It’s Day 4 in Spain for Phakaaathi writer Tshepo Ntsoelengoe. What has he been up to?
It was a day before the Basque derby in San Sebastian and it was a good mood in the city as everyone was gearing up for the biggest match in the north of Spain.
What I didn’t like about the start of this day was the crazy weather, it was so cold and I was surprised to see some of the locals in their swimming gear heading to the beach.
I guess the people this side are used to it and the worst part for me is that we had to take a city tour.
To be honest, the tour was really informative and learned so much about San Sebastián, also known as Donostia in the Basque language and is considered one of the most expensive cities in Spain.
During the tour, the most important thing I think I have to share was getting closer to La Concha, one of the beautiful beaches in the world. It is counted among the most beautiful beaches in Europe and back in the old days there used to be soccer grounds just around the beach.
On the way to our next destination, me and the other journos got to see former Liverpool, Real Madrid and Spanish National team midfielder Xabi Alonso through the window walking with one of his children.
Truth be told, I might have not got a chance to be closer to him, but seeing that legend walking through the streets of his hometown was quite special.
However, I did get to be close to Real Sociedad’s legend Xabi Prieto, who only played for Sociedad since his youth career in the year 2000 until retiring in 2018. He might have found it difficult to break into the Spanish senior national team, but he managed to play in the youth team.
I had to bring our conversation close to home and asked him about the first Fifa World Cup in Africa in 2010.
The guy started laughing and the first thing he said was ‘Vuvuzela’. I found it to be quite funny because I initially thought he would begin by stating that he would have loved to be part of the Spanish team that lifted the precious trophy in Africa.
He also has some fond memories about Mzansi football legend Benni McCarthy, who was a household name in LaLiga with Celta Vigo.
The highlight was getting to watch Sociedad’s last training session at Zubieta before their tie against Athletic Bilbao.
It was a good experience which was later concluded by a conversation with the team’s academy director Luki Iriarte.
The evening was something out of the ordinary. The LaLiga representatives organised a cooking competition for us. It went pretty well but my team and I didn’t win, even though we made an incredible Lacachofas for the first meal of the night. But it was a great evening filled with a lot of laughter getting to see another different side of the rest of the guys I was on tour with.
Day five is my last full day in Spain and I will be watching the derby at the stadium, something that I am really looking forward to.