Plan for a day: Pirates!

The Gipuzkoan coast was for centuries home to hundreds, thousands of corsairs. These pirates were the terror of sailors that had the misfortune to become their prey. Today we propose you a plan inspired in these sea dogs, but don’t worry, we haven’t thought of making you travel by boat to make you fight with cannons against the British or the French.

First things first! Where did corsairs live? You see, a lot of them lived… in San Sebastian. Well, in what nowadays is the Old Quarter as the rest of the city is relatively new, when it expanded during the 19th century. And even if the Old Quarter isn’t so old, as our ancestors had to rebuild it after the destruction caused by the British in 1813, walking through its streets and visiting its churches allows us discovering a bit the daily life of the Basque corsairs. Men corsairs but also women, like Juana Larando. This San Sebastian innkeeper was, along with Orio’s priest, the shipowner of two corsair boats.

Well, apart from travelling to the past… the Old Quarter is a great place to eat some pintxos.

Although from the Old Quarter it’s easy to lose sight of the most important element of corsair life, the sea! And from here it’s very easy to climb mount Urgull to sea the waves, and maybe tremble imagining the small wooden ships of those San Sebastian corsairs go up and down this water mountains. Or see the Cantabric sea in all its splendour from the top of la Mota castle, recreating in our mind the arrival of ships, galleons and boats full of valuable cargo obtained by weapon’s force.

(Photo: A very big Wave)

By the way, one of these boats is being recreated in Albaola The Sea Factory of the Basques! Even if the most famous project of Albaola is the rebuilding of a whale ship, just as other 7 ships typical of the Basque coast. Although it could seem that from the Old Quarter arriving to Pasajes San Pedro can be long, the truth is that with the E-09 bus that is taken from the Oquendo street, you get there very fast. Inside the factory it’s simply impossible not to be amazed by the carpentry work that is done there, that recreates the work done for centuries by the sailors once. I find it simply amazing that with these ships they could cross the seas and oceans in trips that lasted months.

(Photo: Basque corsairs/ www.albaola.com)

During this time they were weather’s, the depredation of other sailors’ prey, and scurvy? Well, to endure it the Basque sailors had a powerful ally.

The cider.

And you know what? Right now you can enjoy the cider season, drinking in some of the production centres the fresh cider. I’m not going into detail, because I honestly think that it’s something that is better to experience, but know that you have to go hungry and with company, it’s the best way to enjoy! And even if it’s difficult to know how similar is today’s cider to that from the past, I think it’s a nice way to unite the 3 axis of corsair life: urban, maritime and a bit of party.

Strike the sails!