September 2017
  • Day1

    Setting off from home - we're on our way

    September 12, 2017 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 9 °C
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  • Day1

    San Sebastián

    September 12, 2017 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    Super-easy journey today - a quick flight from Dublin to Bilbao and a bus from the airport to San Sebastián.

    We had a nice evening, wandering around the city and watching the huge waves. Quite mesmerising! Looking forward to walking tomorrow.

  • Day2

    And here we are again - San Sebastián

    September 13, 2017 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

    We got up nice and early this morning and took the 6.30am airport bus. Within 25 minutes we were hopping off just after Irun, ready to start walking. We met Heather from Canada who was hunting for the non-existent arrows and we all walked together for most of the day.

    As happened last time, I was determined to take the so-called Alpinista route, but we somehow ended up on the boring flatter one. We eventually decided to forge our own trail up the side of the hill, and ended up bushwhacking through some difficult terrain. It felt like a major achievement when we reached the top and saw the amazing views of the Bay of Biscay. Well worth the exertion and the badly scratched legs!

    We lad lunch in Pasai before taking the little boat across the river. After that, we took the GR alternatives to San Sebastián. A great day of walking, conversation and laughter. Time for a swim now!
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  • Day2

    Appreciating the simple things

    September 13, 2017 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    The waves were huge this evening on La Concha beach. As I enjoyed the childish pleasure of swimming into each one and being thrown around as if in a washing machine, I realised how lucky I am to get such enjoyment from the simple things in life. Swimming in the sea, walking all day, laughing with new acquaintances .... and a hot cup of tea when it's most needed. Thank you @Laurie Reynolds for introducing me to this wonderful little gadget that boils a cup of water in no time at all. Truly life-enhancing!Read more

  • Day3

    Getaria

    September 14, 2017 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    We had all kinds of weather and every type of terrain today. The rain was pounding as we left San Sebastián, donned in our wet weather gear. Although it gradually abated, the natural trails were very muddy and slippy. The asphalt sections were quite a relief

    Things picked up after Orio and we took the alternative route into Zarautz. I took the road route last time, but this one (following the GR markers at Camping Zarautz) is so much nicer. The sun was shining and it was great to take off our shoes to walk in the sea.

    We chatted with lots of very nice people today. My scratched legs from yesterday's bushwhacking were a source of great amusement, especially when one guy asked if I'd been attacked by an animal!

    Once again, a swim in the sea was a great way of easing the aches and pains. All in all, a tiring day with a very happy ending.
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  • Day4

    Zumaia

    September 15, 2017 in Spain ⋅ 🌧 12 °C

    I love it when there's a breakfast stop about 5kms from our starting point. That first hour of walking has a clear purpose - coffee and tortilla con patata!

    Today's breakfast stop had an extra point of interest - it's the hometown of Antxon Gonzalez Gabarain (aka Bolitx), the famous Basque pilgrim who sadly passed away from ALS/MND. Before he died, he wrote El Gran Caminante, a book documenting his walk to Santiago from his front door in Zumaia. I recently read and thoroughly enjoyed the English translation of this book.

    Each morning, Antxon ordered both an espresso and a cafe con leche for his breakfast. It seemed only right to do the same in his home town this morning!
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  • Day4

    About 22kms to Albergue Izarbide

    September 15, 2017 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    A tough day, with lots of hills, rain and mud. It felt like much more than 22kms. However, we stopped in a few places along the way and (mostly!) enjoyed the journey.

    This is my second time to stay in this 'middle of nowhere' albergue. It's in a converted cowshed and there's a mix of nationalities here tonight. Great to have a hot shower, a clean bed and hopefully a nice dinner.Read more

  • Day5

    Markina - exhausted!

    September 16, 2017 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    Another day of ups and downs, with muddy trails and scenic views. We were so glad to reach Markina at lunchtime. We considering walking a bit further, but decided that rest was more important today.

    We're in the donativo pilgrim hostel, along with many of the people we've met in the past few days. Nice place.Read more