From the Ocean to a Gastronomic Society
Get on board in the same port where the Marquis de La Fayette embarked to fight in the Revolutionary War. Our mission is less ambitious: to get to know the Basque coastline and marine fauna and, incidentally, catch something that we will eat in a gastronomic society in San Sebastián. Is there anything more authentic than that? We don't think so. Well, there is: eating a Gilda (what the hell is a Gilda?) with a glass of cider while the Cantabrian wind hits you in the face.
It all begins in Pasaia, the town that surrounds the main port of Gipuzkoa. We’ll go by van, just 15 minutes from San Sebastián. Pasaia is many things. To begin with, there are three towns: Pasajes San Juan (Pasai Donibane), Pasajes San Pedro (Pasai San Pedro) and Pasajes Ancho (Pasai Antxo), each with its own personality. Pasaia has been a reference port in Europe for more than four centuries, and few sailors are unaware of the spectacular fjord (a kind of marine corridor) that large ships have to cross to reach the industrial port.
School of (Basque) Fish
Iñaki is the captain who will welcome us aboard his boat. He’s a charming and funny guy, as well an experienced sailor, a lover of marine fauna and a conscientious fisherman. The captain will explain to us the magic of 'slow fishing', the local techniques to catch fish and squid, and will which species are the most successful in local gastronomy. Fresh fish is one of the pillars of the famous Basque gastronomy; species such as turbot, sea bream and anchovies are revered and prepared with the utmost respect: fire, oil, perhaps some garlic and a good hand to get the best out of each product.
Once our appetite is satisfied, we’ll head to San Sebastián, sailing parallel to Mount Ulia (do you want to set foot on it? We have a tour that runs through it!) To contemplate its coves and rock formations, the legions of seagulls that glide over the cliffs to reach, finally, the lucky San Sebastián.
Cider vs. Scurvy
During the journey we’ll tell you about the maritime culture of the Basques, stories of pirates, of fishermen who crossed the Atlantic Ocean to catch whales and cod, of the reputed fortitude of the Basque sailors (they were able to spend months on the high seas without getting scurvy, because the cider they carried on board provided them with Vitamin C), and a thousand other stories.
We’ll disembark in San Sebastián and take a short walk through its Old Town on the way to a gastronomic sociedad. What is a gastronomic sociedad? Very simple: a place with a professional kitchen and spacious dining rooms where Basque cooking lovers (and who are not professional chefs) have gathered for decades to eat, drink, talk, sing and more. At any time and on any day. Although gastronomic sociedades are private clubs, Ikusnahi gives you the opportunity to participate in this local cultural phenomenon so that you can eat like a Basque (if you can), drink like a Basque (if you can), sing like a Basque (that's easy) or laugh (that, too) like a Basque. The idea is to prepare the fish caught in the morning in the sociedad (when we say that we like fresh fish, we mean we REALLY like fresh fish), and enjoy the whole process: cleaning it, preparing it, cooking it and, of course, eating it with a good beverage. If after this experience they don't give you a Basque passport, we don't know what else to do. ;-)
- Price: two people 425€
- Extra adult +125€
- Child (10-17 years old) +85€
- Children under 10 years old free of charge
- Private tour
- Time: 09:00
- Duration: 6 hours
- Places: San Sebastián, Pasaia
- Profesional guide
- Traditional lunch
- Meals, drinks and tickets not listed above