How to get to San Sebastian from the airport?

San Sebastian is located in the Basque Country in northern Spain. It is only 20 km from the French border. Within a radius of 100km we have 3 airports to choose from. Two of the airports are in Spain. The international airport of Bilbao and the small airport of San Sebastian. A third airport with international connections is in Biarritz France.

Closest airports

San Sebastian airport

San Sebastian airport is located in the neighboring town of Fuenterrabia, only 20 km from San Sebastian. Right on the border with France. The French town with which it borders is Hendaye.
It is a very small airport and only has connections with Madrid and Barcelona. Once landed everything is very simple because as soon as you land you are at the cab rank. If you are a large group of people I recommend organizing a transport as in this area of Spain there is no Uber.

Biarritz airport

Biarritz airport is a bit further away but only 50 km from San Sebastian. It is also a small airport but with connections to other European countries such as England, France or Germany. It is a very good option to take into account.
From Biarritz airport to San Sebastian you have different options, from French cabs to hourly buses. On the other hand I also recommend to organize transportation especially for large families and large groups of friends. There is no Uber.

Bilbao airport

It is the farthest airport of all and is located 100 km from San Sebastian.It is a larger airport and you have the possibility to fly from other parts of Spain as well as from other parts of Europe.
From Bilbao airport to San Sebastian there are cab options but the one I recommend the most is the bus. There is a bus from the airport to San Sebastian every 30 minutes.It is a very comfortable and efficient bus.If it is a large group of people I recommend buying tickets in advance although as I said they leave every half hour.

If you need help, don´t hesitate in contact us!

Elvers fish tradition is part of the Basque gastronomy

In the Basque Country, especially in the region of San Sebastian, this dish is very traditional during the winter. Very traditional in the past during the Christmas season and especially during the feast of San Sebastian.
The elvers are the young eels that enters the rivers of Europe to grow and fatten. As soon as they reach the estuaries and rivers they are fished. Nowadays it is a very regulated and controlled fishery to guarantee the continuity of the species. The fishing quota is very limited, that’s why the price of a kilo of elvers is over 900€ in fishmongers.
The dish of elvers has gone from being a traditional cheap dish to an exclusive dish for rich people. In addition, they are also demanded by Asian countries that pay a lot of money to fatten them and market them in their countries.

Elvers fish

Eels life cycle

The eel life cycle is very curious, it can be said that it is the opposite of the salmon life cycle. The eel is born in the form of larvae or plankton in the Sargasso Sea, near the Caribbean, then these plankton eels are carried to the European rivers by the Gulf Stream. Once they reach the mainland, they begin to swim up the rivers to develop and grow. When they have reached the size and weight of an adult eel they return to the sea, specifically to the Sargasso Sea to breed and finally to die. Then the offspring are born and return to Europe to continue their cycle. Isn’t it amazing!

Elvers fish dish cooking

The cooking method is very simple. The first and most important thing is to have a clay pot for cooking, some clay plates for serving and some wooden forks. Any good self-respecting chef should require these utensils before preparing the elvers.

Cooking the elvers is simple although if they are alive they should be killed with an infusion of tobacco diluted in a little water. Once they are dead, they are cooked little by little with a strainer and hot water. They are only cooked for a few seconds so the best way to do it is with a strainer.
Once they are cooked, add olive oil, garlic and some cayenne. The oil is heated little by little with the garlic and the cayennes. When the garlic is golden brown in the earthenware casserole, add the elvers. They are given a few turns so that they cook a little with the rest of ingredients and they are left to rest a little out of the fire. And that’s it! That’s all!
Now we only have to go to the store to buy them!

Carbonic maceration wines

Carbonic maceration wines are young wines with primary aromas, red wines in which floral aromas and fresh, crisp fruit predominate, sweet wines with a creamy touch, which should be consumed during their first year to enjoy all their aromatic explosiveness. For its production, fermentation is generated within the grape berry itself and the best known regions in which this traditional winemaking system is still maintained are Rioja, with the wine of the year, Toro, as well as the Italian novellos and the famous beaujolais nouveau.

Carbonic maceration is a process that occurs during fermentation and that, instead of destemming the grapes to extract their juices, uses whole bunches of grapes in an airtight tank whose atmosphere has no oxygen, but only carbon dioxide. Thus, the grape berries begin intracellular fermentation inside the tank and once they reach 2% alcohol, the grape skins break down and release their juices. Thanks to the presence of the native yeasts that the grapes already bring with them and from the vineyard, when they come into contact with the sugar in the juices, the alcoholic fermentation that had already started inside the berry continues.
This form of extraction is very subtle, so the wines have a light but vibrant color, a very marked fruity expression, few tannins, and a very pleasant palate.

