Camino del norte 2024

May - July 2024
First Camino de Santiago. 🙂 Starting the journey at the end of May in San Sebastián and walking the coastal route to Santiago de Compostela!
Every good thing for me finds me on this higher timeline. 🙏🏻
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  • 26footprints
  • 2countries
  • 28days
  • 409photos
  • 43videos
  • 5.9kmiles
  • Day 1

    Si un problema tiene solución no es

    May 23 in the United States ⋅ 🌬 63 °F

    Eeekk!! It’s time to go on a hike! 💕 I was so excited I barely slept last night. I woke up at 5:40am ready to pack up and get this adventure started! Flight wasn’t until 6;00pm! 😂
    Yesterday while I was speaking with one of my Spanish friends I said to him. You have a really good attitude about everything. He said I heard a quote once that I live by. “ if a problem has a solution then it’s not a problem, and if it doesn’t have a solution it’s also not a problem.” That stuck with me today.

    Everything was flowing perfectly until I got to the security check at the airport. 😖 They said my trekking poles are not allowed through security & have to go into check luggage. Luckily,Iberea airlines had just sent me a message saying it was possible to check my hand luggage for the trip for free! I left security with the thought, “ si algo tiene un solución no es un problema, si algo no tiene un solución tampoco es un problema.”

    As I waited to go through the security check I was listening in to everyone speak Spanish around me. Although I am so far from feeling courageous enough to spontaneously jump into conversation with someone in Spanish, I can tell how far I’ve come since January!

    Next stop Madrid and then on to San Sebastián for a tapas and playa!! ☺️
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  • Day 3

    If you’re hungry its your own fault

    May 25 in Spain ⋅ ☁️ 75 °F

    I arrived last night in San Sebastián. What a long trip! Jet lag is a real thing. 😵😴

    This morning I forced myself to get out of bed at 9:00, take a shower and get cute for the day. Last day of being cute for the next 35!

    I meditated this morning to help me ground myself. Reminding myself to look for the ways the universe is trying to help me. ✨

    I first visited the cathedral. The stained glass in European cathedrals are amazing! Plus, I feel like it’s appropriate that the first stop on this pilgrimage is a cathedral. 🔔

    Then I walked through the city. Wow! It is so strikingly beautiful! I went to the beach first. Today is the most perfect day! 73 degrees and no clouds, a light sea breeze! They got my order right. It’s perfection! I watched families playing on the beach with their nude toddlers, 🙈 and kiddos playing soccer on the beach pitches! 💛

    I continued my mission for something to caffeinate me and nourish my tummy. On my way, I stumbled across the tourist office and was able to purchase my pilagrams passport for 2€. The woman also told me that I should ride the tram to the top of the hill to see the best views of the city. 😀

    After this I walked around old town area. It’s magical here. Like Madrid but less chaotic. There are so many cute little bars and they all serve pinxots, which are like tapas. I just stopped into one and ordered “pan de Cristal con pollo al pesto y tomatitos asados” Wow!! This is the first bite of food I ate in Spain! It will be hard to beat that! 🤤 I also ordered a traditional jamón y tomate sándwich! Double Wow!!! Finally, my long awaited coffee! I am so content. Well, maybe a bit more coffee is in order! ☺️☕️ and helados!
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  • Day 4

    Venga, Vamos!

    May 26 in Spain ⋅ ☁️ 61 °F

    Today was my first day on the Camino! I did it! I walked 13.88 miles today in 6.5 hours. I did it with about 3 hrs of sleep and 1 napolitana and an Rx bar. Feeding myself has been one of the most difficult things for me to figure out. I went to bed last night thinking the single slice of tortilla and bacalao would be sufficient until morning, and I was starving all night. 🫤 I was also awake all night because the Spaniards were partying right outside my window until 4:30am. Singing and yelling, and having the best time… I was having less fun. I wonder if I’ll ever sleep a full night again in my life. 🤷‍♀️

    I woke up, had an instant coffee and a napolitana and was ready to get started. Luckily the hot, sunny day that we had yesterday was exchanged for a perfect slightly cloudy 55 degree day. I actually had no idea where I was going, and I followed this couple to the first yellow shell. 🙏🏻

    The views were spectacular all day long. It was one beautiful view after the next. One of my favorite moments was when I passed these cute cows with hair in their faces! 💕 I looked at her and I was like… I feel the same girl!🐮

    At one of the pilgrim stops I met two Spanish girls, Marta and Sonja. They were so nice to me, and we ended up waking the second part of the day together. 👯‍♀️ We spoke exclusively in Spanish for 10km. 🤯 I tried my best but it was difficult for me to get thoughts together at some moments. I learn a lot. I think one of my favorite things I learned was Calabobas, which is like when it’s spitting rain, and you don’t know if it’s going to really start raining.

