Day 6

After the breakfast I’ve left just a bit before 8. The weather forecast that I’ve checked the day before for Bilbao didn’t have any resemblance with the weather at the start: rain, damp air all morning.

Many places the ground was so muddy that I’ve stopped trying to get around it. There was just no way. Also all the concentration was needed to not to slip.

I’ve met with some dogs with their owner appearing muh later which made me a bit anxious. Especially the one that was at least a meter tall and started walking right at me as it saw me.

Anyway, the forest and the occasional view on the valleys were breathtaking.

I’ve teamed up with Sven at some point and arrived to Zamudia where we took a longer break as a quite steep up and down section followed. We left around 12.30 and took us good 1.5 hours to climb up the 300 meters. A nice way of Basque country to send off pilgrims to Bilbao.

Joined by Maria, the 3 of us arrived at 3pm to Bilbao finishing our 20k etap. However we kept wondering about, had a nice sangria on a sunny square, then went to the St James cathedral and the market and by the time I’ve decided where I’ll stay I’ve made almost 30k.

We’ve also went to Decathlon where I wanted to check shoes but apparently new ones hurt my feet the same way as the old …

At the hostel, after I’ve went to buy some food I saw the snoring Spanish guys to arrive. Boy, I was relieved to note that they are not in a room with me 🙂

Day 5

As promised we started with a breakfast although it was only at 7 – not that I wanted to start much earlier today – and quite modest in amount. But that apple marmalade was delicious.

I left the monastery around 7.45. The morning was a struggle my right knee did not appreciate the downhill that should have been an easy part.

We were warned about rain but the few times it became more than intense humidity caught me under roof or trees. I’ve put the cover on my bag but didn’t even use my raincoat.

The kilometers just didn’t want to pass ..

The ideal would be to go to Eskerika which is around 9k from Gerkina. That’s a total of 26k for today as well.

When I got to Gerkina a little bit after 1pm the first thing I did was to go to a pharmacy. I bought an inflammatory creme and two bandage for my ankles. I also popped into a shop to buy some food for lunch and later.

At 2:30 pm I moved on to try to reach the hostel in Eskerika.

In the afternoon I was not so lucky with the rain but still didn’t needed the raincoat. After the expected distance I was getting a bit worried since the next place is 10+k but by 5pm I’ve finally arrived.
There’s hot shower, wifi, and food. What else could I ask for?

Day 4

Couldn’t really sleep – or at least it felt like that – so I started the day early again.

The ascents were quite tough but probably because it was mostly dirt road the way down was surprisingly okay. By 12.30 I arrived to Metriku where I’ve met with the frenchs. We walked outside the city to have a picnic lunch. Then off to the monastery in Ziortza.

It was an extra 8k but very much worth it. We got there by 4.30. They gave us dinner and breakfast. Beautiful view and locally brewed beer. Which was interesting as one type didn’t have bubbles and tastes quite sweet.

Only bad point that the snoring guys are back 🙂 ear plugs would be nice I guess…

Oh and we passed 100k. Yay 🙂

Day 3

Yesterday I went to a tapas bar to get a boost and it was worth it 🙂

Started the day a bit later to have enough rest. Partly to keep tha pace and party because my rommates’ encouragement I planned to make my way to Markina which is around 36kms.

I’ve met with the french girl again and arrived in Deba a bit after 11. The beach looked really nice so I’ve spent almost 2 hours there to gather my strength. Around 1pm I went on. The sun was quite strong and the route continued qith some steep hikes. So when I reached the hostel in Izarbide – around 5k from Deba – I had to stop for a rest and some water.

What started as a quick pit stop turned into a stay. I didn’t want to start another 20k with no chance to stop earlier and questionable water refill opportunity.

So settled in and got surprised that although this place is kind of in the middle of nowhere this is the best looking so far.

