Well, here I am, visiting San Sebastian for the second time in my life. I am blown away by this place. So much so, I have sent some of my closest friends a picture I took of the harbour with my mobile phone. I can't wait to see my phone bill when I get back.
Google has some wonderful pictures of this magnificent place - perhaps you'll agree with my feelings about its beauty and appeal?
I picture myself here, in a little one-bedroom piso (apartment) opposite the Playa de la Concha, admiring the view of the bay with its little Isla de Santa Clara in the middle. Perhaps, spending my time contemplating and writing in my spare time.
I see a lot of English schools around San Sebastian. Perhaps they'd like an Australian English teacher? My curiosity got the better of me... I decided to pay a visit to an Immobiliaria, a real estate agent. I asked him if it was possible to buy property here without being a Spanish citizen. Oh dear... it's not necessary to be a citizen. I persisted with my questions.
Prices, best locations for breath-taking views, buildings with lifts... Interest rates here? A pro: 1.5% - my jaw dropped. A con: 1 in 5 Spaniards are unemployed at present. Portugal, its neighbour, just asked the EU for a financial bail-out, as it hasn't been able to cope since the world's GFC. There is speculation here that Spain will follow shortly, although Zapatero and the rest of the gobierno has emphatically stated that it'll manage on its own.
I have decided to buy a Tatts ticket, and see what happens. Life could be a dream, as the ads remind me. It can't hurt... buying a quick pick, and seeing if an apartment here is possible.
Another observation I have made here... there are motorcycles and scooters galore! Far less cars... THEY have to avoid the bikes, not the other way around. A paradise for the likes of me.
I have been far more attentive here. I don't get the jist of what is being said as I have in other places in Spain we've visited thus far. The people here speak two languages: Spanish and Basque. Basque is radically different from Spanish - I have not been able to pick up one similarity yet. I found out from a female taxi-driver that "thank-you" is esquerricasko, pronounced "ehs-care-ees-cah-skoh". The same word in Spanish is gracias - very different, don't you agree?
The people here can be confronting at first. They are stern, looking as though you approach them at your peril. But once you work up the courage to do so, they are very friendly, and happily talk about their home and culture proudly. It's worth overcoming the initial fearfulness of possibly bothering them and interrupting their routine. Hotel staff included!
The weather here has been perfect. This is unusual for this time of year, I am told by the locals. The last time I was here was in May, 2005, the beginning of Spain's Summer. The weather, then, was slightly overcast, with a maximum temperature of 24 degrees celcius. The last two days here have been in the early 30s. The skies have been crystal clear, and when we reached the top of Monte Igeldo after a ride on the funicular to look out over the bay and the island, we could see the French border in the distance.
So, prices to live here? Hmmm... let's just say that I still have a few years of working in Australia before I can even consider such a purchase or move. As I wrote earlier... the Tatts tickets are looking mighty appealing. Also, I will gladly take donations of charity to support a worthy cause. ;)
Hasta la vista, mis amigos!