Our next stop was San Sebastián, Spain, further along in the Basque Country. We had spare time before we bid farewell to my mom, so we decided to take the 7€ bus for a 5-night getaway in Spain. The city is famous for the calm turquoise waters of La Concha Bay, but thankfully there’s also the neighboring Zurriola Beach with surf for Shaun. A definite highlight of San Sebastián, or the Basque name Donostia, is the “Old Town” – Dozens of tiny cobblestone walkways squeezed between two iconic churches, packed full with standing-room only bars, tapas/pintxos restaurants, and unique shops with a gelateria on every corner.
The next surf contest on the schedule led us to Anglet/Biarritz on the southwest French Atlantic coast. Anglet is the smaller town neighboring the ritzy city of Biarritz, both with beautiful beaches and cheerful boardwalk promenades for eating, drinking and sunbathing. Our whole week here, the weather was staggering around 97°F / 36°C so we spent a LOT of time à la plage.
Lacanau-Océan is an adorable seaside surf town on the Atlantic coast of France. The town itself is only about one square mile, but packed to the brim with tourists, beachgoers, surfers and sunbathers alike. The main street Allée Pierre Ortal has dozens of indoor/outdoor restaurants, tons of shopping and a handful of gelato shops along the pedestrian-only strip.
Our first week in France was spent in Lacanau-Océan, a super cute and lively beach town on the Atlantic coast that hosts the Medoc Ocean Lacanau Pro surf contest. Before we left for Europe, I was searching for a hotel/Airbnb/vacation rental/hostel, anything, for several days and was struggling to find somewhere for us to stay in Lacanau. Everything was either miles away from the ocean, or way over our price range. One day, while re-doing the same search I must have done a dozen times, an adorable surf hostel, Villa Zenith, showed an opening for a private bedroom + private bathroom for €80/night… Perfect. Oh, and it’s two blocks down from the beach. Amazing! I booked it within minutes.
Our flight to Bordeaux, France departed 8:30AM out of London Gatwick Airport, so we booked a hotel in Kensington for the night before and spent the afternoon in the city. We tried to jam pack as many monuments and must-see’s into the quick visit- including the London Eye, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Oxford Circus and Covent Garden. Surprisingly, it was a gorgeous and sunny day in the typically gloomy United Kingdom.