Wednesday, 31 October 2007

San Sebastian: surfing and speaking Spanish...

outgoing tide II
Originally uploaded by patfoz.

...people with lisps need not apply.

Despite the fact I didn't grow up surfing, and haven't had even a walk on part in an episode of Home and Away (it's surprising how many Brits will believe that one), I find myself missing the beach more than most things. Yes, even Coogee.

Having gone since January without seeing a wave, or even proper sand (Cyprus came close, but just didn't cut it), I decided I needed a beach trip, even if I had to go on my own. Unfortunately, most 'beach getaways' sold in the UK feature horrible resorts, packed with horrible Brits, sporting even more horrible lobster-red tans. So I opted for a trip that offered Spanish language courses along with surf lessons, safe in the knowledge that most Brits would run a mile before speaking in the local tongue.

Turned out I was right. When I made it to San Seb and found the hostel that would be home for the week, almost everyone else booked in was an Aussie or Kiwi. Travelling alone is always a risk (what if you end up sharing a hostel room with a complete weirdo, or worse still, what if everyone else avoids you because YOU are the weird one in the room), but when it throws you in amongst a group of like minded travellers, it can be the best way to go. The rag tag bunch of would-be surfers and linguists quickly bonded over a few drinks, and formed fast friendships during our morning surf sessions, afternoon language lessons, and night-time shenanigans. Personal highlights include but are not limited to: nearly starting a fight in a salsa club by throwing my partner into another couple; eating and drinking ourselves stupid at the cider house; dancing on a floor of broken glass at San Seb's cheesiest night spot; and the blood, sweat and not-quite-tears when Troy and I tried our hand at mountain biking on our last free day.

All in all, a great trip that has probably now ruined Spain for me - no other trip there could match it. Thanks to all my fellow travellers for making it what it was. and teaching me about getting ham sambo'd.