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  • Day18

    San Sebastian

    June 9, 2019 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    San Sebastian - 9 and 10 June
    We stayed just outside the Old Town of San Sebastian (about a 20 minute easy walk). Two nights here. San Sebastian is the city that invented the pintxos, the local word for small bar bites otherwise known as tapas - a meal in miniature, usually placed on a piece of bread. 
    You can either order from a hot menu or you fill your plate from the many choices of cold food lining the bar. We did a bit of both. It was great fun and delicious. So much so that we went there again the next night.

    San Sebastián is a resort town on the Bay of Biscay in Spain’s mountainous Basque Country. It’s known for Playa de la Concha and Playa de Ondarreta, beaches framed by a picturesque bayfront promenade, and world-renowned restaurants managed by innovative chefs. Its old town (Parte Vieja) is cobblestoned and has upscale shops next to the colourful pintxo bars. There is a real party atmosphere here - I can see how popular it must be in Summer with the beautiful beaches and more bars per square metre than anywhere else on Earth (so it is claimed).

    For spectacular views, you can walk to the top of Monte Urgull, at the tip of town, surrounded by low castle walls that circle a grand statue of Christ or, as we did, take the old-world funicular railway to the Parque de Atracciones (amusement park).
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  • Day82

    viva espana

    October 13, 2019 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

    vorweg genommen; wir sind in spanien angekommen; genau genommen im baskenland. die küste war sehr malerisch und zeitweise hätte man meinen können wir sind in einem schnulzefilm von katie fforde. weiter gings durch die für sonntag leicht hektische grenzstadt irun. leider konnten wir beim spanien-schild nicht halten; es war unmittelbar vor einem doppelkreisel und verklebt. dann ab in die ausläufer der pyrenäen. sieht fast so aus wie im emmental nur leider viel steiler. in astigarraga angekommen sind wir in die reservierte pension (danke jean-pierre), haben alles eingerichtet, füsse gestreckt und schon klopfte es wieder. der chef persönlich kam vorbei und hat uns angewiesen, die fahrräder in seinem keller anzustellen aus sicherheitsgründen. die fahrräder stehen nun zwischen antiquitäten und kunstgegenständen. fazit: wir sind sehr freundlich in spanien empfangen wordenRead more

  • Jun1

    Things are looking up, cont'd

    June 1, 2019 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 24 °C

    Needless to say, we slept well in San Sebastián on Thursday night. Friday’s walk included a few climbs through shady paths and would have been much more enjoyable if we hadn’t been wiped out from the day before. Met some nice American folks from CA and MT — most others we’ve met have been French, German or Dutch. The last couple of miles (photo #1) were on a rocky path we guessed was an old Roman road — the Romans settled a lot of this area and mined extensively.

    Spent Friday night in a comfortable hotel in the little town of Orio, looked after by the nice folks in photo #3.

    So today is Saturday, and we’re in Zumaia after a great walk along the coast. We passed through two lovely fishing villages and even enjoyed our first chocolate croissants! The walk from Zauratz to Getaria was along a 2.17-mile seaside promenade (you can just make it out in photo #8).

    Looking forward to a good meal, another good night’s sleep, and a short walk tomorrow to Deba (where we’ll sleep in an Albergue in an old train station — John is quite excited about that).
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  • Day4

    Sunny, beautiful and HARD walk

    June 6, 2019 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 10 °C

    Today we thought we had about 23 kms, turns out it was 26.5. But it wasn’t the distance, it was the ascents. About 1200 m elevation gain, seemed much tougher than yesterday.

    The weather was just glorious, sunny with occasional clouds and in the 60s. Mostly on mountain trails, all very well marked. The steady stream of unbelievable views was pretty great.

    Because of lack of accommodation, we had to detour 300 m down to a very pretty little village named Errezil. We have rooms in a nice guest house, Casa Letea,

    Tomorrow another 25 or so with more huge elevation gain, another 1000 or so. And lots of descent as well, which is awful on the knees. Another great weather forecast as well! No complaints from this very content Peregrina.
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  • Day6

    Short day, pretty country, sore knee

    June 8, 2019 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 11 °C

    We had a very short day, the end of the mountain alternative. Almost all of the walk was either in a beech forest or along a ridge with views of the mountain pass we will go through tomorrow. We are in a nice pension with the best meal of the trip so far. Highlight was mussels in Idiazabal cheese sauce (a Basque cheese, one of my favorites).

    My right knee is complaining on the descents. I am doing some stretches, icing it, and taking ibuprofen Fingers crossed.

    Weather got very cloudy this afternoon but were hoping for a dry day.
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  • May28

    Things are looking up!

    May 28, 2019 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    We’ve had a tough few days. Our flights into Paris were smooth, had a 4-hour layover before our train, then almost missed our connection in Bordeaux. Had to run for the train! Arrived in Hendaye, France, and walked into Irun, Spain.