It is generally used in varieties such as, Pinot Noir, Carignan, Malbec, Syrah, Tempranillo and Mouvèdre. Although in the United States and Chile, this technique has been used to produce juicy Zinfandel, País, Cinsault and even Carmenère.
Thanks to this method, some wines have aromas of banana, chewing gum, raspberries, strawberries or cinnamon. It is not that the grapes have these aromas, but that the carbonic maceration produces chemical compounds with these aromas. And, in addition, it makes wines with low acidity.

As you can imagine, in the past, wines were made in this way. The whole bunch was harvested with the green part and fermented in this way. It was in the 19th century when this technique was well described and documented in the book Vinification by Carbonic Maceration written by the winemakers Michel Flanzy and his son Claude.

Brief introduction

The first recorded record of the manufacture of fire arms in Eibar and the Basque lands dates from 1482. The document mentions a batch of two lombards manufactured in Eibar by order of the Duke of Medina Sidonia. As an anecdote it remains to say that the transfer of these cannons from Eibar to the mouth of the Deba, was made by means of eighty pairs of oxen. This data is significant since it shows that the production of guns was prior to this date.

XVII CENTURIE

Throughout the 17th century the industry grew considerably. The wars and the orders of the nobles made the arm artisans work non-stop. In 1735, the Royal Guipuzcoan Company of Caracas intervened in the armory sector and took over the responsibility of this industry with respect to its production and its guild system, established centuries before. Cashiers, key-ringers, cannoneers and riggers represented the four guilds that formed the backbone of this production. They were under the tutelage of the Company, which on the one hand fixed all the prices and wages (sometimes without being well accepted) but with the salaries assured .

Modern times

However, there came a time when the Company could not support the weight of the guilds and went bankrupt and was taken over by the Philippine Company. Although the latter’s attempts at the beginning were efficient, it did not take long to reach the same end as its predecessor and it was in 1865 when the guilds definitively disappeared, giving way to the capitalist system. In addition, manufacturing techniques were revolutionized due to technological advances and new percussion systems appeared. The flintlock was replaced by the piston, the appearance of smokeless gunpowder allowed the development of semi-automatic and automatic mechanisms that revolutionized the armory, and thus repeating weapons became widespread after the invention of the revolver.

This step is crucial since for the first time the workshops owned by the entrepreneurs and the market competition between them appear. Thus, the firms “Orbea Hermanos”, “Larrañaga”, “Anitua y Charola”, “Gárate y Anitua”… appear in Eibar. In Placencia-Soraluze “Euscalduna” is one of the most outstanding.

In an electoral census of the beginning of the 20th century these data are observed: Eibar had 1,149 gunsmiths; Placencia-Soraluze with 257 and Elgoibar with 103.

The free market was gradually imposed and some manufacturers began to offer more advantageous prices for the government, which had repercussions on themselves. And it was in 1900 when Eibar stood out among the rest of the towns and its industrial career rose vertiginously.

 

As we can see in the following data, the manufacture of guns skyrockets:

in 1887, 130,000 pieces were manufactured.
in 1900, 200,000 pieces
in 1908, 484,000 pieces

First world war

The First World War (1914-1919) brought a large number of orders and at its end Eibar experienced one of the strongest crises. Stored stocks that could not be sold, American tariffs that prevented the exportation of Eibar arms to the United States and the non-officiality in the testing of our arms compared to other European countries, made the sale more and more difficult, creating a great competition in the markets.

This situation led to the search for new elements taking advantage of the armorer’s technology. This is the period of the reconversion. Thus, companies such as “Gárate, Anitua y Cía”, “Beistegui Hermanos” and “Orbea Hermanos”, went from manufacturing short arms to the production of bicycles. Other companies such as “Alfa” preferred to adjust to the sewing machine and “Olave, Solozabal y Cía” turned to office material. It can be said that this is the maximum example of survival and industrial transformation that this locality has given in the face of adversities.

The diversification of products produced from the 50’s onwards are the reference of the enterprising and dynamic character of Eibar.

On the other hand, this industry has suffered several crises from which it has always been decimated but not annihilated. Towards the 80’s, the iron and steel crisis that hit the whole sector also had a negative effect on the arms industry. Some of the companies unified to form a reconverted group, but that failed and a decade later the period of recovery and reestablishment began.

Today

Today this sector is very small in number, although its production includes luxury hunting weapons. The pieces manufactured annually are scarce but their quality is excellent.

