Day 23 – The one with the last beaches

I left the albergue at 8 while it was still somewhat dark. My plan was to get to a viewpoint before sunrise.

I found a nice hidden beach – off track. Then found my way back and got to the viewpoint but by then the sun was already up. The view was still spectacular so all was well. This was already the coastal alternative that I decided to follow. It is a bit longer but it was a short day anyway.

Got to Tapia de Casariego around noon which was a bit slow but with the early stops it was not surprising. I took my lunch here and went on to Ribadeo.

In the afternoon I crossed Maria and a poor German guy who had it even worse than I did a couple of days ago.

The rivercrossing just before Ribadeo left me with mixed feelings. The way leads through the highway bridge (at least with a fenced sidewalk) that was ugly however the view on the huge delta was impressive.

Finally arrived to the albergue on the riverside after just below 30k in close to 8 hours. It was a slow day but kind of intentionally: I started early and had many breaks to enjoy the last day on the coast.

I just crossed the border of Asturia and Galicia and Ribadeo is the last stop before the way turns inland to Santiago.

Also, less than 200k to go 🙂

Day 9

The albergue got quite busy yesterday, all of 25 square meter of it. A few snorers as well of course so I decided to get some earplugs finally.

We left around 7.30 with the same team as yesterday. Planned to do a shortcut in the start to give ourselves time for some longer paths along the coast.

Even though the shortcut was roadside the morning mist in the valley created a nice atmosphere. And the plan was great: the longer, coastal parts were breathtaking.

Took a break around ten on a hill top. Could not resist the view 🙂

After a break in Laredo and crossing the bay with a little boat so Santona I left the others and went ahead. The route went by the beach of Berria and than had to climb a cliff to go to the next beach. From the top both beaches were in view makinb for a perfect place to rest a bit. When the group caught up I continued them on the last few kilometers to the hostel.

Didn’t go back to the beach, rather just finally cut my nails with the €1.20 scissors I’ve bought in Santona … it was a relief because of the boots.

Day 7

Decided to do the shorter way out from Bilbao on the right side of the river. I didn’t get too far though, after 15 minutes I’ve realised that I’m missing my ring. So with a quite bad mood I turned back and did everything to figure out when and where did it disappear: I’ve asked the receptionist to check the security cam to see whether I still had it at checkout, then since it looked as I didn’t, we went through the hostel. Checked the room, the kitchen the hall, the trash of the cleaning lady who just finished, and also the drain of the tap. Finally I tore apart my bag .. and found it in my sleeping bag. Lesson learned: check the bag first. Also I have to say I saw no hotel or hostel personnel more helpful than them.

So although I wanted an early start, I’ve left finally after 9. Went by the Guggenheim Museum and then along the river side. Well it was quite a sad, industrial and gray environment, especially after the beautiful coast and countryside of the previous days. At least it was flat and 6km less than the original.

Arrived at Portugalete at 13:00 after crossing the river in a quite fun cabin. I thought I say hi in the albergue if there’s anyone I know but it wasn’t even open. So after a quick lunch and chat with two German guys I continued to Pobena.

The way out from Bilbao was hot and boring but the way from Portugalete was worse. It went along a bicycle highway and although it had a bit greener environment it was boring and the sun was burning with nothing to give shade.

I got lost a bit before Pobena so I’ve added a bit to the milage but finally arrived. I was just contemplating whether to do one more bit, for 45 minutes but then the beach and the familiar faces appearing convinced me to stay. By 16:45 I settled in the albergue after 26k.

The weather was perfect and it wasn’t too late so I went to the beach.

I also finally wash a set of clothes but it didn’t dry until after dinner …

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 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 🙂