Sunday, March 6, 2011

Weekend Trip #6- The North of Spain: San Sebastian and Biarritz, France

After spending Wednesday night in Bilbao, we continued north to the beach town of San Sebastian on the coast of the Bay of Biscay, right below France. We spent a couple of nights there and got to spend as much time as we wanted playing on the beach in this cute little beach town. As much as I love seeing history and touring cathedrals and castles, it was a nice break in our typical pace to have the entire weekend for free time to hang out at the beach. Below are pics of the San Sebastian coast:

The Bay of Biscay that eventually connects with the Atlantic!

One of San Sebastian's beaches at night

As I've spent time near the beach this weekend, I realized that this place has wanted me to bring out my inner mermaid. Let's count the reasons how the North has brought out my inner Ariel:

1: I saw Max, Prince Eric's dog on the beach in San Sebastian

2: We found a Little Mermaid rock

All I need is a tail and my conch bra I left in the states, and I'd be set

3: And if you didn't need any more proof: this painting was on a merry-go-round in a plaza in Bilbao

Back to pictures of San Sebastian's beautiful beach:

Michelle snapped this on the first take--can I get a "wop-wop"?!

After we played on the beach, Becca drew a portrait of all of us

From left to right: Ash, Michelle, Becca, Me and Katy

Michelle, Becca and Me=the three besties!

These two boys who saw us gazing at Becca's artwork and decided to come down and meet us and see what we were gazing at. Meet Julen and Jon (with the sword). After talking with then for a while and practicing English and Spanish tongue twisters, they asked us for our names. Now, from experience, I know that Spaniards have pronouncing "Chelsey", so I've adopted the Spanish name of ConcepciĆ³n (I'm sure you can guess that it means conception). When I told them my Spanish name they refused to believe that it was my name, so finally I told them it was Chelsey, which they butchered, but after a moment they realized that it's like the British futbol (soccer) team Chelsea, which Jon told me was beautiful and a name he'd never forget. So now I know that I just need to say that my name is the British futbol team, and we're golden.

A crazy boy who decided to strip and run and dive into the numbing water, swim around for a couple minutes and then run out. Muy loco!

Friday morning our big group left San Sebastian for Biarritz, France, another beach town along the Bay of Biscay that was only 45 minutes away from where we were staying. Even though this past weekend was overcast and foggy, I was in LOVE, and it totally had the feel of Monterey! The weather was perfect for going to the beach (at least for me) because of the foggy weather. If you didn't know it before, I'm not the biggest fan of the beach, but when I am I love cold beaches because a): I don't have to slather my body in SPF 70 and/or zinc oxide, b): I don't have to worry about my skin frying and can therefore enjoy my time playing, and c): I grew up going to Northern California beaches (which are mainly cold year-round) so there's a little nostalgia that's thrown in.

The beach in Biarritz, France

Mom and Aunt Sue, this pic is for you. Doesn't the lighthouse on the coast remind you of Maine?

If you look closely, you can see that the black dots in the water are actually surfers.

A little secret about Becca: she fails at taking jumping pics--don't worry though, she knows and accepts this as fact. I believe that while this picture was happening, I had just told Becca something to the effect of: "Just hold the shutter down and hopefully we'll get one! You can do it!"

Attempt #17: nope

Attempt #18: still nope, though 7.6 points from the French judge for an awesome pic of my graceful landing

Attempt #23: Yes! Go Becca! And btw, this pic is proof that my pants are too big for me, even after being belted. Epic win!

Attempt #24: Pretty landing, but no dice on the jumping.

Becca decided to capture me in my "natural state" in this photo as well as the next couple of pics.

And on the last attempt of the jumping pics (I think we're up to attempt #72 by this point), Becca got it! Go Becca!

A nice group shot that lasts about 2 frames and then quickly escalates into:

this. Which then becomes:

this. Which then ends up with:

Becca running at my camera.

After the beach, we got to take a tour of the Chocolate Museum before we left Biarritz. I feel like Grandpa Clay would have bought half the store; even our tickets into the museum were chocolate.

Me drinking the free hot chocolate that's made of 100% cacao. A little bitter, but still sweet and delicious.

After spending the day in France, we returned to our hotel in San Sebastian for the night before we left the next morning to return home. The cool thing about this past weekend is that it was Carnaval weekend, which is like the Catholic Halloween, so I got to see a lot of costumes, and a LOT of cross-dressers, especially old men cross-dressers, whose images I will never be able to remove from my brain.

Hitler. I saw Hitler at Carnaval, which was a little awkward.

I though the Pope frowned upon cross-dressing?

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