Subject: Northern Spain (restaurants,...)
Hi, David.

I have seen that some of the question have already been answered. The parador at Hondarribia is one of the few paradores without a restaurant. I guess that they rely on all the restaurants in the area...

Restaurants. I am writing down a few addresses, for the biggies in the S.S. area:

ZUBEROA - Hilario Arbelaitz Address: B. Iturriotz. 20180-Oiartzun (Gipúzcoa) Tel: 943491228 Close: sunday evening, monday, first two weeks in January, two weeks after Easter and last two weeks. Price: 10.000/14.000 ptas.

AKELARRE - Pedro Subijana Address: B. Igueldo. Paseo Padre Alcolaga, 56. 20008 San Sebastián Tel: 943212052 Fax: 943219258 Close: sunday evening, monday, from the 27th of September to 12th of October, and February Price: 10.000 / 15.000 ptas. Menú degustación: 10.200 ptas.

ARZAK Address: Alto de Miracruz, 21. 20015 San Sebastián (Guipúzcoa). Tel.: 94328 5593. Fax: 943272753 Close: sunday evening, monday, last two weeks in June and last three weeks in November Price: 11.000/15.000 pesetas Menú degustación: 10.800 pesetas

If I was to choose them, I would say Subijana, Arbelaitz and Arzak, in that order. As you plan to be there on a weekend, book in advance or ask the hotel to book it for you. If we are not talking Michelin stars and Michelin prices, I have a couple of restaurants to recommend you: Alcalde and Juanito Kojua. I like more Juanito Kojua, the fish dishes and the desserts (last year I had an apple flan that I still remember)... I write down the addresses:

CASA ALCALDE MAYOR Nº 19 943 426 216 SAN SEBASTIAN Price: 5000

JUANITO KOJUA PUERTO Nº 14 943 420 180 SAN SEBASTIAN Price: 5000 - 8000 / Close on Sundays

I don´t have any recommendation for pintxos. I would just begin in one street, and go ahead until I am full. All of them look so good.

Cider. The cider season begins at the end of January, beginning of February, and lasts till May. But now you can ask for cider at the bars all year long. It is a refreshing change of the beer or wine, a bit acidic, not so sweet as the english one. You can have it while you are out having a few pintxos, or you could ask for a Rioja.

If you are planning to come into Bilbao, unless you are travelling ahead to Santander, it is very easy (and better than drive) to do it by bus. The bus station in San Sebastian is located in Amara, and you can have buses every hour or every half an hour. They are cheap and comfortable, and when you arrive into Bilbao, you´ll find a tube station right there. It is much easier than travelling around and trying to find a parking place. If you are interested, tell me, and I´ll look for the timetables.

About Santander and Asturias, I´ll write later. I spent last Easter in Asturias (but I wouldn´t recommend the hotel), and I have a few good addresses at home.

Kind rgds from Covadonga in Bilbao (tomorrow it´s our birthday, 700 years already) - Spain