    We passed through Orion, and went by the most beautiful church. The way these communities are constructed is incredible. Everything is made out of big rocks, and the streets are narrow and the buildings really close together. The windows of the homes are gorgeous and decorated with little flower pots. Like is it the law to keep flowers in your window?😂

    I arrived in Zarautz, and I am staying at Zarautz surf house. It’s okay. Close to the beach and clean. I’m still on a mission to find food. Super markets are closed on Sundays. I’m on a fasting pilgrimage apparently! 🤣

    So far feet have faired well. 🙏🏻Tomorrow I am going to try to take more breaks to rest my little piglets.

    I met a nice girl in my hostel. She told me about a neat monastery that I can stay at in 2 nights. I’m going to try to find it! ⛪️

    My capacity for talking is almost maxed out. I’m exercising my legs and my chit chat skills. And simultaneously testing my endurance without sleep and minimal food. Will I make it to Santiago?🧐
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  • Day 5

    Elixir de la vida larga

    May 27 in Spain ⋅ ☁️ 59 °F

    Today I started walking a bit later at 9 AM. I like walking later, but it does make the last part of the day a little more stressful… Energy is low and so is daylight. I walked 19.48 mile and 9.5 hrs. My feet are tired, but no blisters! 🙏🏻

    The first part of the walk was really beautiful. It was along the water and mostly flat. The little town that I came to, Getaria, was really precious. Honestly, I saw so many things during the day. It’s really hard to remember everything. 😍

    I continued to follow the Camino all the way to Zumaia. I got a little bit lost, but actually I didn’t mind. The path became significantly more challenging after Zumai. I walked off of the Camino on a different path that went more along the coast. The views were spectacular! This path is called the Camino Flysch. It goes along a Marine bio- reserve. However, it was a lot more challenging physically than walking along on the road. I think I made the right choice, but my feet don’t agree. Some of the parts of this Camino were so steep! In some sections the path is like an ice skating rink because the rocks or concrete are so slippery. I can’t imagine these Basque grandmothers walking these pathways with their fresh bread and Jamón!

    It rained on me a little bit in the afternoon. I quickly put my Poncho on! First time with the poncho! Worked great! There was really nothing I could do about how slippery the path became in the rain except slow down.

    It’s still pretty hard to figure out when and how to eat here. Last night I bought a baguette from the bakery, a package of salami and a jar of Nutella. I made salami sandwiches and Nutella sandwiches. This helped me have enough energy today. I also bought a jar of Nespresso instant coffee. When I arrived in Deba after walking seven hours, it was 4 o’clock. All of the kitchens are closed at 2:00pm and don’t open until 8:00pm. The only thing that you can eat is Pinxots. I’m going to walk across Spain on pinxots ( bar snacks). God willing, one day, I will eat an actual meal. It might not be until July 7.

    I walked alone today all day. I did not love that. 🫤 There were a lot of groups of pilgrims, but not very many solo pilgrims. Tomorrow I’m going to try to meet my friend Marta again, and spend the day walking with her.

    Staying tonight at Izarbide. It’s a very Basque accommodation. For 35€ they give me a bed, dinner and breakfast. Plus they have laundry to wash my clothes that are very smelly! 🫢
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  • Day 6

    The camino is not your mom

    May 28 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 61 °F

    The Camino is not your mom… because your mom would wake your ass up to get you out the door on time. 😂

    This morning I woke up so late at 8:30 AM. I thought everyone in the Albergue would wake me up when they were getting ready because we were essentially sleeping inside of an old sheep barn, but they were so quiet and my little silicon earplugs worked so well. I finally thought maybe I should just get up. I looked at my phone and it was 8:30! I had to be out of the albergue at 9:00am! I started to rush to get my stuff together! I took a shower, packed up my clothes, ate my breakfast and was out the door at 9:15 AM. I had missed my friend Marta because she started walking at like 6:30! I wasn’t walking alone. I met another friend named Clara. She’s from Germany. 🇩🇪 We climbed this very steep hill together! It was nice to have company to distract me from the climb!

    Today we walked through Timber harvest area. There’s a lot of walking on fire roads. All of my walking at Nisene Mark really helped prepare me. I’m glad that my feet continue to be happy! I feel a little hotspot underneath the arch of my left foot.

