Category Archives: Sights

Report: Explore Basque cooking

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San Sebastian (or in Basque Donosti) is the food capital of the Basque Country. In this city you can find a lot a restaurants with Michelin stars and the best pintxos. But if you are a tourist you have no idea where to find the best pintxos. There is a solution. San Sebastian Food is a company to guide tourist around food in the Basque Country. They offer guide pintxos tours, Basque cooking classes and wine tastings so tourist can find the real flavour of the Basque country.

In a small kitchen in restaurant Ziaboga in Pasaia, chef Alex Barcenilla is cooking a typical Basque meal: black beans called alubia. Because Basques don’t eat only one dish, he is also cooking pork, sausages, cabbage, pork chops and more sausages.

He is cooking with his cousin Christina Ibañez because to tourist group of today canceled because of the bad weather. But that doesn’t keep him from giving the report and photographers a cooking lesson. He chopping peppers and cutting sausages telling about Basque food. His answers are translated by the owner of San Sebastian Food Jon Warren who plays the translator at the cooking classes. “You have to treat the food with love”, says Barcenilla when is picking up a big pan full of bowling water and the alubia’s and spins is carefully. “You shouldn’t stir the beans with a spoon because then you will hurt them. Treat them with all the love you have.”

The cooking class tourist can attend with San Sebastian Food will teach them how to cook typical Basque meals. “Almost ninety percent of the time we will cook fish”, explains Warren with an apron on. “Because this restaurant is close to the sea we work with a lot of sea products. It’s very normal for Basque to cook with the seasons but also with local products.”

Pintxo tours

Apart from attending cooking classes you can also experience the Basque food culture Traditional Pintxosin an easier way. Warren started his business with guided pintxo tours across San Sebastian. “The tours aren’t the same every time”, Warren says when is walking true the city. “We have to explore new spots and the opening hours of bars. So it is a bit different every time. Before a group comes we already have six places in mind that we will visit. I can change because somebody has allergies but usually we go to traditional and modern bars to taste the pintxos and wine.”

You pay the tours upfront (85 Euro per person) and the crew will handle all the finances. “The good thing about our tours is that we know what is good at witch bar”, explains Elin Jonsson, guide of San Sebastian Food, in an traditional pintxo bar. “If you don’t know what pintxo the best one is, you probable won’t order it so that is were we come in. I do it myself to. If I go to Bilbao I don’t know witch bar is the best so I ask my friends from over there.”

ZerukoOne of the pintxos at Zeruko

One of the places that the pintxo tours attends (not every time but often) is the bar Zeruko. It’s a modern and cool bar where the most amazing pintxo are displayed on the bar. “The cooking over here is very modern and molecular”, says Jonsson, pointing at the pintxos at the bar. “The cook invents his own pintxos. And what is also very special about this place is the owner. The woman is helping with serving the food but still looks stylish and representative doing it.”

In the white, clean and crowded bar you can order pintxos that are displayed on the bar but also order them from the kitchen. “They have very spectacular pintxos with smoke or flames”, according to Warren. And that is true. The hole bar is looking when somebody orders a smoking pintxos because the smoke is quite noticeable. The pintxo is a small grill with little coals under it. A small piece of fresh fish is grilling and a small mountain of vegetables and sauce on a piece of bread is just next to it. The bartender points at the pintxo and says you have to eat it in one bite. And according to the taster is delicious.

The food looks magnificent but not all the food is really tasty”, guide Jonsson says. “But you have to try these pintxos just to see how different pintxos can be.”

Madrid at night

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Madrid at night is also gorgeous. Big city lights make you feel cosy. There are a lot of Christmas decorations as well and companies such as: Coffee with cinnamon and other spicy stuff and cream at Sturbucks café.

We went at San Miguel Market. Great place to eat and drink in the evening with friends. There are located different tants with food and drinks. For example, tant with cheese and special wine for that and so on.

It was also great morning in Madrid with nice breakfast. The most typical to eat in the morning is churros with hot chocolate. It is soo tasty, but very fatty, so, you can fulfill your stomach for the whole day.

El coste de mare de Euskadi

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My love to the nature became stronger and I decided to visit also a cost of  BC. In Estonia I live ten minutes to the sea, so I really miss it. But I can say, that you can not compare the sea in BC to the Baltic sea. There are different mountains and islands nearby.

There is a 2.8 km long beach in Zarauz – the largest beach in Gipuzkoa. It is a very romantic to walk through a promenade and watch how waves are moving and listen to the music of a sea. In this village there are a lot of bars and clubs just near the beach, so it is cool to party there in the summer.

There is even a special road which goes through mountains and cost, so, every year hundreds of people do that trip walking and exploring the nature for some weeks.

Aitzulo – small piece of paradise in BC

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I think that anyone who comes to visit BC can not stay indifferent to the nature. This is the first time in my live when i felt butterflies in my stomack because of a beauty of nature.

It was very spontanious when we decided to go to the mountains. We went by car to Oñati, in the way of Arrikrutz caves (I will write about these caves next week). The sightes around the Oñati are amazing. So, we parked our car beneath Orkatzategi mountain and began our trip.

