Stars and more:In San Sebastian
Trans World Features (TWF) | 12 Mar 2015
Stars and more:In San Sebastian
San Sebastian in Basque county of northern Spain is a place for stars and gourmands alike.

“Which star will stay with you tonight?” The bold lines on the wall behind the reception desk at hotel Astoria7 startled me. Risqué? I was in San Sebastian in  northern Spain and this was how I, like other guests, was greeted.


Not that I was displeased. Because  my room was designated the ‘Gregory Peck room’ with pictures of him in different moods adorning the walls. After all, he remains one of my favourite actors, never mind he isn’t there any more.


Back home, when the imminent publication of a second book Go Set a Watchman  by Harper Lee, writer of  the iconic To Kill a Mocking Bird  after 55 years  is big news, and also controversial, I am doubly pleased because the role of Atticus, the lawyer, was played by Gregory Peck, which also won him an Oscar. The book revolving around the upright lawyer trying to save an innocent black man in the racist (those days) from the gallows in America’s deep  south also figures in my favourite book list, as must be for many readers around the world.


Eventually, the mystery of the tag-line at the hotel was also solved. Apparently before being turned into a hotel Astoria was theatre hall and many Hollywood films were screened here. Hence don’t be  surprised  to meet Alfred Hitchcock greeting you at the foyer sitting on a bench. Or the comfy lounge cum library with pictures of movie stars, old and new, lining the walls, old-time instruments  associated with filming, or an iconic Audrey Hepburn painted  drum.


San Sebastian is well-known for holding an international film festival since 1953.  The venue has changed from the Victoria Eugenia Theatre to one on the other side of the river Urumea but it still attracts celebrities and good films from across the world . So the connection is not  far to seek.


San Sebastian is locally more commonly called Donostia in this region known as Basque country with its own ancient language. The city is just 20 km from the French border. A favourite resort town with royals  and commoners alike since the 19th century.  Its reputation as a gastronomic hub is also well-established.


Back to Atticus and his spunky daughter Scout Finch. The debate is on about how Scout would look  or behave today as a grown –up (in the book) as she returns to her town after  along time or her encounter  with her idealistic father whom she  saw through her innocent eyes.  . Well, some tings are better left to anticipation than speculation.