It’s been Carnaval this weekend all over Spain and San Sebastian is no exception. To be honest, if you’re in the Basque Country on these dates it’s probably best to head to Tolosa where they live the festivities with far more passion than here. And you really have to LIVE Carnaval for it to be in any way interesting. I have to admit I’m not a huge fan in general although this is the year I’ve most enjoyed cause getting my kids dressed up was a lot of fun. But like Justin Beiber, High School Musical and Smallville, its something obviously designed for 15 year old girls, but from which it’s very difficult to escape! I’m sure Carnaval is incredible in Cádiz, Tenerife and the Canary Islands. Rio must be amazing. But in San Sebastian its very much one of the lesser celebrations and feels it.
Much more interesting for me is the latest marketing campaign from the tourist board. The town hall and local government have got together to promote tourism in the traditionally quieter month of March. Under the title of “Gastronomic March” (as in the month, not like parade!!) workshops and excursions have been arranged to promote “tourism experiences” with food as the main focus. This includes routes through the old part to get to know the miniature cuisine, wines and most characteristic products, pintxo workshops, and typical Basque dishes, wine tasting and even excursions to cider house restaurants, rioja vinyards, the Ordizia fair or coastal towns. “A way for tourists to discover the Basque Culture through its tastes and smells” goes the blurb.
They have created a reservation centre specifically for this which will allow visitors to get to know the full offering with “just one click”. Sounds great, unfortunately the combined might of the Town Hall and local government haven’t managed to translate their 250 word press release into any language other than Spanish or Euskera. And their reservations web site doesn’t work. I’ve included the links below anyway in case they manage to sort themselves out cause it sounds like a good initiative.
I’m also hearing that on the 27th of June San Sebastian will present its case for being awarded the European City of Culture Award in 2016. They are up against stiff opposition from other Spanish cities such as Segovia, Cuenca, Pamplona, Santander, Tarragon and err, Alcalá de Henrares (huh? is that even a city?). The following day, at around 17.00 the decision will be announced. I’d encourage anyone who has visited this wonderful city to show their support for the bid on the official website – www.sansebastian2016.eu.