Yes, we’ve all heard of Balenciaga. Even if you don’t dig fashion, surely Balenciaga rings a bell. But who has heard of Getaria? It’s a tiny fishing village a short bus ride away from San Sebastian. I was seated next to an elderly lady who happily brought me and my friends to her town’s Tourist Information office to get a map and more information (in English) about Getaria. Obviously, this lady is very proud of her roots, but just couldn’t express herself in English. Soy Vasco, she repeatedly said. From the town Zarautz which we passed just before reaching Getaria. And in Basque language proudly narrated that world-famous Cristobal Balenciaga was born here and that we shouldn’t miss visiting the Museo built in his honor. Viva Vasco!
Much appreciated. And I must confess the collections inside the more compact, well-organized Balenciaga Museum grabbed my interest more than the Guggenheim collections and exhibits in Bilbao. Minimalism permeated all around the Museo, in sync with the Balenciaga classic lines and style. As for Balenciaga’s creations? They are simply timeless.
The museum admission fee of 10€ was discounted to 7€ for senior citizens, then further reduced to 5€ for peregrinos. Aha! We were all delighted to be seniors, and errr, pilgrims. Even got our Pilgrim’s Passports stamped! 😄
Getaria. The bus which took us here passed playas — not as pretty as the ones we found in San Sebastian, but pretty! And we so love the local flavor. Somewhat raw, but with class. Getaria has character! So Basque? I can’t tell. I wouldn’t know. But we all sensed Basque pride all around. I like that. Viva Vasco!
We even found the Yglesia de San Salvador with its sloping tiled flooring. Getaria is hills and beaches and the church followed the slope of the grounds on which it was built from front to back. Along the wharf there was a line of Michelin-worthy restaurants offering the freshest fruits of the sea. I would have happily traded places with a lone señora seated by a table with a full view of the fishing port. Gosh, we do regret we are just doing a day trip. This is a lovely village!
Seriously though, this tiny fishing village with a very active fishing port boasts of truly good dining outlets. Chefs here must be having an easy time serving fresh seafood with very minimal interventions. I only regret we missed the factory preparing the Anchoas de Cantabrico near the fishing port. I would have loved to witness how one of my fav fruits de mer are prepared and bottled.
Next visit, I will make sure I stay at least a night here. Tried walking on the beach and dug my toes in the sand. And yes, next time I’d try the rodaballo a la plancha (grilled turbot) highly recommended by the Basque lady I met on the bus. But that is not to say I didn’t have a good seafood lunch. Viva vasco!