Pintxos & Funiculars & The Sea In Between.

After what seemed to be an unusually hard couple of days for myself and a handful of my closest people last week, it was fitting that Simone and I had a trip planned to distract ourselves and get a change of scenery. Yes, I know, it hasn’t been all that long since I experienced a change of scenery with a visit to Florence, but in keeping consistent, it was time for another trip.

To say that the North of Spain exceeded my expectations would not even be strong enough to describe how I felt about the Basque Country and Cantabria. This part of Spain is a gem, full of the very best flavors and architecture. Pintxos became our main dietary staple and funiculars one of our main modes of transportation. We marveled each time we came up the coast for the first time in each of the cities. And experienced the best hostess in Gabriela (who I failed to snap a photo of) while in Bilbao. Without her, our experience would not have been the same. She introduced us to Fuel Fandango, a groovy band we were able to see live and took us on a pintxo tour that did not disappoint.

This trip proved to be exactly what we needed, in so many ways, and I am all the more in awe that I get to call this country home. AND in lieu of falling even more in love with Spain, I have some news… It is with excitement (and oodles of nerves) that I have decided to extend my time in Spain! I have only knowledge that I have been accepted to live in the region of Andalusia, and few other details, but soon enough I will find myself living on the mainland!

The photos won’t do it justice, but in case you were curious about what we saw, ate, and did, look no further…

IMG_4093Our first views of Bilbao in the light of day and those colors, even against a grey sky, popped!IMG_4103The Guggenheim. We only circled the premises and made friends with this flowered puppy (or as it is called in Basque, “poopy” :p)IMG_4099IMG_4113Up, up, up the funicular to where we were awed by these gorgeous views. This was my first time to Basque Country, but certainly not my last. IMG_4107IMG_4111Can you tell I am just so excited to be here?IMG_4115IMG_4123Little bursts of French influence throughout the architecture, there were moments we thought that it would have been easy enough to think we were in Paris instead of Bilbao.IMG_4126And so begins the pintxo tour… Mmm the flavors, if I could bottle those up I would.IMG_4128IMG_4129IMG_4135IMG_4142It wouldn’t be a trip to the north if it didn’t rain a little, but that didn’t keep us from enjoying ourselves.IMG_4145IMG_4147Hey there, San Sebastian! IMG_4148More French influence in the architecture; it was hard for me to not just post a bunch of pictures of buildings because they are all so beautiful. IMG_4161The flowers in San Sebastian were something else. So dreamy and fairy-like!IMG_4165The San Sebastian Cathedral looking all stately and grand.IMG_4177Isn’t she a beauty?IMG_4168We wandered many streets like the one above in search of the best place to land for another pintxo and glass of vino.IMG_4203Funicular numero dos did not disappoint with the views it provided, as seen below. La Concha beach spread far and wide through the city.IMG_4195IMG_4190IMG_4199IMG_4205And a quick stop in Santander, because it was just so easy to get to from San Sebastian. I had the best ice cream cone of my life in this city and Simone probably tired of me breaking down the many reasons as to what made it so good.IMG_4207IMG_4209IMG_4210IMG_4212IMG_4213IMG_4215“Think with the heart.”

Pais Vasco and Cantabria, you were as lovely as could be. Thank you for giving me another place to want to return to, and more reasons to continue to give this whole living in España another round!

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