day 12 :
thursday, 22 september
We took an excursion to Hondarribia this morning, walked along the boardwalk (which had a huge community of stray cats of all sizes - even just a couple weeks old - that the locals gave food and water to), and checked out the charming old part of the town. We took the scenic route on the way back, high up along the cliffs, and while we were enjoying the sights we almost ran into a herd of sheep that had decided to take a siesta on the road. Also notable along the drive was the proliferation of graffiti advocating for an independent Basque state.
Today we went to one of the local's hangouts for lunch - Casa Urola. We arrived around 2PM, and it was nearly empty, so we wondered if we had found the right place. Ah, but this is Spain, and people eat late, so the restaurant didn't really start filling up until close to 3PM. We had recommendations for this restaurant from at least three different sources, and we could see why - the food here was excellent traditional cuisine.
Driving in big cities in Spain is rather like playing a video game - at any moment, people, cars, mopeds, and bikes can suddenly appear in front of your car. To keep up with traffic, you need to be aggressive, and yet always be ready to hit the brakes. Oh, and don't forget that red lights are completely optional. It appears that the best practice is to at least slow down as you're approaching a red light, look to make sure you're not going to run into someone, and then blow right through the light.
San Sebastián sits on La Concha Bay, with Mount Igueldo anchoring the west end of the bay, and Mount Urgull on the east end. One of the best views of the city is from Mount Igueldo, so we took a drive up there around sunset to take some pictures. We wrapped up the evening by wandering around the city and taking nighttime photos of some interesting buildings, including the Buen Pastor Cathedral and the Kursaal convention center where the film festival was taking place.