It is noteworthy that even after five centuries have passed since the first news of manufacture, the handmade gun production system remains almost intact if it were not for the mechanization phases. The rest is still made by hand, with each individual respecting his or her specialty as a cannoneer, breech maker, tipper and assembler.

Woodpigeons hunting in the heart of the Basque Country, on the foothills of the Pyrenees mountains

Every fall, whenever the wind blows from the north or east, the sky of Etxalar witnesses the passing of thousands of pigeons. More than 600 years ago, a shepherd got into the habit of throwing stones at them. Seeing that they descended, a bishop encouraged him to place nets to catch them. And so was born the “pigeon netting”, a unique form of hunting, unique in Spain.

Throughout its history it has had luxury spectators such as the Emperor Napoleon III or the Kings Alfonso XII and XIII. Know a day, it has been declared an Asset of Cultural Interest.

With paddles resembling hawks, pennants, turtles and nets, this is how the traditional pigeon hunting with nets is carried out in Etxalar.

The hunter on the lookout tower gives the warning. He has sighted doves. He makes the signal with the pennant. The “paleteros” then throw the paddles to make the pigeon flock descend and direct them towards the nets and… when the pigeons are low, they throw the net. That is why in Etxalar the pigeons are not counted by units, but by dozens.

During the hunting season, guided visits are made to the dovecotes to see “in situ” this ancestral and peculiar way of hunting. This tradition can also be seen on Dovecote Day, an open day in which the people of Etxalar show their most precious tradition.

Treaty of Lizaieta

Every year, at the end of September, the Treaty of Lizaieta is commemorated. The countdown to the hunting season begins.

The Treaty of Lizaieta dates back to 1856, but had three documented milestones in 1959, 1984 and 1990.

It was on September 4, 2011 when the mayors of Etxalar and Sara recovered that Treaty of understanding. Since then, every year, when October approaches, they renew the signature with a party on the hill of Lizaieta. A day of twinning between both localities that allows to preserve this ancestral hunting practice.

 

Of course the wild pigeon is hunted for its meat. It is one of the best birds to eat both in sauce and grilled over charcoal. It is a reddish meat with a lot of flavor since this bird only feeds on natural products such as acorns or corn.

I invite you to try it if you come to the Basque Country in autumn.

 

 

The weather in the Basque Country and Northern Spain is different than the rest of Spain.

The typical weather a tourists thinks of when they travel to Spain is dry and sunny, and it is true, but not in the north. On the Cantabrian coast the weather is cooler and rainy due to the Atlantic sea that bathes the northern coast of Spain. In these latitudes the Atlantic Sea is a cold sea so its influence is felt in the summer. On the other hand, in the winter the sea does not get as cold as the atmosphere thats why we also have winters with mild temperatures. Rain is never absent so if you come to the Basque Country you will see that everywhere you look everything is green.

So, while in the rest of Spain in summer it can be 100 degrees F, in the north we are at about 80 degrees F.

In the north of Spain the climate is Atlantic while in the rest of Spain it is a more continental Mediterranean climate. In other words, if a tourist wants to avoid the heat during the summer months the Basque Country and the north in general is the best option.

In addition to a perfect temperature we have beautiful beaches, mountains and villages to visit. Of course, the famous Basque gastronomy is always a great attraction.

 

Hello everyone! I want to tell you about Ernest Hemingway. Surely many of you have read some of his masterpieces, such as “The sun also rises”, “For Whom the Bell Tolls” or “The Old Man and the Sea”. But did you know that Hemingway had a very special relationship with Spain? Yes, friends, this genius of letters fell in love with our country and visited it on several occasions, leaving his mark in places like Pamplona, Madrid, Burguete or San Sebastian. In this post I am going to tell you a little more about Hemingway’s life and work in Spain, and I invite you to follow his footsteps through the north of our geography. Are you in?

Hemingway came to Spain for the first time in 1923, when he was a young journalist in search of adventure and excitement. He was attracted by Spanish culture, especially bullfighting and popular festivals. That is how he came to know the Sanfermines of Pamplona, a celebration that captivated him and that he captured in his novel “The sun also rises”, published in 1926. In this work, Hemingway narrates the adventures of a group of foreign friends who travel to Pamplona to enjoy the running of the bulls, the bullfights and the festive atmosphere. The novel was a success and turned Pamplona into an international tourist destination. Today, you can follow Hemingway’s route through the city, visiting places such as the Café Iruña, the Hotel La Perla or the Plaza de Toros.

ernest-heminway-spain

But Hemingway did not only stay in Pamplona. He also explored other areas of northern Spain, such as Navarra, La Rioja or the Basque Country. He liked to fish for trout in the Pyrenean rivers, taste the local gastronomy and stay in charming rural houses. One of his favorite places was Burguete, a village in Navarre where he stayed several times at the Hotel Burguete. There he wrote part of his novel “The sun also rises”. Another obligatory stop was San Sebastian, the elegant coastal city where Hemingway enjoyed the sea, the beach and the pintxos. It is said that he used to frequent the bar La Cepa, the restaurant Casa Nicolasa or the Hotel María Cristina.

