he hadn’t driven a manual in years and now he would be driving one in foreign countries and unknown streets.  But, we made it out of Sevilla with only one blunder – luckily that one happened in the parking lot of the rental car company. Josiah drove like a boss through Spain and Portugal, and as we were approaching our destination we realized that you’re supposed to pre-pay to drive on the toll roads in Portugal.  So, we may be getting charged a hefty fee for not doing our research. (whoops!)

Cars, traffic, and toll road fees were quickly forgotten when we walked to the over-look and saw the views.  Once we picked our jaws up off the floor, and took a ridiculous amount of picture, we skipped down to the beach.  Well, we didn’t actually skip, but there was a definite pep in our step.

We stayed at Praia da Marihna for a few hours sunbathing, people watching, and swimming in that turquoise blue water. We chatted with a couple from Atlanta, and tried not to laugh like children at all the topless women.  It was like we both turned into Simon Burch when we saw them coming, “BOOOBS.” (Here’s a clip for reference if you haven’t seen the movie).

We finally pulled ourselves off the beach because I wanted to do the little hike to the other beaches nearby.  The trail wound along the cliffs giving our eyes beautiful views every which way we looked.  Our end point was Praia da Benagil, the beach at the little village of the same name and home to the famous Benagil Caves.  We took a cave tour here and we got to see a lot of the caves around the area as well as the Benagil Cave.  With hearts full, our time in Portugal came to an end and we had to head back to Sevilla (nooooo!).

It was a day that was as perfect as it could be.  I just kept laughing throughout the day because I couldn’t believe how beautiful it was and that I was there to experience it in person.  I’d gladly take 100 toll road fines to have another day Praia da Marinha