At 9 in the morning we set out for a winery in Zarautz. Drinking in the United States versus drinking in Spain is very different, especially amongst younger people. In the United States, binge drinking on occasion is common whereas in Spain people 18 and older drink frequently, sometimes everyday, but they do it in smaller amounts. Over here in Europe the use of alcohol is a lot more laid back.
The scenery around the winery was absolutely amazing with a view of the ocean on one side and the vine covered mountain side on the other. The amazing location of the Txakolindegi was completed with a tiny guard dog who came out to bark at everyone as you walked in. Another student learned the hard way that even though most of the dogs here are unleashed, they are not always friendly. Our morning started off with a good laugh after she was chased by the dog.
Once the tour started we learned that this was a fifth generation winery. We were able to see, through pictures, the life of the grapes and vines in different stages of the year. Every September the grapes are picked and prepared to be made into wine. After the selection process of the grapes, they are put into machines that get all the juice out of them before being made into wine and eventually stored in one of 16 huge barrels. These barrels store the wine at ten degrees to keep it fresh throughout the year. One by one the barrels are emptied and the wine is bottled. The white wine is the most common for them and the rosè was new (and my personal favorite).
Following the tour we stepped onto a gorgeous terrace with a view of the whole vineyard topped off with a table full of food and wine. After everyone received a glass of the white Txakoli, we had a toast. In that moment I remember thinking about how lucky I was to share such an incredible experience with 10 of my new friends. Even after only being here for a week, Spain has introduced me to new friends and has opened my eyes to many things about the world I didn’t know were out there.
Obviously besides eating too much bread and sipping on the delicious wine we had to do a photo shoot. Before setting off for the winery, our professor said the view was too good to pass up for a new profile picture, and he was right. You can’t get much better than what we had. Our chorizo and cheese was washed down with our second kind of wine which was the rosé. I loved the rosé, especially the color. When the constant pictures and go pro videos came to an end, we wrapped up by buying our favorite wine. We stood at the counter trying to do the math to figure out how many bottles of wine we could squeeze into our suitcases without pushing the weight over 50 pounds.
On our way to Getaria, we were able to fit in a quick nap after getting stuck in the middle of a bike race. Getaria was a beautiful town where we saw the statue of Juan Sebastian de Elcano. He was technically the first person to circumnavigate the globe because Magellan died in the Philippines before returning home. We stopped for some food and of course I got pinxtos because they’re delicious and then topped it off with some gelato. Getaria is right on the coast and it’s filled with cool looking ships, including a replica of the ship that Magellan and Elcano were on. The streets were filled with restaurants that had outside grills so you can smell the charcoal as you walk by.
Our final stop of the day was Zumaia. If you are a Game of Thrones fan, you’re going to be jealous. We hiked deep into the cliffs along the coast to see the breathtaking rock formations. I’ve never seen Game of Thrones before, but apparently this is the spot where some really good scenes were shot because the background is so beautiful. We took a break from our complaining about the hike in sandals and dresses for our second photo shoot of the day. It’s hard to tell which background was the best. It was a lot of great things to see in one day.
San Sebastián is gorgeous and so are many of the surrounding towns and cities. The streets are filled with people from all around the world that are dying to get a taste of the world renowned food and a spot on the beach to enjoy La Concha. As I finish my last two weeks here in Spain I’m going to continue to try new things and see everything San Sebastián has to offer with my new friends by my side.