San Sebastian - 4 days in the Bosque country

The most sun we saw in San Sebastian - lasted for about 10 minutes.
This beach is called Playa de la Concha.

This week I was invited by my new employer to join the research group on a trip to San Sebastian, Spain. The aim was to have a meeting to discuss priorities and a mini-symposium with some Spanish collaborators.

Only some of us managed to make it to San Sebastian on Monday. The plane we were supposed to take to Amsterdam had engine issues, so our boss did his best to figure out a solution. He went alphabetically, so I was lucky to be in the first group out (after sitting in the Bergen airport for 6 hours). Twelve of us managed to make it to Spain by midnight on Monday (Bergen - Copenhagen - Brussels - Bilbao - San Sebastian (bus)). The rest would eventually make it by Tuesday afternoon and late Tuesday night.

Tuesday was meant to be a meeting about plans for the  new employees (3 of us in total) and discussing the upcoming surveys. However, since the others hadn't arrived, we only had a short meeting including my presentation about myself and the PhD and post-doc students presenting their work. Then we had the afternoon to explore.

Very empty meeting room when so many of us haven't arrived yet

My Brazilian friend, Thassya, and I decided to walk around as much as possible to go sight seeing, even though it was raining - the others decided to just sit in a bar. The rain came on and off quite frequently, but being from Bergen, we didn't mind. We wanted to see as much as we could. Even though the weather was not the best, Spaniards were still out swimming and surfing.

Walking through the "old town"

Panorama from a viewpoint

I have tons of pictures from the beach (Thassya on the right)
That night we had a long dinner, including lots of sea food and lots of meat. I quickly found out that Spain is not the idea place to be for a vegetarian because meat and fish are in almost every dish. I was flexible and enjoyed the food that was given, but Thassya was stuck with eating just bulgar and asparagus. Wednesday and Thursday were more of the same - lots of meat and bread....and wine.

Wednesday we were invited for a mini-symposium by the AZTI Institute in Pasaia (about 20 minutes from San Sebastian). We collaborate with them because the mackerel stock spawn in the Bay of Biscay before migrating into the Norwegian Sea for the summer feeding migration, and mackerel is an economically valuable species that is increasing its geographical distribution as a result of the warming seas. The talks were very interesting, and got me excited to work with pelagic fish again!

After the symposium, we took a boat from the institute to a small fishing village called San Juan. The lunch lasted for 3 hours, but it flew by with such good company. Only 4 hours later would we be eating dinner...SO MUCH FOOD!

ATZI Institute in Pasaia

On the boat to San Juan for lunch

Remided me of Bryggen in Bergen

This was only the first of 6 or so dishes
Ran along the beaches in San Sebastian, the main one is more for swimming, this beach was only occupied by surfers.

Thursday morning I walked around the city and in the sand one more time with Thassya and we bought some chorrizo to bring home. But wait...another massive lunch before our flight at 5PM. We took a bus to Bilbao and ate lunch at the Güggenheim Museum. We didn't have time to look at the art, but there were some neat features outside to take pictures of before the rain hit us again.

Back in Bergen late last night, but what a nice way to get to know my new colleagues in a fun, social atmosphere. Everyone is very friendly; just as I remembered them from when I worked on my masters at the IMR. One more week at the Sars Centre with the Nematostella before I officially start at my new job.

Outside the Güggenheim

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