One of the best things about Spain is its very laid-back, friendly and fun culture. We made a few fast friends, for example, at a bar called Gato Negro in the Gracia neighborhood of Barcelona. We found the place when we happened on a pair of best friends while wandering the neighborhood – Sinead from Ireland and Flavia from Argentina; you can’t make this stuff up – and asked them if they knew where we could get a drink nearby. They were apparently honorary Spaniards and told us to come along with them, and when we walked through the little door the atmosphere changed from quiet residential neighborhood to happening bar scene. We had a blast chatting with everyone. There were people there from all over the world and we were all communicating in whatever way we could manage.
San Sebastian, however, is the town where we really felt welcomed. Leire, the owner of the Pension des Bellas Artes, was the friendliest and most helpful person we met on the trip. She drew us maps, gave us lots of information, and kept us chatting about everything for far too long and we loved it because of her irresistible warmth. (As an aside, it was very difficult for Sherpa to pronounce her name. The only way I could explain it to him was to tell him to say “layaway” fast and replace the W with a flipped R. So now when he refers to her, she’s just Layaway.)
Leire recommended a bunch of tapas restaurants to us, but by the end of our stay in San Sebastian, we were DESPERATE for anything but tapas. We found a really nice place named Patxi Aizpuru with real plated meals. But Spanish humor still reigns in fancy restaurants. I thought I’d share the bathroom signs from this place.