    I arrived in Markina at 1:30pm. I rushed to get here so I could eat Menu del día! The first place I tried had run out. I walked to the second restaurant in town. When I open the door to the restaurant and I saw this woman eating a giant plate of pasta. I thought there’s no way I can walk six more miles with that in my tummy!
    I decided to eat the baguette and salami I had in my backpack on a bench across the street at the plaza. I went to sit down and I broke through a piece of tape. I look up and all the benches had been freshly painted! 🤣🤣 I thought to myself how ironic! I ran to get to Markina. I got here, not taking any breaks. I go to sit down and the bench is painted. I was laughing so hard about it that this Spanish man started to look at me like I’m crazy. I pointed to the bench and told him that I couldn’t sit and that I thought it was so funny. He said go get yourself a coffee at the bar over there! In the end I decided to sit in the park grass and eat my salami. I’m happy actually.

    Tonight I am staying at a Monastery in Ziobar. It’s on this beautiful hillside! It was a long walk but I’m happy to be here. We will have a community dinner again at 8:00.

    Today’s statistic 17.68 miles in 8 hours. 🫠
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  • Day 7

    Get Curious

    May 29 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 70 °F

    It was a gorgeous start to the day. I woke up at 6:00 am with everyone in my Albergue and took my time getting ready and left around 7:15. It was beautiful to see the sunrise from the peaceful monastery. Right before I left some of the girls were taking advantage of the aloevera that was growing in the monastery garden. The walk was relatively mellow today. I walked 15.20 miles in 8 hrs.

    In the morning I walked past the cutest little house! It had so many little garden art pieces! It had a Snow White and the 7 dwarves in the garden! 💛 Also these adorable pot people, made out of planters, and the most incredible flower bed. 💐 I think in order to live in one of these old houses you have to have a lot of money because they look very difficult to maintain.

    I walked in the morning with a new friend Javier. Javier has a very light backpack and I am extremely jealous. It is basically the size of a small day pack. We talked about how the Camino is like a metaphor for life. The more you carry with you the harder you’re walk. Just like like the more baggage you carry in in life the more difficult life can be. Javier and I spoke exclusively in Spanish for 2 1/2 hours. Every day my Spanish is a little better. We stopped to have a coffee together and Javier told me he teaches creative marketing classes in Madrid. He said the most important elements for creativity is to be curious. 🧐 We spent a lot of time talking about creativity. We also spoke about the Camino and Spanish history. In the middle of the day we stopped in Gernika - which is an important city it Spanish history because of a major battle that happened here in 1932 (?).

    At 12:00 I stopped at church to eat something, and said goodbye to Javier for the day, but we are staying at the same albergue. I needed to stop to rest my feet. It was nice because I started so early I wasn’t in a hurry! 😏 my lunch spot had a beautiful view of the city of Gernika.

    Gernika was fine. Nothing special. 🤷‍♀️ Not everything can be San Sebastián. Although I did see some very, very, very, very fashionable abuelas out on the town! 💛 #goals!

    The afternoon I walked up to my hostel for the night, Pozueta. 32€ for a bed, dinner and breakfast. 🙃 No charge to sit in the garden with the puppy and the chickens.

    The walk wasn’t anything special. Just up an old, muddy fire road. Really grateful for my walking sticks! It feels nice to stay out of the “city”. It was lucky that we were a little ahead of the crowd because I got to rest a moment, shower and organize my things for tomorrow.

    Many of the people I’ve met this week are only walking to Bilbao, which is tomorrow’s destination. I’m excited to see the Guggenheim Museum tomorrow in Bilbao.
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  • Day 8

    Not every day is Christmas

    May 30 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 61 °F

    Not everyday can be can Christmas. Today was not Christmas. 🌧️🌧️🌧️ It was rainy and hilly and cold. It did get nicer after I arrived in Bilbao. I guess that isn’t nothing.

    I was that person in the hostel room that set my alarm too loud and then didn’t hear it myself. 🫣 oops. I’m new here.

    We had a community breakfast this morning at the hostel. I’ve actually really enjoyed eating with people at almost all of my meals.

    Today I thought often about why I am doing the Camino. I feel like the Camino and I are in a relationship and the honeymoon is over. 💔 🙄while I was infinitely climbing uphill on muddy fire roads I thought to myself… you could stop in Bilbao, Leah. Lots of the people you met this week are stopping there. There are gorgeous beaches in southern Portugal. 🏖️👙☀️

    I stopped in a small town at 10:00am at a bar to have a cafe con leche and get warm. It felt so good! While I was there I ran into 2 Swiss perragrinos that were staying at the same albergue as me the night before. The older gentleman of the pair kept telling how long until the bus to Bilbao left. 😂 I was like I’m not taking the bus, Heinz. About 2 hrs later I was like…. Heinz was smarter to take the bus. There is wisdom with age!