It is not difficult to climb, especially with a nice weather and a good company. It took us for about an hour to get to the top, where the most beatiful thing was waiting for us. I speak about a cave, or, actually, the caves called Aitzulo. It is so beatiful, that you can hardly discribe it. I think it’s better to see the pictures. But, when you stay there you analyze that  humanbeing is nothing infront of a Nature.

I suggest anyone to visit this gorgeous place!!!

An astonishing schoolbuilding and great Erasmusstudents

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On Monday we had our first day at school. I was really excited because now my life here  was really beginning. Meeting the other Erasmus students and see my new school. We took the bus to Eskoriatza, because that is the town where the University is located. When is saw the building I was astonished. The building was really old with an open square in the middle. It looked really beautiful. You can see the sky while you are in the building. 

Mondragon universityschoolgang

In the classroom I saw all the other Erasmus students. A lot of the students are from Holland. I didn’t expected that at all. Because the info I got said that there were 2 students from every country. We are with 2 people from Estonia, 2 from Belgium, 1 from Finland and 8 from The Netherlands. But I think we are going to have a lot of fun.  So we  are with 12 Erasmus students. 4 in Media and 8 in Education. In the beginning of october there are coming more Erasmusstudents, from other countries as well. I am really excited about that.

Erasmusstudenten

After we introduced ourselves we watched each other’s houses. Just to know how and where everybody is living. After that we all took a siesta. In the afternoon we went for a drink together, to get to know each other a little bit more.  In the evening we went out for a pizza with the people that are living in Mondragon. It was a really nice pizzeria. After the pizza I went home. My roommate was home and we get along really well. So we talked a lot about the Bask country and the differences between here and The Netherlands. She told me about her hometown called Bermeo. And we decided that we are going there soon because it is a really authentic and beautiful town on the coast. After that i went to bed, beacause meeting a lot of new people is really fun but exhausted.

San Sebastian is a little paradise…

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I went to San Sebastian with my “Laguna”. A Laguna is a buddy from the University that helps you with everything you would like to know. We took the bus and from Mondragon to San Sebastian. It took us about one hour to get there.  I wasn’t feeling very well because of the wobbling of the bus.

When we arrived in Donostia (San Sebastian in Bask) the weather was really nice.That made me feel better in a second. Cause in Holland the weather already sucks so I was really glad with the 32 degrees and full sun!!

the beachCIMG4156

We had to walk twenty minutes to arrive on the beach. When we got closer I already smelt the salt air that was coming from the sea. I loved it. When we arrived at the beach I was amazed. It was so pretty!! It was a bay with a little island called ´Santa Clara´ in the middle. The beach was surrounded by mountains and the sea was really blue. The first thing I did was take off my flip-flops and walk in the sand with bare feet. We walked the whole coastline with my feet in the water. Oh I was so happy that moment! My nausea disappeared like snow in the sun and the only thing I was hearing was the sound of the ocean.

The beachpark San Sebastian

After the walk we went for a bite to eat. We went to a beach tent. We ate a bocadillo. You really get a big one so it was way too much for me. Well better to much than to little. After lunch we walked to the other side of the beach where we saw a few tourist shops. And afcourse I am a real tourist so I loved the shops.

Autumn in Vitoria

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We, Natalja and I, have visited Vitoria. We came there at about 4 pm to walk around and make some pictures. It was very beautiful day: no clouds, a little bit of sunshine and no wind. This autumn weather makes you feel very romantic and comfortable.

From my point of view, Vitoria is very beautiful and pleasant place. In some moment I felt like in Tallinn, that’s why I had and still have a feeling of nostalgia.

In Vitoria there are a lot of narrow streets, ancient buildings, churches and cathedrals. You can also relax in a quite park, sitting on a bench and eating warm croissant.

I think, this is an ideal place for dates =).

There are located few chocolaterías in Vitoria, which make this city much warmer and more sweet. La Peña Dulce is a confeteria in the centre of Vitoria. Is is a good place to buy sweets for a present.

Also, you can visit different museums. For example, there is Artium. There are different exhibitions of a modern art, cinema, theatre, library and some shops.

Moreover, Vitoria is a good place to make shopping. There are a lot of interesting shops in a centre city, which we don’t have in Estonia (don’t know about other countries). More fare away is located a big shopping mall called Boulevard, there you can find the most popular international brands.

At the end of the tour it is very nice to sit in croissanteria, drink some coffee and take a fresh bun.

The Sanctuary of Arantzazu

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On Wedsnesday we had a field trip with the other Erasmus students to the Sanctuary of Arantzazu, located in Oñati. The the Virgin of Arantzazu is the main worship figure and also the patron of the province Guipuzcoa.

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Start of the last month…

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Another week comes to an end and we’re starting to realize that there are only four of them left. Four weeks to enjoy every moment we have and meanwhile trying to obey our upcoming deadlines. This week didn’t really help doing that, since one of my best friends, Zahra, arrived on Wednesday and stayed until today. No complaints though, I really loved having her over! Continue reading

Enjoying Eskoriatza (no more rain!)

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I had to write you today because seeing the sun come out again, after the past weeks of rain, rain and more rain, has made me incredibly happy. Good timing too, since I had to do a photography project for school today and a lot of the locations were outside. Continue reading