We left Madrid in the morning, with Kevin driving a mini Cooper stick shift. We first drove to The Valley of the Fallen monument, which is essentially a Catholic church carved into a mountain, including a monastery. It was built by Francisco Franco after the Spanish Civil War to “atone” for thousands of Spanish deaths. In fact, 40,000 people are buried underneath the area. It was built in the 20th century, but purposefully in an old gothic-type style, to withstand the test of time. It was easy to see the Catholics who came to worship there reverenced it.
We continued on to San Sebestian, which is really a resort town on the northern coast of Spain. It was absolutely beautiful: the atmosphere, the perfect weather, the architecture and the coast. We took a short hike to an old fortress, built in the 1800s. It overlooked the bay and a large portion of the city. Pretty amazing views.
After hiking around the city and along the coast, we got dinner. AT 8 PM… Although I’m sure I’ve heard the tales of Spanish culture with the siesta and subsequent late nights, I didn’t really get it until experiencing it… both in Madrid and now San Sebastian. I don’t get it. I hate eating late and staying up late, even though my internal sleep clock is all messed up right now anyway. We did have some amazing food though! Incredibly delicious burgers, soup, salad. NOT American style. Incredible local bacon and cheese.