Pintxos & Paddleboards

When people ask what my hobbies include, I usually reply with simple things like hanging out with friends and eating. I really like to eat… and eat… and eat. That’s why the pintxo tour with a group of new friends through the stone streets of San Sebastián was my ideal afternoon.

After Spanish language class at Lacunza got out at 1:00, our pintxo group met Professor Z & Professor Conway at our usual McDonald’s meeting place and we set off for two and a half hours of some of the greatest food I’ve ever tasted. We  began at a corner pintxo bar that served the Gilda, which was the first ever pintxo ever created.

The Gilda consists of a pickled pepper, a pickled onion, an olive, and an anchovie all skewered on a toothpick. At first glance, anchovies are intimidating. Their gray/purple color is questionable to the eyes and their slimy appearance can easily make one apprehensive. However, when Julian told us they’re supposed to be eaten all in one bite, despite my anchovie anxiety, I dove right in. I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered they simply tasted like the vinegar peppers my parents eat with pork chops. This specific pintxo bar was also the only bar in Donostia to serve a mousse pinxto. I tried a sample forkful of the red pepper mousse, then proceeded to take the rest of it as well as the bread it was on and finish both.

After visiting countless pintxo bars and eating plates full of tiny deliciousness, a group of us had to leave early because we had signed up for the stand up paddle surf class at La Playa Concha. We took the short walk to the carousel by the ocean and met the rest of the paddle boarding class, then trekked down to the water. We were lead to a locker room-esque place under the Boardwalk filled with kayaks and surfboards and paddle boards. After getting our denim shorts off and our 50 SPF on, everyone in the class was given a paddle board and a paddle. The boards were carried to the sand via a blocked off portion of beach to avoid hitting sunbathers with 10 foot long boards.

After a quick demonstration in the sand of how to kneel, paddle, and most importantly, stand, we were off! Once knee-deep in the water, we got on our boards and kneeled so we could begin paddling out to deeper water. As soon as the water became a slightly darker shade of blue, my paddle was placed horizontal and perpendicular to my bent legs on the board as I pushed up and hopped to my feet as gracefully as one can while floating in the ocean. Surprisingly enough, I didn’t fall! I paddled slowly but surely following the instructors.

Once we made it out past most of the swimmers and a floating dock weighed down with children eager to slide or dive in the water, we all stopped. The instructors told us we would play a game where people try to get others off their board by pushing them with your paddle. Naturally, I did not enjoy this game, as I was an easy target for my friends. After falling once or twice, I threw in the towel and settled for swimming in the warm water for a bit.

The trek back to shore was made slightly more difficult by the off shore winds blowing against us. However, despite the obstacle, I committed to the sit down and row style, which got me farther than standing up on the way out.

All in all, I’d say July 3 was a huge thumbs up. Enjoying delicious pintxos with my class and professors followed by an hour paddle surfing (and only falling twice!), the day was an absolute success.

The world's first pintxo!

The world’s first pintxo!

Paddle Surfing

A countertop full of pintxos ready to be devoured!

A countertop full of pintxos ready to be devoured!