I’m settling in to my new “home” city and enjoying the discovery a new place brings. Vitoria- Gastiez is small, despite having a population of 230,000, I can walk every where within 15 minutes from the center of the city and thankfully, I live smack in the center. I figured out the main streets within a week of living here and the more I “explore’ the smaller the city becomes as I connect the dots of where different streets meet and where they lead.
Vitoria- Gastiez is a far cry from where I lived last year in the South of Spain, a pueblo Roquetas de Mar. Roquetas is in the desert surrounded by a the sea, desert mountains, imported palm trees and invernaderos, green houses. As much as I enjoyed living next to the ocean and falling asleep to ocean waves, I’m loving the differences of living in Vitoria- Gasteiz.
Why I like Vitoria- Gasteiz:
I feel like I live in Europe: I have a view of a clock tower and lots of apartment buildings. My town last year was built in the 70’s with the invernadero boom, so I didn’t quite feel like I was living in Europe. Sometimes it felt more like the twilight zone… This year, it’s really nice to live in an European city and have the European feel.
Parks: There are parks located all over the city, this place is green! After a year of practically living in the desert, I’m grateful to be surrounded by trees and green spaces. Growing up in a town with lots of parks, I didn’t realize how important they were until I lived in a place without them. During the summer, I often go to the park to read books, write in my journal or hang out with friends.
Gardens within the city, Farms on the outskirts and a Farmers Market: Every time I see a garden within a city or really anywhere I go, a big smile illuminates my face. I can’t help it. I love watching the cycles of nature in the garden and eating in season. I’m hoping with so many gardens in town and farms on the outskirts, I can get involved…somehow.
There’s a farmers market on Thursdays and Saturdays and yes, I go at least once a week. It’s so great to be able to buy local and see what’s in season in this region right now. In addition to vegetables and fruit, meats, cheeese, and bread are also sold by vendors at the market. Foodie heaven.
Pintxos: Euskadi, Basque Country is known for food and for their delicious and innovative pintxos. Pintxos are tapas but in the North they simply call them by a different name. I haven’t had the opportunity to eat too many pintxos but it’s on my list of things to do- Go on self guided pintxo tours!
Closer airport(s): There isn’t an airport in my city, there is one in Bilbao an hour from Vitoria and an airport in Santandar, a city 2 hours away. I see myself traveling less this year but it’s nice to have nearby airports with more than 4 destinations and with possibilities to travel daily, not 3 times a week. Yes, it’s all about perspective.
Lots more to do: Though Vitoria isn’t very big and it’s the type of place where you’re bound to run into people often, there are always events happening. There is endless amounts of posters on the streets advertising a shows, performances, classes, fairs. Living in a city with a university means having a lot more events and opportunities happening in the city.