Friday, October 8, 2010
Where to Live? San Sebastian by Neighborhood
The first step is deciding which neighborhood to call home. Four my purposes, I will divide San Sebastian into four possible barrios where I could live:
Option One – Gros: Home to the surfing beach of Zurriola, this laid-back beach community feels like a town apart from the rest of San Sebastian. It’s a residential neighborhood of five-story turn of the century buildings stretching from the mountain on the eastern limit of town to the river that divides the beach from the Parte Vieja. Pros: Mellow surftown-vibes, 2 minutes walking to the beach, and ocean views. Cons: it would be easy to get stuck in this barrio and never see the rest of San Sebastian, it’s far from where I have to work, and its expensive.
Option Two - Parte Vieja (The Old Town): A beautiful grid of narrow streets and tall, ancient buildings squeezed onto a peninsula between the port, the mountain, the castle and the river. The most centrally located area and home to the most bars per square meter in the world, so finding a party would be a cinch. But rooms here are small, expensive and loud. If I wanted to experience the quintessential cramped medieval apartment situation, this would be my jam.
Option Three – Antiguo: Tracing the Bahia de la Concha to the other end of town is the posh neighborhood called Antiguo. This is where many of the city’s rich folk live, and one street belongs to the local futbol club players. Close to work, close to the university, and with views of the most picturesque beach in town – Playa de la Concha. But it’s far from everything that matters to me – surf and nightlife. So it’s really not an option. Neither are the areas in the hinterlands, where I would need to catch a bus or buy a scooter I can’t afford. So there is really only one more option…
Option Four – El Centro: The most centrally located neighborhood, hence the name. Everything is close from here – two or three minutes to the surfing beach, the nightlife in the Parte Vieja, the Playa de la Concha, and not far from where I have to work. The only drawback? It’s expensive as hell. I guess I better start looking.