08 /17/ 2018 – 08 /18 /2018
The journey to Spain began August 18th, 2018, spent the night in Dallas to catch an 11am flight. Traveled from Dallas to Chicago to Madrid ending in San Sebastián Spain at 1pm August 19th. It was a day that at times never seemed to end but at other times ended too soon. This was the beginning of an epic adventure following in the footsteps of pilgrims going all the way back to the early 8th century. First on the agenda was meeting fellow members of our Camino group, next overcoming jet lag ensuring we would be strong for the journey ahead. We had two days to become acclimated to our new time zone. During these days our group basked in the beauty and rich history of the Basque Country, dined on incredible food and was inspired by the conversion of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits.
Our hotel was not quite ready for us upon arrival so we broke up into small groups for a bite to eat and perusing the streets of San Sebastián. The City was very active, the celebration of Semana Grande (Big Week) was the big draw. This week-long celebration is held during the week of August 15th, Day of the Virgin, we arrived just in time to enjoy the final day of the festival. The beautiful La Concha Bay and the streets were full of visitors, fun games for children and adults, marching bands and delish food. After a quick bite, several of us walked along the crowed but lovely beach of La Concha bay. We then headed back to our rooms to freshen up for a tour of the city, Mass and our welcome dinner at Takatak. Side note: our beds look sooo good, we had been awake over 30 hours by now, somehow we managed to avoid them!
Mass was held in a small chapel inside a majestic cathedral. It was a Mass I will never forget, not because of a moving sermon but because of the loud and blasting noises from the marching band and festival which seemed to get louder at the most inappropriate times. Perhaps God provided these distractions to ensure no one fell asleep lol. Kudos to Father who was able to maintain composer and provide us with our first of many group Masses.
San Sebastián is a foodies paradise. Thoroughly disappointed we were only there for the night, San Sebastián immediately went on my bucket list of places to revisit. The disappointment was short-lived thanks to the incredible morsels served at Takatak Restaurant. Our meal began with several courses of pintxo (tapas) and some amazing wine. The most memorable part of the meal was this huge plate of tomatoes. When it was being served we thought it was a plate share. I was thrilled to find out the plate was for one. It was the most amazing plate of tomatoes I have ever eaten. The tomatoes were rich, complex and delicious; the cilantro vinaigrette over the tomatoes delighted my tongue and left a memory to remember forever. I later learned the vinaigrette was cilantro, a herb I hate but now it appears I also love…
We were told there would be a grand firework display at 10:45pm. What else could we do but order more wine and visit until it was time for the big show! After we emptied the last bottle of wine we strolled down to the beach to watch the last of a five-day firework competition. Hands down this was the most spectacular fireworks show I have ever seen! Even though it was a very long day it was one of the best ever, simply fabulous! As I headed back to the hotel I realized my head had not touched a pillow in over 40 hours, thank goodness it was finally beddy-bye time. Tomorrow Loyola.