San Sebastian
photo credit Ross McNamara

When I first envisioned this blog, I knew I wanted to write about the good life.  All those small details that add up to a life of intention, pleasure, joy, and meaning.  The things that move me and make life real.  Some of those things are fine food, great conversation, meaningful work, beautiful wilderness, poetry, inspiring ideas and people, great books, art and music.  As it happens, it seems this blog has so far mostly been about the epic weather in the north – the cold and the wind.  I don’t think I’ve written anything so far about what I’ve been reading for instance, and I have read some great books over the past year.  As my one year anniversary of blogging came and went in June, I resolved to write less about the weather, and more about those things that make up a good life.

So it is with some delight that I report here on my last month of life – traveling and living the good life in Spain.  San Sebastian to be specific, the heart of the Basque region.  My husband is from the area, and his family still live there, so we try to go most years to see them.  I’ve been probably 4 times now and I’ve completely fallen in love with the place.  Its beautiful of course, green and hilly, with one of the most amazing urban beaches I’ve ever seen.  Its also a gastronomic wonder, possibly the best food in the world is here.  Certainly it is the tapas capital of Spain, and in San Sebastian, tapas are an art form.  The wine is cheap, and fantastic, and the city old and beautiful, full of green space, public squares and parks.  But in the end what I love most about the place is the people, the culture.  It seems to me like the locals have entirely figured out how to live the good life, making ample time for what is important to them, leaving aside much of what we in North America engage in, to our peril.  I’ll take another post to tell you about that in more detail.

We spent 2 weeks in the city, along with 10 great friends, on a cycling tour.  It was initially conceived as a bike trip, with lots of time to take in the local culture as well, but somewhere along the way it segued into a biking and eating trip.  We ate like kings, the food was heavenly, and its going to take at least one blog post to tell you about that – I’ll just summarize it by saying we had several 3 or 4 hour ‘country style’ meals, we toured, and ate, in the Rioja wine region, tried over several tapas bars, and we even went to a Michelin 3 starred restaurant.  (Haven’t you always wondered what kind of food they serve at a place like that – so good that folks would pay a fortune, and come back for more?  I have, and now I know…stay tuned.)  The cycling was wonderful too – quiet country roads in the surrounding hills, dotted with small farms, forests, quiet villages and stunning views.  Once I get my photos organized I’ll post some so you can see what I mean.

The weather was unusually hot, so after our day of cycling, we came home to our apartment on the beach, and spent the rest of the afternoon swimming in the ocean and relaxing and people watching on the beach.  (As topless bathing is common, this is something the guys in the trip especially enjoyed.)

It was wonderful to spent time with our dear BC friends, and also Martin’s lovely family and Spanish friends, who are always so wonderfully welcoming.  In short, it was a perfect holiday, one I’ll never forget.

But meanwhile, back at home, things got a little out of hand.  (I can’t completely break with tradition here, I mean aren’t you a little curious to know what the weather was like in Yellowknife while we were soaking up the food, wine and sun of Spain?)  We left our home and dogs in the hands of Diane, a very capable housesitter.  Although I was a bit worried about how she might find the weather and winds in the fall, and the commuting by boat, I need not have worried.  Like most people in Yellowknife, Diane is competent, fearless and tough.  She didn’t seem to mind anything, even the epic storm that happened a few days before our arrival home.  The storm blew from the south, which is the direction that generates the biggest waves, and it was a big one – with winds of 75 km/hr.  Apparently it caused a lot of mayhem.  The neighbours aging dock fell apart.  The new houseboat moored near us broke 2 of its 3 anchors and was considering floating away entirely.  I also heard that a canoe turned over and 2 women needed to be pulled out of the lake, a scary event this time of year, storm or not.  It seems we got off lucky as our house rode out the storm easier than most.  We only lost one item off our deck.  Our barbeque.  Yup.  It blew away in the night.  We bought a nice, shiny, and I thought, heavy enough, barbeque this spring.  I hate cheaply produced items that don’t last – I don’t want to put my rusting barbeque in the landfill every 5 years, I want one that is going to last a long time.  So we bought a good quality one, and its been quite happy on the deck until now.  I guess during the night of the storm it blew off and into the water.  Our early rising neighbour saw it floating away, and was just about to go out and grab it when it, like a sinking ship, it turned over once and sunk out of sight.  We do have a rough idea of where it should be, but haven’t been able to locate it so far.  We’ll try again in the spring, but who knows that the thick lake ice will do to it over the winter.

Its kind of funny of course, what else can one do but laugh?  However, it did make me realize that my life is perhaps a little unusual.  Good, but unusual!  Tell me what’s good about your life, or what makes your life unusual.

About Tandi

I love my morning coffee, reading, the wilderness, paddling, poetry, my Spanish husband, and being a doctor. I also love writing my blog, and reading yours.
This entry was posted in The Song I Live By and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Meanwhile…

  1. shoreacres says:

    Two of the best words in the world: tapas bar. I met those for the first time in Madrid, back in good-gosh-that-was long ago. That was the trip that included a hotel near the Plaza Mayor and my introduction to paella. It was so long ago that Franco still was in power, and one of his minions pulled a nightgown out of my opened suitcase at the airport with the barrel of his gun. I remember standing there thinking, “Don’t respond don’t respond don’t respond….”

    I do have a tumbleweed in a living room chair right now. Does that count?

    • Tandi says:

      Ha! I would have liked to see that – you’ve created a wonderful mental image for me. My husband grew up under the Franco regime and its hard to imagine what that must have been like. We actually visited his ‘summer palace’ in San Sebastian, which has some wonderful new changes to get rid of the old and bring in the new. I’m planning a blog about it, so stay tuned.

      I can’t say enough good things about the food in Spain, especially in the Basque region where it is nearly a religion – at least a form of worship. I have a TON of food pictures – just sorting through them to make a post about food, but it keeps making me hungry! 🙂

  2. Hi there! Would you mind if I share your blog with my myspace group?
    There’s a lot of people that I think would really appreciate your content.
    Please let me know. Thanks

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