Hemingway returned to Spain in 1936, but this time with a very different motive: to cover the Civil War as a correspondent. He settled in Madrid, at the Hotel Florida, and from there he sent his chronicles of the conflict. He also actively participated in the Republican cause, supporting the international brigadists and collaborating with filmmaker Joris Ivens in the documentary “Land of Spain”. His war experience inspired him to write another of his great novels: “For Whom the Bell Tolls”, published in 1940. In this work, Hemingway tells the story of an American soldier fighting against the fascists in the mountains of Segovia.

After the war, Hemingway returned to Spain several more times, always faithful to his passion for bullfighting and fiestas.

Ernest Hemingway San Sebastian

Hemingway in Spain: One of Hemingway’s favorite destinations in Spain was Hemingway San Sebastian, a coastal city in the Basque Country known for its picturesque beaches and delicious pintxos.

One of the iconic locations associated with Hemingway in Spain is Pamplona, where he attended the famous San Fermín festival. Hemingway’s experiences in Pamplona inspired his novel “The Sun Also Rises,” capturing the essence of the bullfighting culture and the lively atmosphere of the festival.

Madrid was another significant city in Hemingway’s Spanish adventures. He frequented the literary and social scenes of the Spanish capital, immersing himself in the vibrant culture of cafes, bullfights, and flamenco music. Hemingway’s time in Madrid influenced his writing and deepened his connection to Spain.

Hemingway spain locations

One of the iconic locations associated with Hemingway in Spain is Pamplona, where he attended the famous San Fermín festival. Hemingway’s experiences in Pamplona inspired his novel “The Sun Also Rises,” capturing the essence of the bullfighting culture and the lively atmosphere of the festival.

Madrid was another significant city in Hemingway’s Spanish adventures. He frequented the literary and social scenes of the Spanish capital, immersing himself in the vibrant culture of cafes, bullfights, and flamenco music. Hemingway’s time in Madrid influenced his writing and deepened his connection to Spain.

In the picturesque town of Ronda, Hemingway found inspiration for his novel “For Whom the Bell Tolls.” The dramatic landscapes of Ronda, with its deep gorge and historic bullring, captivated Hemingway’s imagination and provided the backdrop for the intense story of love and war set during the Spanish Civil War.

Barcelona also played a role in Hemingway’s Spanish journey. He explored the vibrant streets of the city, soaking in the artistic and bohemian atmosphere that inspired many of his works. Hemingway’s experiences in Barcelona added another layer of richness to his portrayal of Spain in his writing.

Seville, with its romantic architecture and passionate flamenco performances, left a lasting impression on Hemingway. The city’s timeless beauty and cultural richness influenced his writing, especially in works like “Death in the Afternoon,” where he delved into the world of bullfighting and the essence of Spanish traditions.

San Fermin festival

Today I want to talk to you about the San Fermin festival, one of the most popular and fun celebrations in the world. Do you know what they consist of and why they are held? Well, keep reading, I’m going to tell you all about it.

When does the festival of san fermin take place?

The festivities of San Fermin are held every year from July 6th to 14th in Pamplona, the capital of Navarra in Spain. They are in honor of San Fermin of Amiens, the first bishop of the city and co-patron of the region. According to tradition, Saint Fermin baptized thousands of people in the 3rd century and died a martyr in France.

But what makes these festivities famous is not only their religious aspect, but also their festive and multicultural atmosphere. For nine days, Pamplona is filled with people from all over the world who come to enjoy the music, the gastronomy, the fireworks and, above all, the running of the bulls.

The running of the bulls is the most emblematic and exciting event of the Sanfermines. They consist of a race of about 850 meters through the streets of the old town, in which participants run in front of six brave bulls and six steers that guide them to the bullring. The running of the bulls takes place every day at eight o’clock in the morning, from July 7 to 14, and lasts between two and four minutes.