    Our first day’s walk on Thursday started out well. We had a tough climb up Mt. Jazkibel, but we were rewarded with great views and a beautiful walk through quiet pastures.

    Halfway down the mountain, we ran into 2 Frenchwomen who raved about the “breathtaking” alternate route along the coastline. They convinced us to take it. Well, it was breathtaking, all right — but we thought it was our last breaths we were taking! We ended up climbing on a rocky path just wide enough for our feet, with huge rocks on one side and a sheer drop on the other. In several places we had to hold onto wire cables attached to the rocks. A couple of hours later (seemed like a week), we finally got down to the road. John wanted to hunt down those two Frenchwomen and give them hell!

    If you look at the last photo, we were waaaaay up there by the brown rocks. Wish I’d taken a pic of the path itself, but we were just trying to keep from going over the side!
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  • Day5

    Up and down and up and down

    June 7, 2019 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    We had another day with huge (for us) elevation gain. My knees finally started to complain. So on arrival in the little town of Ormaiztegi I went first to the farmacia. Got some ibuprofen (the only thing in a pharmacy that is about 1/10th the price in the US, so how did I forget mine?) and I also got a very minimal elastic knee brace. Now sitting in our pretty basic pension with ice on it. Good time to write.

    Today’s walk was again filled with jaw-dropping views. Alun got pretty good at predicting when we would leave our ascent through the forest and emerge to a gorgeous mountain scene.

    We had our first problem with routing—we could see exactly where the camino went but hundreds of pine logs were stacked blocking the way. About 45 minutes and many nettle stings later, we finally emerged on the path again. Felt very triumphant!

    No rain in the forecast, that would make it three days in a row!!!
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  • Day2

    Made it to Irun!

    June 4, 2019 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    Four flights, a few hours sleep on the plane, and a 20 minute walk into town from the airport. In a couple of hours, I was able to mail two boxes, get my Spanish phone card, buy some fruit, yoghurt and nuts, wash my clothes, shower, and check the route out of town for tomorrow.

    That left me just enough time (kitchens close at around 3:40 or 4:00 ) to get a bus to Hondarribia for my first ensalada mixta of this camino. Pretty, little, and very touristy Basque town.

    I had my first (but surely not my last) GPS freakout. One minute all my tracks were there, and the next minute they were gone. Not sure what happened, but turning it off and on again did the trick!

    I stopped off at the Albergue to get my credential stamped and got some info on our camino. Everyone else is walking the Norte, which also starts here, and which I walked with Dana in 2006 and alone in 2017. So it’s time for a new Camino.

    Cannot wait to sleep. Alun should arrive within an hour and I will be holding my eyes open with toothpicks by then!
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  • Day3

    Nothing but rain

    June 5, 2019 in Spain ⋅ 🌧 7 °C

    Alun arrived last night, Gatwick to Biarritz to Hendaye and then walked across the bridge to Irun. Great to have a buddy, especially one with as great a sense of humor as Alun. I slept straight through the night and woke up at 6 to the sound of heavy rain. No point avoiding it, since it was projected to rain all day, so we headed out around seven after a coffee. It was a hard walk, sometimes having to walk up stony paths with just tons of water pouring down from the top. We took two bar stops for the best tasting and most warming cafés con leche I have ever had. People are very nice but think we are crazy. I, on the other hand can’t understand why everyone doesn’t love this like I do.

    We did get a few minutes of no rain and an occasional snippet of blue sky. We ran into an Irish guy headed to San Sebastián who was a bit confused, but he was the only other walker we saw. Other than that we just kept plodding up and down, up and down (GPS and other tracks tell me we had 1100 m elevation gain, and about 33 km, not an easy first day), but even in the rain it was beautiful.

    Arriving at the Hotel Ibiltze was like entering heaven. One hot shower, clothes washed, and all is well. Tomorrow we continue into the mountains for the first of a two-day mountain alternative. And no rain in the forecast!!!
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  • Day44

    Donostia San Sebastian

    July 14 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    Und hier sind wir nun im Süden. Das erste mal Tapas mit Pulpo, Garnelen und noch mehr Köstlichkeiten. Begeisterung pur.

You might also know this place by the following names:

Gipuzkoa, Provincia de Guipuzcoa, Guipuzcoa, Guipuzcua, غيبوثكوا, Guipúzcoa, Província de Guipúscoa, Γκιπούθκοα, Provinco Gipusko, استان گیپوسکوا, Guipúscoa, Guipuscoa, Gipuskoa, Գիպուսկոա, ギプスコア, გიპუსკოა, Гипускоа, 기푸스코아 주, Ipuscoa, Provinsia de Gipuzkoa, Gipuskoa provincija, Gipuskoja, Prowincja Guipúzcoa, Provincia Guipúzcoa, Guipúzcoa eanangoddi, จังหวัดกีปุซโกอา, Guipúzcoa ili, Гіпускоа, GUI, گیپوسکوا, გიპუსკოაშ პროვინცია, 吉普斯夸省

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