One of my favorite places in San Sebastian is the Zurriola beach in Gros neighborhood. It is the beach for surfing and sports in general. It is the beach of the young people. For me it’s like little California in San Sebastian.

It has a promenade that goes from Sagúes at the foot of Mount Ulia to the Kursaal by the Urumea River. The Kursaal building is the city’s convention center. It is a very modern building. It has the shape of a cube and it is a big contrasts with the classic architecture of the city. At first it was a very controversial construction but today it is an icon of San Sebastian and one of the most vibrant points of the city.

The Gros neighborhood has some bars and restaurants that are worth visiting. On Thursday evening the famous pintxo-pote is held and for only 2 Euros you can have your pintxo and beer. It is a day in which all Donostians come to enjoy the party atmosphere.

As I said before, La Zurriola is the perfect beach to practice water sports. Surfing is the most popular and can be practiced every day of the year. There are numerous surfing schools where you can go to rent equipment or take lessons. Come and enjoy the gros neighborhood!

Check out the waves from this webcam!

 

 

 

Autumn in the Basque Country is a time of many colors and flavors. It is the time to pick grapes in the vineyards, it is the time for hunting migratory birds such as pigeons and it is also the time to pick mushrooms in the woods. A gastronomic combination that cannot be resisted.

The oaks, beech and pines forest have spectacular colors at this time of the year. Red, yellow, green and brown drawing a typical autumn landscape over the mountains. This is the moment when the mushrooms emerge from the forest bed. The queen of all mushrooms is the “Boletus Edulis”. It is a very appreciated mushroom in the Basque gastronomy for its rich aroma and for its very compact meat. The most recommendable thing is to gather it in its initial phase, this is the optimal moment to harvest this mushroom.

The Boletus Edulis like other mushrooms needs a temperature between 10 and 20 degrees Celsius and a lot of humidity. That is why the end of summer and the beginning of autumn is the time of greatest abundance of this species. In the Basque Country, going in search of these mushrooms is like a tradition and many people go into the woods to look for them.

If you are lucky enough to find them, the next step is to take them into the kitchen to eat with family and friends.

Cooking mushrooms

Personally, my favorite way to cook is to grill them with a little bit of oil and salt. Especially when they are in that initial phase and the meat is very compact. They are cut in more or less thick slices. They should brown on both sides over medium heat and they are ready to eat. Then you can add the yolk of an egg and some parsley. You now have a top-quality dish from the best restaurants in San Sebastian.

When the state of the “Boletus Edulis” mushroom is not the best. We can say that it is in a second phase the meat is no longer so compact, the best thing to do is to make an omelette. The ingredients are onion, garlic and mushrooms. They are cooked slowly, once they have lost most of the water, the eggs are added. The egg is left to curdle and is removed to a plate. As always you can add a little bit of parsley.

If you want to enjoy mushrooms in the Basque Country now is the time. And if you want to collect the best ones you will have to come to the forest with us. I’ll be waiting for you in San Sebastian!

 

 

 

The Comet network was created by the Belgian nurse Andree de Jong during the Second World War. It was created to evacuate allied soldiers from Nazi-occupied Europe to Spain and from there to England or the USA. The Comet network grew to nearly 14,000 collaborators who saved a total of 2,373 British and about 2,700 US soldiers.

The comet line descended from Belgium and the Netherlands to Paris. From Paris, it had to cross the Pyrenees through the Basque Country until it reached San Sebastian or Bilbao. The last stage of the trip was Madrid-Gibraltar.

Near the French Basque town of Biriatou, a few meters from the border with Spain, there is a monument dedicated to 2 fallen soldiers trying to reach the border. The river Bidasoa is the historical border in this part of the Pyrenees. It is a very steep terrain with lush forests. Perfect to hide from the Nazis.

During the night of 23-24 December 1943 on the edge of the Bidasoa cliffs a group of 7 people including 4 aviators and 3 members of the resistance were preparing to cross the river Bidasoa. The problem was that the river was very high due to the abundant rainfall. Count Antoine d’Ursel and Lieutenant James F Burch were swept away by the current and drowned. Lieutenant Burch was co-pilot of a Michigan Air Force B-17F that was shot down in Holland on October 10, 1943. From Belgium after crossing France thanks to the Comet network he arrived in the Basque Country. His intention was to reach England through Gibraltar.

The Germans recovered their bodies the next day and deposited them in front of the church in Biriatou as a warning to the villagers. The people of Biriatou covered the entrance to the church with flowers in recognition of the dead. The angry Nazis removed the bodies and made them disappear.

Count dÙrsel and Lieutenant Burch are the only ones who lost their lives escaping through the southern Comet Line. These two wakes are dedicated to their memory.