Arrival – Basque Country

Hola from País Vasco!

San Sebastian

After arriving to Bilbao airport and being “randomly” selected to go through a screening, I was then looking for Andoni and Nacho (fyi I have no idea what they looked like) who were supposed to pick me up. After almost an hour of waiting, anxiety, stress, and trying to find a free wi-fi spot, I finally decided to try and take a cab to the apartment. Luckily two guys came running out of the airport doors (Andoni and Nacho) before I could hail a cab. Talk about timing! Apparently they were waiting nearby the domestic flight exit while I was exiting from the international exit. Close call! I was extremely elated that I didn’t have to wander around aimlessly trying to find an apartment I’ve never been to in a foreign country.


The apartment BasqueStage set up for us in Lasarte is pretty sweet and huge for just two people. Located on the 5th floor, you have a living room, a kitchen, two bathrooms, two bedrooms, and two GIANT terraces overlooking Lasarte. The train station is a 2 minute walk and the supermarket is literally downstairs.  Sure beats the underground bomb shelter Corey Lee stayed in while working in the UK.

View from Apartment in Lasarte

After dropping off my huge suitcase and bags, we went out to San Sebastian for some pintxos.

Now most people get pintxos and tapas mixed together. Pintxos (spike, thorn) are eaten with your hands or with a tooth pick while tapas are considered small plates (I think I got the differences right?)


Anyways, we stepped into a small and bustling pintxos bar. The bar was amazing; tons of people drinking and eating while standing shoulder to shoulder, legs of jamon dangling from the cieling, and delicious smells wafting through the bar.


Out of the corner of my eye, I notice FOIE on the menu. Holy shit, being from California I just had to get some. Plus for the cost of 3 euros, it sure beats the 20 dollar price tag usually found in most restaurants in the U.S.. Booze I might add, is extremely cheap here (about 1-2 euros a glass). I had a light sparkling wine called txakolina; it’s sweet, refreshing, and just the right amount of acid to cut through all the fatty goodness of all the pintxos.


After dusting off some foie and pig ears, we then migrated to another pintxos bar known for their jamon. First thing we ordered: iberico.

Iberico; the famed black pigs of Spain which are finished on acorns until slaughter. The diet of acorns results in the fat of the pig to become extremely luscious, melting, sticky (if you’ve eaten it, you know what i’m talking about), and surprisingly healthy (high Omega 3s from all the acorn fat). The jamon was extremely well dried and aged, perfection.

Tired from the flight ( I got no sleep at all), we went back after  a few pintxos bar and I knocked out for a good 18 hours. An awesome first day!

~ by Clifton Su on January 14, 2013.

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