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December 2013

More San Sebastián #Spain

Being our first time in San Sebastián, we have to say how much we love this city. There is so much to see, do, eat… and lots of walking. From modern city to old city, to ancient city and fisherman seaside. When planning this month long journey, friends who had been here all exclaimed how much they loved this city.

It's amazing to watch the Atlantic Ocean crash with amazing waves between the walls into the river in the city… Very exciting.




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Exploring San Sebastián #Spain

Today we decided to go and see the ancient walled in city in Hondarribia, also called the ancient old quarter with amazing walls and a castle.

Hondarribia (“sand ford” in Basque, is situated on the west shore of Bidasoa river's mouth, in Gipuzkoa, Basque Country, Spain. The border town is sited on a little promontory facing Hendaye (France) over the Txingudi bay. A service boat makes the trip between the two cities. It's amazing to be able to another country so close.

After walking around the old city, we had lunch at a wonderful little restaurant within the ancient city walls. Restaurant Sebastián was perfect for a light lunch. Not to mention, the room was really charming and our waitress spoke English.

Top: we had ham and bread

Bottom: roasted local peppers and a seafood salad…. All delicious.


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December 21st #Basque Tradition

The Feast of St. Thomas or Feria de Santo Tomas

You can smell the txistorra (chorizo) and talo (special bread) all around the city. The streets are packed with people dressed in traditional Basque costumes, there are endless stands in both Gipuzkoa and Constitional Square, where you will find the star of the festival, “Jaxinta” pig.

In the mid 19th Century, every 21st of December, farmers of the province moved to the capital to pay annual rents to landowners. The farmers took advantage of their trip to town to get items that they did not have in their own village, and at the same time, sell their best products. Thus they realized that holding a fair was necessary, and this is how St. Thomas festival began in the local Constitution Square.

Since then, not wanting to lose this tradition, when this day arrives, San Sebastián becomes a large rural market in which txistorra (chorizo) is the star.… Read More

First Dinner in San Sebastián #Spain

We took a taxi about half an hour out of the city to have a dining experience to be remembered. We had the great pleasure of eating at Zuberoa.

Chef Hilario Arbelaitz inherited from his mother his love of traditional dishes using quality ingredients. This is a family run restaurant that follows the philosophy of using exceptional ingredients to create the best seasonal dishes. The kitchen in the beginning was traditional but now is modern while remembering the roots of Basque cuisine.

There is also Eusebius, Chef Hilario's brother who together with his wife Arantxa not only keep everything running smoothly, but Eusebius knows the extensive wine list quite well and can help with choosing the best local wine for your dinner

The Restaurant is located in one of the most ancient villages Oiartzun, and its walls have been faithful witness to the passage of more than six hundred years.… Read More

First Day in San Sebastián #Spain

We are ready to hit the streets of San Sebastián and it's lunch time, it's a rainy day so we decide to see what the hotel has to offer. It turns out they have a very high end Chinese restaurant, so we say let's try it. Tse-Yang the room was beautiful, and the food amazing.

After lunch, we walked through the old city all the wat to the harbor to visit the aquarium.

Acuario de San Sebastián


Walking through this tunnel was spooky, you felt like you were under the water.



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Arrived in #Spain #SanSebastian

We've arrived in San Sebastián, staying at the beautiful Hotel Maria Cristina. Opened in 1912, this hotel has always been a part of history and cultural life of San Sebastián. Click on the link above to read more.

So of course we are in Spain, in Basque region. The hotel put together a walking list of places for us to go out and experience tapas/bar hopping. Tapas here is called pintxo. We made it through five….

Zeruko was the most modern, the top was an amazing lobster that you eat while you then take in the aroma of the liquid below, which was rose scented. See the smoke, you don't drink the liquid.
Other stops we made besides Zeruko were Txondorra, Atari, LaVina, where have their famous cheese cake. The hotel actually had a walking map telling us where to go, very easy.






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On The Road A Stop in #Biarritz

Back on the road and heading to Spain, we decide to stop in Biarritz for lunch. The weather is beautiful, and the waves are pumping, makes me think of Hawaii.

Biarritz is located on the Bay of Biscay, on the Atlantic coast, in the Pyrenees', southwestern France. It made its fortune from the sea, as a whaling settlement from the 12th Century onwards. In the 18th Century doctors in Europe recommended that the ocean at Biarritz had therapeutic properties, inspiring patients to make pilgrimages to the beach for alleged cures for their ailments.

I could buy that….

We had also been here 10 years ago.


We ate at Caritz, Bar Hotel Restaurant, right over the water, watching lifeguards train in the big waves. Last time we were here we caught a great surf contest.

Crazy shrimp with home-made mayo.

This was a delicious veal Ragu with what looks like toast is actually pasta baked with cheese and basil and a little sauce, crispy on top.… Read More

#SaintEmilion #France #Bordeaux

We are headed to Spain, with an over night in Saint Emilion, this city goes back to prehistoric times, and is a World Heritage Site with amazing Romanesque churches and ruins, stretching all along steep and narrow streets.

The Romans started planting vineyards here as early as the 2nd Century. To give you a perspective the population is 2,020 residence. We were here about ten years ago, it's one of my most favorite ancient cities in the world.

We stayed at the same beautiful hotel that we stayed in ten years ago, Hostellerie De Plaisance Relais Chateaux it sits at the top of the town, overlooking the city.


We are now in the Bordeaux wine region, so the wine selection has changed. Throughout our trip, we only asked for what was truly the best of the actual area we were in. We were never disappointed.

Having has so many gastronomic experiences in the last days, we were ready for bistro.… Read More

Last #Dinner in #Lyon #France

A gastronomic treat, the hotel sent us to Te.Te.Doie. Beautiful, contemporary decor, very different from most of where we have been. The restaurant is on top of one of the many hills in Lyon, when you arrive you are asked to sit in a room for a glass of champagne and the view is unreal. Not only is the city lit up, but right in the center of town down below is a Ferris wheel giving an amazing light show.

Chef Christian Tetedoie is truly an artist, not only are the dishes amazingly delicious, but you want to look at them for a long time as well. When you are leaving, you are handed a small elegant menu of what you had….


Lobster and Apple, poached medallion & apple soaked in cider, Chinese cabbage, peanuts and cilantro… And lots of delicate tiny edible flowers.

Onions & Truffle, French onion soup new version (yes soup), marrow bones, ham with truffles & Comte' cheese… Unreal.… Read More