BootsnAll Travel Network

Articles Tagged ‘San Sebastian’

More articles about ‘San Sebastian’
« Home

Around the world with a mother and daughter

Saturday, December 22nd, 2007

Espani Fountain Zaragoza, Spain 

 Nancy Brown, left, and her mother, Janet Mooers, make a stop in Zaragoza, Spain.

Contra Costa Times

THE TRAVELERS: Lafayette mom and consultant Nancy Brown, age 40-plus; and her mother, Janet Mooers, former Moraga resident and international traveler, age 80-plus.


THE TREK IN A SEC: This mother-daughter duo was Barcelona-bound. Janet Mooers, a recent widow, wanted to see a few more sights before she retired her passport. Daughter Nancy was excited but hadn’t traveled with her mother since her high school days.

BEST ADVICE FOR TRAVELING WITH MULTIPLE GENERATIONS: Be patient when traveling with someone who hasn’t flown internationally since Sept. 11. Make sure passports are current. If you are sharing a room, try to fit in some alone time during your travels. Check in with your travel partner regarding the pace of the trip. Is she feeling rushed or tired, but doesn’t want to hold the other back?

COOLEST SIGHTS: Nancy’s highlight was Pamplona and the Ernest Hemingway sights: “I’d just read ‘The Sun Also Rises’ so Pamplona and San Sebastian were brought to life for me.” Janet’s highlight was the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain.

MOST MEMORABLE DINING EXPERIENCE: The pair had walked Barcelona’s La Rambla Boulevard down to the harbor in search of some seafood. Janet wanted a shrimp salad. At this particular restaurant you had to purchase the shrimp farmer’s market style. Due to the language barrier, a platter of cooked shrimp was brought to the table with their heads and tails attached. Eventually salad followed. The women spent the entire lunch prepping the shrimp for the salad. “It was frustrating at the moment, but quite hilarious looking back on our lunch,” remembers Nancy.

Rain in Spain falls mainly on San Sebastian

Friday, October 26th, 2007
While “the rain in Spain falls mainly in the plain” according to Eliza Doolittle (Audrey Hepburn) in the 1964 film “My Fair Lady,” the rain in Spain that our tour group encountered fell mainly in the resort town of San Sebastian. As Hemingway reflected in “The Sun Also Rises”: “The trees seem as though their leaves were never quite dry.”
The lush hillsides were dotted with sheep, which meant Basque cheese to me. The Basque have a language, which is in no way similar to Spanish. In my quest for Idiazabal, the local cheese, I was directed to Aitor Lasa. Our Hemingway speaker for the Pamplona trip, Gabriella Ranelli De Aguirre, an ex-patriot, was also a culinary director. She assured me the shop would vacuum-seal my cheese for transport home.  
Orinda’s Tom and Carol Mapes were with me on this 10-day tour of Spain.
Carol, a member of the Council on Architecture, an Oakland Museum guild, described our journey as an architectural tour. “I really enjoyed the Codorniu winery and Casa Amatiller, designed by Josep Puig I Cadafalch,” reflects Mapes. She also admired Barcelona’s Antoni Gaudi for his forward thinking in terms of Parc Guell’s water filtration system and the use of recycled tiles at Sagrada Familia and Casa Mila. We both agreed that he was a global artist ahead of his time. Other highlights were Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim in Bilbao and Zaragoza’s Espanity fountain. Zaragoza will host the 2008 Universal Exposition based on the theme of water.

Are you a procrastinator when it comes to gift giving? Why not be ahead of the curve this year and take off to the German “Holiday Markets of the Rhine and Main Rivers” for the outdoor Christmas markets featuring local crafts and regional cuisine. Marjory DeRoeck of Lafayette’s All About Image said, “It was a great way to get all my Christmas shopping done.”

She left for Munich Nov. 30 from SFO, returning Dec. 6 with Vantage, on a river cruise ship, visiting markets in Würzburg, Rothenburg, Bamberg, Wertheim and Frankfurt. “We also were escorted on wonderful side trips to see such historic sights as the Heidelberg Castle, Gutenberg Museum and Cathedral, Rudesheim’s Musikkabinett, with beautiful old music boxes and player pianos, and Cologne’s Gothic Cathedral and Shrine of the 3 Magi,” said DeRoeck.

Orinda resident and local artist Ann Testa was drawn to the trip because she had lived in Germany in the past. “The markets are much more commercial now,” notes Testa. “Yet there are still a lot of handmade crafts.” She also remembered that they were entirely fortunate with the weather. Among the things she liked the most, “there were a lot of young Germans sitting at the food stand drinking beer and Gluwein, a type of mulled wine, and eating bratwurst. They were chatting and enjoying themselves. It was a big place to gather. No matter where I travel, I always pick up new ideas. At the Lafayette Gallery, I’ll probably have some Christmas Angels this year.”

Speaking of angels, I met Paola Gianturco at a Book Passage Travel Writers Conference this summer. The Bay Area author of “Women Who Light the Dark,” has a slew of gift giving suggestions under the “shop wisely” section of her Web site. The “shop for change” store offers products by talented craftswomen who live in areas of conflict. How about a gift that furthers peace? The Jerusalem Candle of Hope is made by women of Israel and Palestine. The candle is available through the Amber Chand Collection.





Nancy Brown grew up in Moraga and lives in Lafayette with her husband and children. Send news of your adventures to


San Sebastian; A culinary quest

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007
   I've never been asked to be a mule before. For you law-abiding citizens, a mule is a person who carries drugs for someone. In this case, I was asked to be a cheese mule. This was not ... [Continue reading this entry]