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San Sebastian Donostia

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And for those interested in prices of Champagne in San Sebastian supermarket - sorry about quality of pictures but all Champs behind glass:

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Sorry about delay in posting but it was a busy few last days in San Sebastian. Friday a storm hit and it just blew it's **** out - cleared the beach - by dinner time it was just unbearable to go outside so we ate in house in Restaurant in Hotel de Londres.

That had a menu of the day which runs Mon to Fri I think - 23 which include entrée / main / dessert - BARGAIN - all mains on main menu 18-23. There was steak on main and in special menu - I went and asked to view to check - steak on main meno sirloin / scotch fillet - steak on special menu solo millo / eye fillet - both portion 200gms - go figure - I went with menu of the day - Crepes with turkey and vegetables - real white turkey breast to boot - delicious - eye fillet cooked to perfection - cheese cake for dessert so so - plus you get free pour of house wine if that is what you want.

We didn't - we shared this and it was pretty handy - 32 IIRC:

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Anybody staying at Hotel de Londres shortly check out menu of day - cheapest quality meal you will get around town.
 

Alanslegal

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Great write up Cruiser Elite and the photos are just divine :)

San Sebastian is definitely on our bucket list, we should have gone there in 2010 where we were nearby at Pamplona for the bull run. Oh well, the bucket list keeps on growing.
 

TheRealTMA

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Anybody staying at Hotel de Londres shortly check out menu of day - cheapest quality meal you will get around town.

Excellent. Thanks, Cruiser. I'd hoped that you would eat there. It's on my list for next visit and I checked out the menus when I book the hotel for October.
 

TheTravellingWino

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I was there back in 2009 and the fog that rolled through was amazing. Covered the city for the entire night. I'll try to dig up a photo of it.
 
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Now if you stay in Hotel de Londres you will see this quaint little original elevator right in hotel lobby:

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It still has the old handle for up / down - deactivated but:

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There are 2 other modern stainless steel doored elevators also - but we tried to avoid them - the romanticism of yesteryear - you guys know how it goes. And the little cuties exterior on floors above ground level:

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But do not be misled by the innocent appearance - this sucker had a mind of it's own. Push the button and wait - sometimes it came to you:

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Push a button to select a floor - sometimes it went in that direction - other times it just headed in opposite direction:

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When leaving ground floor and say you selected 2 by pushing the button for 2 - it would scoot up to 5 with nobody waiting there - push 2 again and it would bypass 2 and scoot all the way down to ground again - was just hilarious - more fun than Luna Park!
 
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Here is floor plan for floors 2 and 5 - I think all floors 1 - 6 are identical - 7 has the new Attic Rooms - I checked one out - very sterile but useable balcony. We were in 211 - initially I wanted higher floor to get better view but after going up and checking we decided floor 2 had more advantages than disadvantages so we stayed put - Floor2:

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And Floor 5:

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Saturday night being our last night we headed back to Gandarias to eat steak equal to any steak I have ever eaten in my life. Don't screw around with sharing the 1kg T0Bone - instead each to their own or even share the eye fillet (solo millo). Saturday night the old town is like a zoo - outside Gandarias I just pointed East and took a pic:

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Then South:

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Then West:

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Then North:

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Just part central Saturday night - but be warned - you wanna eat out at better restaurants Sat night - BOOK AHEAD.

Another restaurant with rave reviews is Bar Nestor but unfortunately closed whole duration of our visit for owners to go on holidays - welcome to Spain - peak period - owners on holidays - go figure!
 
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OK last 3 pics of San Sebastian - the view of La Concha Bay San Sebastian from Room 211 in Hotel de Londres is just too spectacular to capture in 1 shot - so these 3 shots depict the entirety of the view of the bay from our room:

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And:

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And:

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Pics taken about midday on day we checked out - simply stunning huh?
 

JohnM

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Whilst inside Gandarias Sat night it was like a ZOO:

We did a Saturday or Sunday night for sit-down to tackle the steak and it was chockers. Even earlier in the week for pintxos it was busy. It amazed me how the guys behind the bar kept tabs on peoples' pintxos re-orders in that crowd.

Glad you enjoyed it :).
 
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Getting to San Sebastian from Bordeaux was very easy by train - 1st class from Bordeaux St Jean to Hendaye - then you exit Hendaye station and immediately to your right is small Euskotren station where you buy a 3 ticket to San Sebastian. What was amazing was the immediate change in effort / actions / performance of Spanish v Frenchies. Leaving Bordeaux was so easy to get help and a smile from all workers - arriving Hendaye that all disappeared - welcome to Spain - was an absolute effort to drag any assistance out of anybody.

You buy your Euskotren ticket from an auto vending machine - no staff on hand to advise / assist - one fat gutted layabout in a uniform leaning on a rail ignoring everybody - once you work out the system you then need to go through ticket turnstiles to access platform - this is done as treain arrives so you fight those leaving platform also - on / off platform use same turnstiles - rather a challenge.

Lumping bags through turnstiles not easy - you get zero time once you insert your ticket - slams behind you and traps trailing bags - but we eventually got through and got on board. Was immediately joined by 2 other couples from Bendigo who told us we looked like we knew what we were doing so they just followed us - silly people. On board Euskotren train ZERO luggage compartments so we just dropped like a dozen bags on the floor - this was the only time the fat gutted staff member with his shirt hanging out actually did anything - can't leave bags there he indicated - so we stack bags on top of each other to ceiling - train moves - bags tumble back in a heap on the floor where they started - he looks - turns other way - UFB.

Arrive San Sebastian and finally find taxi rank - no taxis - another couple from Puerto Rica told us sometimes taxis come - otherwise you need call - welcome to Spain - call taxi number and no English - just repeat train station train station then eventually OK - 10 mins later taxi arrives.

Drop us at Hotel de Londres - ZERO porters - lump bags inside and check in - still no porters but staff behind jump tell us bags will arrive room - we went out front for a drink first and up to room 10 mins later and bags there - go figure.
 
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Ok so a few random thoughts on Hotel de Londres, San Sebastian:
1. Clearly BEST located hotel in town - location is PERFECT
2. Hotel is 4 star at best - it's quaint, it's quality, it's very good - but it just misses on the 5* IMHO. Air con had to work it's **** off to keep up - bathroom amenities just acceptable - servicing of room was just there - no turn down and occasionally some towels missed / toilet paoer ran out - just missed
3. Breakfast not included in room rate but €18.50ea I think was fair value - nothing like the buffets in better Asian Hotels but quite adequate. Had a great meal in Restaurant in hotel so would recommend that
4. The outdoor bar / café to front ofg hotel bw hotel and boardwalk just perfect - drinks reasonably priced - great shade area - but they take a really serious dim view of you shifting tables when sun moves and shade lost - had to give them a FFS on a couple occasions
5. Bell boys / porters or whatever you want to call them are great if you can find them - I think they play hide and come seek regularly
6. Room in general quite adequate - bed good to sleep on - ZERO English TV except CNN, BBC and CNBC. Wifi absolutely DISGRACEFULLY slow - repeatedly complained and no improvement.
7. Concierge Liere is a STAR - she is a STAR.
If we were ever back in SS would definitely stay here again - it's no star of a hotel and it's not cheap - but it's adequate and the location cannot be beaten
 
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