    Today I was thinking about what I thought the Camino would be like while I was planning this trip. I expected a lot more conversations about peoples lives. But I’ve noticed that once people are in the hostel or albergue we are all using our phones. At one moment last night while relaxing before dinner I looked around and literally everyone was on their phone sitting by themselves. It broke my heart a little bit that we do that to ourselves and to one another. So I decided to ask if anyone wanted to play Rummikub with me. My friend Javier and 2 Italians played with me for an hour before dinner. It was the best part of the afternoon. Javier was a quick learner and I learned a new word while we played-Ficha. It means tile/token.
    For that reason I decided to make the extra effort to go meet my friend Marta in Bilbao. She is so kind and sweet, and patient with my Spanish. 😎
    While I was waiting for Marta at the Guggenheim museum I ran into Javier on the sidewalk. 😄 Marta called and said she had a bad experience with the hostel she booked and is leaving it!😳 Javier and I met up with her and she was very scared and tired, still carrying her backpack! We helped her find the metro and get her on the way to her new hostel. 💕

    Then Javier and I visited the Guggenheim museum! I would not have gone had he not recommended it to me! It has such neat modern art installations! Plus the building itself is so cool!!

    By the end of the day I was so tired! I have no idea how much I walked around Bilbao, but from Pozueta to here was 16.17 miles and 6hrs 20 minutes. 🌧️ In the rain!
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  • Day 9

    Dime que estás en España sin decirme que

    May 31 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 63 °F

    I am convinced that Europeans have a secret. That secret is that they have created a system of youth hostels all around Europe. They send their teenage children there to be loud, run around, and be rambunctious somewhere that is not their house. That’s great for European parents… not so great for pilgrims. 🙄

    Today’s walk was relatively easy, but it involved a lot of asphalt, which has its own downside. An easy walk is really nice after such a hard day yesterday. I walked past the river and saw a lot of industrial buildings. In Portugalete, there is a really neat bridge that takes you from one side of the river to the other. I enjoyed taking the little trolley car to cross the river. I wish I had more time to stay in Portugalete, but tonight is my first night at a public albergue, and it doesn’t take reservations. I had to make sure I arrived by 3:00 PM to get a bed. I am walking alone today. Occasionally, I ran into people that I’ve met along the way before. Each one of us took advantage of the opportunity to complain to someone new about how badly our feet hurt. 😂😉

    I had tortilla again for a mid morning snack. Every tortilla I’ve had is different. No two are the same. Today’s tortilla was like tortilla carbonara with jamón ibérico and mushroom cream sauce on top! I would’ve eaten the whole thing if I could. I also loved the barista. She was so spunky and kept calling me guapa. I was like… I’m staying here forever. ☺️

    Pobeña is a cute beach town. It is very small, and to be honest, I enjoy the smaller towns better. Today I walked past a small bar at 5:30 PM and heard the robust sound of ten men singing inside. I was like, “That is definitely a Spanish thing… spontaneous singing.” 💕

    I’ve been thinking about attachment on the walk recently. I’ve met really wonderful people every day. Sometimes we walk together for five minutes or five hours, but you never know how long you might get with a person. Each person has a different pace, endurance, or final destination. In the morning, they might start at a different time, so you don’t walk with them again. It’s kind of like life. Sometimes you have a wonderful few days, months, or years together with someone, but it doesn’t mean their path will always be next to yours. So it’s important to enjoy the time you have with them. Or if you’re not enjoying walking with them, let them go forward without you and stop to take a coffee. I’ve always been okay, even if I had to walk alone for the day. 🍀

    Todays statistics 16.25 miles and 7 hours (walking on asphalt).
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  • Day 10

    Me importa un pimiento

    June 1 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 63 °F

    I really enjoyed my evening yesterday in Pobeña. I took a really long nap on the beach and stayed off my feet for almost two hours! That feels like a gift in the life of a pilgrim. It feels sometimes like there’s always something to do: find a bed, wash your clothes, find food, plan for the next day, put your clothes away, make your bed, eat dinner, go to sleep. 😑

    I’ve noticed I am always touching my stuff. I put my stuff away, but then I need something, so I take all my stuff out again. Then I think, “It’s so difficult to find my stuff. I should organize my stuff better.” I wonder if the answer is less stuff! 🙄

    My first night in the public albergue was fine. Better than I thought, actually. There was plenty of snoring. 😴 My friend Federico said, “It was a concert in there last night.” 🤣 He wasn’t wrong. A combination of different snoring and farts! I’ve been using silicone earplugs, and they have helped me so much! I barely wake up.

