I finally figured out how to attend side events of the COP 25 climate conference in Madrid. It took some digging, and help from a couple of my new connections. So I’m busing it from San Sebastián, where I spent a few days decompressing from the hubub of Barcelona.

San Sebastián is really lovely, but to me the people seemed a bit closed – or maybe it’s me, ha! Nevertheless traveling alone I really notice how most people go around in couples or groups and often seem only interested in each other. Anyway, the town has beautiful 19th century architecture and boulevards along the river and seaside. There’s a uniformity to it though, which can probably be explained by the fact, as I learned, that the city was invaded, “sacked” and almost burned to the ground in 1813 by the Portuguese and English. A small plaque in my hotel room explained, when they realized the town’s walls had been useless in protecting the city, the surviving townsfolk took hammers to it and used the rubble to make new buildings, including the one I slept in. That image made me feel sad – the grief and rage over the mass murder and rape, vented in tearimg town the walls. I guess there’s hope in the rebuiling part, though.

Anyhoo! On the plus side, it was sunny, quiet at night, and the food was great 👍😎 😋 The thing to do here is have pintxos (tapas). Many are laid out artfully on platters on the bar, but my host told me to avoid taking those ones, after all they may have been out for hours under the noses of a lot of customers. It’s kind of like bait to lure in the tourists, he said. Instead, you ask for the made-to-order made “pintxos calientes”. My friend Rudy gave me another usef tip, to order the “menu del día” for a full meal. Usually it’s an appetizer, entrée and desert, with bread and wine, for a reasonable price. So my program was to have el menu as my main meal of the day, and a couple of pintxos in the evening. I’m not really a “foodie” but might become one if I stayed in this area for longer.

That’s it for now! Will share more from Madrid.