Greg Eden’s Travel Diary

Tuesday, 16 Sep 2014

MapDay 21 San Sebastian to Biarritz
Our bus for Biarritz leaves at 2.30 so we have time to get out and explore the old city of San Sebastian. At 9 am the place is just waking up and delivery vans are everywhere driving down the narrow streets. Most shops don't open until 11 but some cafes are open early. We find a very popular cafe that has beautiful pastries on display. It is an obvious choice and it is in a good location where we can people watch. Around midday the place really comes alive. It is a myriad of narrow lanes with dozens and dozens of bars with pinxtos, souvenir shops and all manner of other shops. We notice that this place appears to be less tourist orientated as some others. We think this is because of the many locals who live in the apartments above the shops. They seem to all come down into the streets and go about their daily lives, shopping, getting haircuts, eating at bars. We find a great little bar with an enormous range of pinxtos. Ruth finds something she likes but it's not easy as most are seafood. No doubt the Spanish are good with food. I love the way they do it. The food and wine is cheap at the tapas bars and we figure this is because their main clientele is local. We wonder why this sort of thing hasn't taken off in Australia but we think maybe food regulations prevent it. The Spanish aren't overly governed and controlled like us we think. At 2.30 we get on a bus to Biarritz. The bus station is a bit hard to work out. The Spanish are definitely not as well organized as the Swiss but few people are. It's a 90 minute trip to this beautiful city and we have booked a hotel right on the beach. We are now in France. September is a good time to come here as the weather is still warm but it is not overrun with tourists. We have come here mainly because David Millar, the British cyclist, talks a lot about it in his book. It is worth visiting. We have a really nice dinner at a restaurant overlooking the beach. The waiter is really friendly. We order a bottle of Roija wine as we think the Spanish do it well. Plenty of time for Bordeaux wines yet. Biarritz has plenty of Spanish influence but it is predominantly French in feel. It is a great place and we are glad we came here. This and San Sebastian would both be places I would like to come back to and stay for longer. Our new friend Alan Davis has lived in San Sebastian for 12 years and loves it. Unfortunately we weren't able to catch up with him as his daughter was sick but we did exchange a few texts which was nice. Neil Stephens, team manager for the Orica Greenedge team also lives in San Sebastian