    My friend Marta is having a tough time. She has some pain in one of her toes and went to the doctor yesterday. They gave her a cream to help with the infection, but it was still painful this morning. She is going to rest today and hopefully be able to continue tomorrow.

    The walk to Castro Urdiales was fine. It started off very promising, but due to a landslide on the coastal route, it became mostly walking along the highway, which was narrow and curved. Sound safe, right? I almost got hit by a bus, but I was on the left and being very diligent about how I was walking. So, I evaded death’s invitation today. 🤪

    Castro Urdiales is beautiful. It has a lovely walking path along the water. I was so hungry when I arrived because there wasn’t anything available for breakfast. I had a cup of instant coffee and a handful of nuts for breakfast. But when I arrived in Castro Urdiales, it was the perfect time for coffee and tortilla. I bravely chose to sit at the most popular-looking cafe on the sidewalk. It was full of old men drinking decaffeinated espresso. I felt comfortable because they all looked like my dad’s friends. 😂 They offered me a spot on the bench and spoke to me about my Camino and what I should see in the area. I asked why they chose this bar. They said they come here every day at this time to drink coffee together! 💕

    I really appreciate this element of Spanish culture. It’s very, very, very social. They always go out to drink coffee with their friends in the morning and also in the evening.

    In the afternoon, I ran into my friend Javier again. It was nice to walk the last 10 km with a friend. He told me all about the rise of the Spanish Empire. He has an impressive memory and is really great at telling stories. He likes to tell stories, and I can’t speak much but like to listen, so we are a good team. He is helping me a lot with my Spanish. I learned today, “me importa un pimiento,” which means “I don’t care at all.” There were others, but I’ve already forgotten. 😬

    My mapping didn’t work well today, but I think I walked about 15 miles again in 7.5 hours.
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  • Day 11

    And so it is

    June 2 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 66 °F

    Last night, I slept like a princess. I was at this campground, and they had “glamping” tent setups. At first, I thought I would be the only one there all night! I was so thrilled! But around 7:45, another pilgrim, Bastian the German, who had walked 39 km that day, came straggling in. He was exhausted! Poor guy! I went to dinner with Javier, and he was so excited to watch the European championship soccer game. 🏟️ I woke up this morning to a message from Javier sing “champions, champions, champions! Because Madrid had won the championship!

    When I came back from dinner Bastion was still seated in a chair in the tent looking dazed. 😵‍💫 I thought about what I would want someone to do for me in a situation like this. I offered him some electrolytes and a few magnesium pills, which help your muscles immensely! We sat and talked for a while, and then it was almost 9:45, and he still hadn’t gone to shower or take care of his laundry. So I said, “Okay, come with me to the showers,” which were a short five-minute walk away. This was a lesson for me: Can you walk 39 km in a day? Yes. Should you walk 39 km? Absolutely not.

    I was lucky that Bastian was not a snorer. 🙏🏻 I told all of my Camino friends who were at the campground that I was planning to sleep until 10 a.m.! I made it to 8:00, and that feels like a win! Bastian and I decided to walk together today. So after a quick breakfast, we were off. Lucky for us, because of our late start, we missed the rain! 🍀

    The walk was nice. I enjoyed learning about Bastian’s story and why he is doing the Camino. He is very easy to walk and talk with, and we had a nice walk, even though he thought I was a little ridiculous because I loved to talk to all the cute animals we saw along the way, like the kittens in the potter plants and the baby ducks! I really, really lost myself with the baby ducks. I think he wanted to not be walking with me then! 😂😂

    We walked through this gorgeous town called Liendo that I want to move to! Everything was beautiful in this little village. We stopped for a coffee, and I decided I wanted to order something other than my café con leche. I ordered a café bombón! Whoa!!! It felt like there was a party in my mouth! 😋 It’s a shot of espresso over sweetened condensed milk! Yes, please. Forever. While we were in Liendo, we saw a procession for the Church of Corpus Christi. That was neat!

    At Liendo, we had to make the choice to go the longer route by the coast or by the highway. I had been planning to take the coast, but I got a message from Javier that the coast was extremely difficult and we should take the highway route. I trust Javier, but the highway route was absolutely awful! Literally walking along the side of the highway in the 2:00 p.m. sun! 😥

    Laredo seemed beautiful! I am staying at Casa Loopez. I will not be a princess tonight. Three old Spanish dudes are in my very small shared dormitory. It’s going to be a concert in there. But so it is. 🧘🏼‍♀️

    It is Sunday, so all the markets are closed. My pilgrimage food problems continue. Maybe my body is accustomed to this new routine. 🤷‍♀️
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