arrivals: san sebastian / donostia

The 7-hour local train to San Sebastian is a trip.  It is the train to Irun. About an hour outside of Donostia, the arid red clay courts of Spain turn to a lush, mountainous green.

When the moment came to jump into this scenery from the train platform, I forgot the weight of all my possessions stuffed into a tiny backpack. The setting sun gave me a familiar sense of urgency to get to the beach before the ocean's forms were covered in darkness. I stepped furiously in any direction, until, realizing my error, I overcame my shyness to ask in a painful accent, "Donde esta la playa Zurriola?".

San Sebastian follows a beautiful design around the coastline. There are three beaches. Two are placid, swimming shores separated by a wall, and the last, Zurriola, the surfing beach, lies on the other side of a  river and is exposed to rough ocean. Flanking Zurriola is the Gros neighborhood, a culture of its own within the Basque city, filled with surf shops and sunburnt pagans, both local and not. 

A black wetsuit zipped past me with a shortboard stowed on one side of his bicycle, and I felt relief. After thousands of miles, I must be in the right place.