Wednesday Wander – San Sebastian Beaches

It’s Wednesday and time for my weekly wander. This week we’re heading to Donostia San Sebastian, in the Basque country region of Spain. Donostia is the Basque name for the city, and is another way of saying San Sebastian – in honour of the dual heritage of the city, both names are used.

I visited earlier this year and fell under its spell straight away. The gorgeous old buildings and curving golden beaches were like a scene from a story – it was hard to believe people were lucky enough to live in such a place.

This is the iconic La Concha beach, the best known of the city’s beaches, voted the second best city beach in the world by Travel and Leisure magazine. A well- deserved award, I think. As you can see, it’s pretty popular – the clear green waves and golden sand make it a wonderful spot to lounge and take photographs during the day.

At night the beach changes, the deckchairs folded away, the entrance to the bay a perfect frame for glorious sunsets.

I sat for a half hour or so on the cool sand, watching the light change across the water, gold to red to violet, hardly able to take in such beauty.  Dark silhouettes danced at the water’s edge, the illuminated statue of Jesus on Monte Urgull seeming to watch over it all.

Day and night, the ornate promenade was full of people, families and couples and young people, all walking, laughing, enjoying the view. There are several small restaurants built into the seawall itself – one of them made excellent pizza, and was a fantastic place to watch the waves and people passing by.

Another city beach in San Sebastian is Zurriola, which is on the other side of Monte Urgull. This beach is wilder, the waves popular with surfers, although it is safe for swimming in parts, the Spanish lifeguards using a flag system similar to that we were used to in Australia. We visited La Zurriola most days – it was less crowded, yet easy to get to with ample parking nearby. I actually got dumped by a wave the first day there, scraping my knee – haven’t done that in years! Oh, and apparently, Zurriola is also somewhere you can hang ten in the buff, should you choose to – one of several beaches in Europe which allow nude surfing! Just remember to apply plenty of sunscreen 😉

When I began writing this Wander, I’d thought I would write a single post about San Sebastian. But, when I began writing about the beaches, they seemed to merit a post of their own. It seems certain that I’ll be wandering back to San Sebastian, both on this blog and (I hope) in real life too.

Thanks for coming on another Wednesday Wander with me! See you next time 🙂


If you enjoyed this post and would like to read more, you can find me on Twitter @AuthorHelenJFacebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Plus my latest book release, A Thousand Rooms, is now available on Amazon. Visit my Amazon Author Page to see more.

#writephoto – The Wasting

Sue Vincent runs a wonderful writing prompt, #writephoto, each week, using her own photography as inspiration. Maybe it’s the snot monster talking, or maybe, once again, Sue has come up with a great image, but as soon as I saw this week’s photo I heard the first line of a story. And here it is:

‘So that’s the last of it then, is it?’

‘Well, yes.’ I shuffled sideways, as though I could hide the patch of green. ‘I’ve used all of it.’

Master Pinchface advanced on me, bony finger extended. ‘And you call this a Wasting then, do you?’

‘Um.’ I looked around. I mean, the place did look pretty much like a wasteland. Or at least the start of one. The grass dead and tumbled, the soil rising as dust to the sky. Except for that one patch. ‘Well…’ My voice cracked, and I felt myself flush.

‘Let me get this straight.’ The Master glared at me, eyes red under his hood. ‘You were given, at great expense by the Council, a bag of Wasting dust. And your job, your only job, was to render this,’ he grimaced, waving his arm, ‘place,’ he spat the word, ‘a wasteland. Am I correct?’

I nodded. My mouth twisted and I shuffled a little further away. It hadn’t been my fault, really it hadn’t. But she had been so pretty, sitting there in her russet gown, wings all silvery like the moon on harvest night. I’d not had the heart to sprinkle the dust where she sat, combing her long dark hair and singing, her voice like chiming bells. And then when I remembered it was too late, the bag flapping empty in the wind. And now she was gone.

‘So tell me,’ the Master went on,’ what is the golden rule regarding a Wasting?’ He raised feathery eyebrows, shrivelled lips pursed.

I cleared my throat. ‘Um, the rule is, Let no green remain, or the land will grow again.’ I bit my lip. ‘I didn’t mean to,’ I went on. ‘And I think, well, it’s not too bad, is it?’

Not too bad?’ Master Pinchface’s voice rose to a shriek, tattered sleeves catching the wind. ‘You must be joking!’ He advanced on me, pointing his finger again. Too late I saw the tip had started to glow. The last thing I heard before my world went dark was laughter. Silvery, like bells on the wind.

———–

Master Pinchface moved forward, the pointed toe of his boot pushing at a pale stone lying on the grass, all that remained of the young apprentice. He shook his head. Taking a small bag from his pocket he opened it, spilling black dust that swirled across the small patch of green grass, turning it to brown. Now that, he thought with satisfaction, was a proper Wasting.


If you enjoyed this post and want to read more, you can find me on Twitter @AuthorHelenJFacebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Plus my latest book release, A Thousand Rooms, is now available on Amazon. Visit my Amazon Author Page to see more.