May 2017
  • Day17

    Lisburn

    May 24, 2017 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    Back home - post-Camino laundry day!

    I had a wonderful two weeks of walking, but it's good to be home. I'm going through the usual post-Camino routine of washing everything, including my shoes and rucksack.

    My memories of the Camino del Norte will be of mountains, sea swimming, great food and some very memorable conversations with people I'll probably never see again. I was also struck by the friendliness and the great hospitality that I experienced. Roll on September - I can't wait to return!

    The Camino del Baztán was as beautiful and peaceful as I remembered. I'd forgotten how strenuous it is - maybe I blanked out those steep ascents! However, my abiding memory will be of the wonderful company - walking with my four amigas was a very special experience indeed.

    I didn't keep track of my walking distances - probably about 250 kms in total. No injuries or ill-effects, apart from the two blisters that are are almost healed.
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  • Day16

    Bilbao - just passing through again

    May 23, 2017 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    Today's travel involves a walk around Pamplona, a bus to Bilbao, a little walk around Bilbao, a bus to the airport for my flight to Dublin and another bus from Dublin to Belfast. That probably sounds very long-drawn-out, but it's actually quite relaxing and a good way of starting the transition between the Camino and home.

    Next time I'm in Bilbao I'll make sure there's time to go inside the Guggenheim! OK, that probably won't happen as I'll be passing through again in September. Maybe this city merits a weekend trip as a tourist!
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  • Day16

    Pamplona

    May 23, 2017 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 12 °C

    It was great to arrive in Pamplona yesterday after a long hot day of hiking. And oh, those pintxos! We just about managed to stay awake for a mini-tapas crawl. All were good, but the final place (Bar Gaucho) was definitely the best!

    I enjoyed a little walk around the city this morning before catching the bus to Bilbao. Pamplona is much bigger than I thought. This is my third visit and I look forward to returning sometime - I always seem to be just passing through.Read more

  • Day15

    Lantz to Pamplona, about 29kms

    May 22, 2017 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 25 °C

    A day of mostly off-road hiking, through forests, natural trails and a meadow of wild flowers. Some mud, but thankfully not as much as last year. Just four of us today, as Laurie is now on her way to Irun.

    Everywhere in the Baztan valley seems to close on a Monday, but we found a petrol station with a coffee machine! Manna from heaven 😊Read more

  • Day14

    Berroeta to Lantz, about 19kms

    May 21, 2017 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    Fantastic day of off-road hiking, through magical beech forests and over the Puerto de Belate. Strenuous, but worth it. Laurie and I took the less-travelled option from Berroeta and were so glad that we did. It involved a bit of scrambling, but all of the efforts were very well-rewarded. There were more yellow arrows than we expected and with a little GPS help, we managed not to get lost. Amazingly, we met the others at the point where the two paths joined. A seemingly impossible coincidence!

    We stayed in the excellent albergue in Lantz and dined with the locals in the Posada. A memorable last night together for the 5 Peregrinas.
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  • Day13

    Amaiur to Berroeta - about 20 kms

    May 20, 2017 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    This was to be a shorter day, so we had breakfast at Goiz Argi and set off a little later than usual. We were in no particular hurry, as Laurie had phoned the Berroeta hospitalera to let her know we were coming. And since there's nothing to do in Berroeta, there's no point in arriving too early!

    We had a short stop in Arizkun, followed by a longer one in Elizondo. The popularity of the Dolores Redondo books was very much in evidence, with tour buses parked in the side streets. We fed our own Redondo fascinations with a visit to the Malkorra cafe and a txantxigorri! We then bought food to cook later in the albergue.

    Once again, my Baztán memories proved to be quite unreliable, as I remembered this as a pretty easy and flat day. While it didn't involve any of yesterday's exertions, it definitely wasn't flat.

    There are six of us in the Berroeta albergue - the five amigas, plus a man from Valencia who was probably looking forward to having the place to himself! This is a comfortable 16-bed albergue, with a well-equipped kitchen and dining area. We enjoyed a very happy home-cooked meal before retiring early to bed.

    Laurie and I will take the alternative route to Belate tomorrow. We had a quick look at the initial stages and there seem to be some yellow arrows. With these arrows, our notes and the GPS tracks we should be fine! The hospitalera also gave us some useful tips and advice, as she walks this route to gather mushrooms.
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  • Day12

    Esplette to Amaiur - about 24 kms

    May 19, 2017 in Spain ⋅ 🌧 11 °C

    This was definitely a harder day than I remember from last time. Laurie and I made things even harder by taking a forest route over the border into Spain, in an effort to avoid the asphalt and the long row of supermarkets and fuel stations. However, we weren't as clever as we thought and ended up taking a bit of a detour! No regrets, though - it was a really nice walk.

    We met up with the others in Urdax and after a lunch stop, began the long climb. It went on and on and on ..... and then there was another one after we reached what seemed to be the top! All in all, a long day and we were glad to reach our B&B (Goiz Argi) in Amaiur. We relaxed for a while and had dinner in the local bar. The lady prepared big platters of fried eggs, potatoes and meat for us. After that, we made the most of the kitchen and sitting room at Goiz Argi and enjoyed Kathy's Gateau Basque and tea. We're so rock and roll!

    I think we'll all sleep well tonight.
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  • Day11

    Bayonne to Esplette

    May 18, 2017 in France ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C

    Day 1 of the Camino del Baztan. About 25 kms from Bayonne to Esplette. Mud, mud, glorious mud!

    The weather was awful, but the company was fabulous.

  • Day10

    Bayonne

    May 17, 2017 in France ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    I checked into the little hotel on arrival in Bayonne and did the usual ritual of having a shower, washing my clothes and setting up an improvised laundry line. I then went out for a little ramble around the city.

    The other Baztán peregrinas arrived a little later and we chatted as though we were old friends. A great start to the next part of the adventure!Read more

  • Day10

    Hondarribia to Hendaye

    May 17, 2017 in France ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    This was a travel day, with a little bit of walking. OK, probably more than a little bit of walking as my fitbit recorded 28,200 steps. 😊

    I took the ferry across the estuary from Hondarribia to Hendaye. A very pleasant little jaunt, on a sunny morning. There were just four of us in the boat.

    My plan was to walk from Hendaye to Saint Jean de Luz, but after walking along Hendaye Plage, I decided that I didn't really want to do this. I walked back along the beach, through the town and along the estuary to the railway station. The estuary/river walk is part of a GR route and a few people stopped me to ask where I was going! Two Italian men were particularly keen to chat, as they had walked the Camino Francés a few years ago.

    I hung around the train station for a while, before taking the train to Bayonne. This was so much faster and more comfortable than the bus.
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