Last week the OCEAN project meeting took place in Elgoibar near San Sebastian and Bilbao. I took the opportunity to visit the Guggenheim museum and experience the local habits such as the delicious pintxos and the marvelous ciderhouse-style diner.
Pintxos are similar to Spanish tapas; they are small portions of food, composed of various components, such as fish, meat and vegetables. You eat them with a glass of wine while you're standing in a pub. After finishing your glass in about 10 minutes, you continue to the next pub, where the ritual reoccurs. The friday I arrived at San Sebastian, I had so many pintxos and accompanying glasses of wine, that I can't even recall how many and what I ate :-)
On monday evening, the evening after the first meeting, we went to a ciderhouse which was a apparantly a fairly typical place to have dinner at. The owner of the place would announce at regular intervals that he would open a new cidercase which was the signal for all people to go up and refill their glasses. The food was brought to the tables, where people could take a bit of the dish and eat it with bread. They served various types of fish, prepared in various ways and a truly huge steak.
Jon, one of my collegues explained me how to let the cider drop into the glass from about a meter from the tap but still the local girls insisted on correcting my technique :-)
The local people were all very friendly and there was a very warm and safe atmosphere all over.
This is definitely a place I'd like to visit again.