Mary Ryan Garnett – The Search For Indulgence In Northern Spain

I had always wanted to visit the beautiful Basque area of Bilboa and San Sebastian and my dream started to take shape with the help and care of the team at Travel Diversity.

My daughter and I have always wanted to take a mother/daughter trip and it had to be a place where neither of us had visited. My daughter has travelled the globe for the past 10years (and by the way still is) and the Basque region was one place that she had not yet visited (how lucky was that for me!!). Both my daughter and I are foodies so her priority was not only to spend time with her mother (let me have my moment) but to also ensure we experienced fabulous Micheline Star restaurants during our stay. Bilboa and San Sebastian Micheline Restaurants are renowned for their culinary achievements.

One of many Pintxo Bars and the Mirador de Ulia San SebastianOne of many Pintxo Bars and the Mirador de Ulia San Sebastian

So together with the team at Travel Diversity we started to plan. Our meeting point would be in London where my son lives with his family. Flights were organised for my daughter from Berlin to London whilst mine Tamworth to London. Together we would fly London to Bilboa and spend some time in this beautiful town then onto San Sebastian by bus.

Let me begin with Bilboa before I move onto San Sebastian. We arrived at our Hotel which stood across the Nervion River within the city boundary. Bilboa is not a large city and although public transport is available my daughter and I walked from one end to the other of this beautiful town along the Nervion River down to the estuary. We did walk a lot as this allowed us to make sure we would experience the bars and pintxos each night and prepare us for further pintxos bars in San Sebastian!!!. Quirky architecture, beautiful parks and riverfront landscapes were enchanting. Make sure if you do visit Bilboa, the Guggenheim Museum is a place that should be on your list.

The Nervion River and the Guggenheim in BilboaThe Nervion River and the Guggenheim in Bilboa

We took a bus from Bilboa to San Sebastian or “Donostia” as it is known in Basque, which was only an hour and half journey and we experienced a bus trip that took in the sights of the Pyrenees and Cantabrian Mountains. Barry suggested this would be the best way from Bilboa to Donostia and he was spot on.

San Sebastian was everything that I had dreamed of and more. From the charming cobblestone old town, to its modern shops and scenic parklands, San Sebastian should be on everyone’s wish list. Its beaches are framed by picturesque Bayfront promenade, and world- renowned restaurants and pintxos bars. One of the foodie treasures in San Sebastian is their pintox bars. The old town of San Sebastian is where you will find the best pintox bars and my daughter and I found it a place to embrace the Basque people and culture. (so… it just wasn’t a bar and food hopping adventure!!)

Northern Spain

So, if visiting remarkable Micheline Star restaurants, experiencing the hospitality of the Basque culture and trying out amazing pintox bars are your on travel list then a visit to Bilboa and San Sebastian is a must. You will not be disappointed.

Northern Spain by night

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