Subject: Re: RE: San Sebastian Spain ?
We visited Hondarribia last April staying at the parador in the old town. Loved it! The Marina neighborhood just below the old town was bustling with activity; lots of great shops (especially the wine shop on the NW corner of San Kristobal Plaza) and pintxos bars (be sure and try the cider while in the Basque Country). Hendaye across the border (Rio Bidasoa) looked intriguing and we would have gone if time had permitted it.

If you go to Hondarribia I highly recommend returning along the coast road through Jaizkibel, the mountainous headland looming over Hondarribia to the east. Absolutely beautiful views up and down the coast from France to San Sebastian.

- Direction Bilbao, you will find Zarauz, Zumaia or Getaria. Donīt miss them.

Didn't make it to these towns on the Costa Vasca but did pass through Mundaka. A world reknown surf break that this southern California surfer felt compelled to visit. I've had friends spend weeks in this town waiting for that North Atlantic swell to roll in forming one of the best waves on the European continent. The river that flows out here (and the accompanying ría; a fjord-like geograhic formation) makes for a spectacular setting.

- Why donīt go to Bilbao? I know, I know, big city, a bit too many traffic jams, but, I think we are a fine day trip from San Sebastian (they are the french, we are the british). And you donīt need to visit the Guggenheim to spend a nice day.

Exactly. Why not go to Bilbao? We did. Saw the Guggenheim but didn't tour the exhibition. I had an espresso at the cafe. The chef at the restaurant there is one of the finest in Spain. But, as Covadonga can attest to, there is no shortage of fine cuisine in the Basque Country. In fact, outstanding chefs just might be one of the major exports from the region. Take a sampling of chef's names from the finest restaurants throughout Spain and you'll find alot of Basque surnames.

The Guggenheim building is worth seeing, although my wife preferred the huge floral sculpture entitled The Puppy that sits out front. The museum we visited and thoroughly enjoyed in Bilbao was the Museo Vasco in the Casco Viejo. An outstanding ethnographic musem about the Basque people.

Finally, in Bilbao you'll find a wonderful array of pintxos bars. We had the incredible pleasure of being introduced to these great restaurants by Covadonga. Unfortunately, my notes are temporarily unavailable but I do recall several were on the Plaza Nueva in the Casco Viejo (Old Quarter) and a wonderful café, the Cafe Iruņa near Abando.

John Rule San Diego, CA