I’ve joined a few people for a pizza for dinner. As it turned out there’s a strong German presence on the Camino now 🙂

Day 2

Yesterday I talked a bit with the 3 Spanish guys I’ve shared a room with. They’re on their 6th/7th Caminos. Not bad .. although as it turned out, this time they only go until Santander as they couldn’t get longer holidays. One of them had an accident in January on the Portugal Way and had to go home after the first day but his first thing to do was to book flights for this Camino and not much later for finishing the Portugal Way in January.

I’ve almost overslept since my phone changed timezone at some point but actually I woke up before I wanted anyway. So by 7 I was on my way after packing up and having a short breakfast.

I almost forgot my stamp but in the last minute I remembered so all was well.

It felt good to start even earlier than yesterday. Still dark and quiet. Then I had to go through a forest … well, it was scary. I had a headlamp but apparently I’ve overestimated its capability 🙂 Not to mention the people picking mushrooms off the road making random noises. At least I tell myself that it was that.

After leaving San Sebastian I’ve met with a girl from France who camped in a tent. Lucky for her she did the forest part the day before – in daylight. She came to the Camino after a break up and getting fired .. and kicked out of her apartment. Oh well.

Got to Zarautz a bit after 12 and after crossing it I had a little lunch break – after all, this is the suggested end of the second etap. My roommates caught up with me as well. As well a boulder twice my head fell down like 30 meters across the road so I felt like moving on.

I was hoping that I make it until Zumaia which is about 10k more. Halfway through is Getaria where I could have stopped if I would have run out of energy. I didn’t stop but afterwards my Achilles whatevers started to hurt. Apparently I managed to squish the padding on some wire in the back of my shoes.

Anyway, made my way to Zumaia after all slowly but steadily and got settled by half past 4. I found the albergue but they are not that nice. I’d happy to pay for the accomodation but calling it donation and not giving a bed before you give just feels wrong. The place is okay though and I share a room with 2 of my roommates from yesterday.

I decided to leave the food I still had for breakfast and go and grab something for dinner.


Day 1

I can’t say I’m fully rested after listening to the aggressive and progressive snoring concert last night. However it might have been my excitement and the uncertainty of the coming weeks that kept half awake all night. Well, and the French guy who started laughing at the scream-like snoring of a guy in the next room 🙂

Anyways, after a quick breakfast (which was free) and getting a St Jacob shell I left the accomodation a bit after 7 but before dawn. Following the signs in the dark was sometimes challenging but in all but one case they were just one corner away when I thought that I got lost. More excitingly in the one case I actually missed a turn, not one but two strangers came to my help and steered me back on the path without even me asking.

Then sunrise came to clear the smoke on the water and put fire in the sky.

Since I forgot to bring a pebble from home – and the airport, and then the albergue in Irun … – I finally picked up one just outside of Irun. Also after 10km I finally remembered to take a “before picture”.

I was surprised on my progress after the first 10k and even afterwards, through the day. That is, until I realised that runkeeper believed that I’m jumping sideways along the path all the time….

Anyways, I’ve arrived to the coast and after crossing the bay of Pasaia I started the last bit to San Sebastian across some hills. This was the most tiring bit but with beautiful view all the way.

In Little San Sebastian I lost the signs a couple of times and also managed to walk by the albergue that I wanted to go to. So I went to the next one which really is a hostel so abot more expensive. So for balance today I went to a shop to get dinner and breakfast.

If you checked the pictures you can also see how I got attacked by a vicious dog 🙂

Day 0 – Arriving to Irun

I got to Biarritz by plane and got surprised when going through the airport. It’s sooo small. Runway to outside in 3 minutes including the passport check from where you can already look out to the street.

Also I happily noted that they let me bring a razor in my backpack that also was allowed even though it’s kinda on the size limit for cabin baggage. 10 points to Ryanair.

Although I was planning to catch a train to Irun directly I realised that by going with bus to Hendaye – a city still on the French side – and then walking to Irun should get me there faster and at least I do some little walking today.

Finally got to the accomodation and went for dinner in a small restaurant with a menu. 3 course delicious dinner with a glass of wine for 8 euros. Okay 🙂