The running of the bulls in San Fermin

The running of the bulls is a very old tradition that dates back to the 14th century, when the shepherds had to drive the cattle to the bullring for the bullfights. Over time, some young men were encouraged to run in front of the animals to demonstrate their bravery and skill. Thus was born this unique spectacle that has inspired writers like Ernest Hemingway, who described it in his novel “The Sun Also rises”.

But not everyone can or wants to run the running of the bulls. It must be taken into account that it is a very dangerous activity that requires a good physical and mental shape. In addition, you have to respect some rules and some chants that are made before each race to ask for protection to the saint. For this reason, many people prefer to watch the running of the bulls from their balconies or on television.

But beyond the bulls, there are many other activities that can be done during the Sanfermines. For example, you can attend the procession on July 7th, in which the image of San Fermin is carried through the streets; you can enjoy the giants and big-heads, papier-mâché figures representing different races and continents; you can dance to the rhythm of the charangas and the peñas, musical groups that liven up the festival; or you can taste the rich Navarrese gastronomy, with typical dishes such as chistorra, ajoarriero or cuajada.

The most important thing to experience the Sanfermines is to wear the typical costume: white T-shirt and pants, with a red scarf and a red sash. The scarf is worn around the neck after the chupinazo, the rocket that starts the festivities on July 6 at 12 noon from the balcony of the town hall. The handkerchief is removed with el pobre de mí, a song that is sung on the night of July 14 to bid farewell to the fiestas.

I recommend everyone to experience the fiestas of San Fermin at least once in a lifetime.

https://youtu.be/cQzmlgPvuLY

Pamplona festival

The San Fermín festival in Pamplona is a traditional Spanish event celebrated in honor of San Fermín, the patron saint of Navarre.

One of the main highlights of the festival is the famous running of the bulls, where participants run through the streets of Pamplona alongside these powerful animals.

Thousands of people from all over the world gather in Pamplona to take part in this thrilling event, which has gained international recognition over the years.

The festival also includes traditional music, dances, and bullfights, creating a vibrant and lively atmosphere in the city.

Visitors can immerse themselves in the cultural richness of Pamplona during the festival, enjoying local cuisine, art, and traditions.

As we have said many times, la rioja is not only wine, it also has great attractions such as its rich heritage and nature. This time we did a very nice tour around the area of Haro and Briñas. We were able to taste some of the best wines in the area and eat a fantastic lamb. Also, we had time to visit the wonderful little villages, their churches, streets and fountains. Everything was beautiful around us. It is undoubtedly a special place in Rioja, especially if you visit the non-touristy areas as you can see in this little clip.

We look forward to showing our clients these interesting places because we enjoy our culture and heritage as much as our clients do.

We would like to invite you to discover for yourselves so much beauty and of course enjoy the wine and the gastronomy.

We are waiting for you!

Link here to watch video

https://youtube.com/shorts/Yyq5aM-WLrA?feature=share

closest airport to san sebastian

Sold for 1600€ to Rekondo restaurant in San Sebastian

This first specimen (lehenbiziko in Basque language) was caught in the Bidasoa river by a local fisherman and was bought as is tradition by the Rekondo restaurant in San Sebastian. The specimen weighed 4.4 kg and was caught by spoon at the Endarlatsa dam.

The Atlantic salmon fishing in the Basque Country is very restrictive and several permits are needed to fish. Salmon specie is in a recovery phase in our rivers, so its fishing is very limited. In the past, salmon fishing was a very important resource for the people in the Basque Country and northern Spain, but overfishing, river pollution and hydraulic dams made it disappear. Decades ago the government developed a very ambitious plan for its recovery.

Today the rivers are very clean thanks to the water purification plants, and the old dams that prevented the salmon from going up the rivers have been destroyed. Fishing quotations are very controlled and only 5% of the total number of fish returning from the sea for spawning are allowed to be caught. In my opinion, there is still a lot to be done to enjoy fishing in our rivers. We lack more ecological policies that educate the river populations on how to take care of the environment in order to enjoy it to the full. Still, unfortunately, it is normal to see children throwing plastic on the ground or plastic waste from an industrial park thrown all over the river bank. This makes my blood boil and these are very important issues that should be addressed.

On the other hand, we have to be happy about the current situation of our rivers. It is a situation with room for improvement but today it is very satisfactory for sport fishermen. Numerous catches of brown trout and sea trout can be made. The capture of salmon is always more complicated due to the limited number of specimens and their feeding habits.

The policy for trout and sea trout is catch and release, for salmon a special permit is needed and there is a limitation on the number of catches with death.

We will continue to fight to improve the quality of our rivers for us and for future generations and in my opinion education is a determining factor in this conservation process.