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LIVE from the Camino 5 Peregrinas on the Baztan

NualaOC

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few and hopefully lots more. See signature.
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Hello from the cold, wet and muddy Camino del Baztan!

The five us (@NualaOC, @Viranani, @peregrina2000, @Rebekah Scott and @kathygpilgrim) met last night in Bayonne, ate fine food (OK, pizzas from a box) and chatted as though we were old friends. We set off this morning in the rain and sloshed all day through the mud.

We're in Esplette now, and availing of the pilgrim-rate in the Hotel Euzkadi. Our original plan was to stay in the Gite de Pelerin, but this place offered to feed us and dry our clothes ...... how could we refuse?

We watched the sky as we ate our very nice dinner and speculated about where those clouds might be heading. Unfortunately, the weather forecast suggests that they will be following us to Amaiur tomorrow :)
 

timr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
@NualaOC and Co. Wow great that you have got under way. Sorry about the weather. You seem to be a mud magnet - but it is an essential part of the fun.;)

Espelette is a strange place. Rather too pretty, but hard to resist. I stayed in the Hotel there as the Gite was closed for bedbug issues last October. The room was pretty luxurious and had a totally unecological sort of fan-heated towel rail which dried everything very well.

I felt I had to buy something from there and I bought a little bottle of Espelette "paprika", which I felt was light enough not to be a problem. I pushed it down deep in a side pocket of my rucksack. And next time I saw it was when I was finishing the Camino Portugues several months later!!

I hope the weather will improve..... Do watch for the left turn at crossroads a mile or so from Espelette in the morning. I missed it and was soon on the way to Irun.

But a truly memorable and loveable route. And I am sure you will all have a blast. Watch out for a sign on a house putting you under the patronage of St Joseph the 'patron saint of smugglers'. It is Calle de San Salvador in Urdax, on a house on the left as you go in.
 

basquelady

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF (2013), CF Pamplona to V del Bierzo (2014), Baztanés, then CF (2016), CF Sahagun to SDC (2017)
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Hello from the cold, wet and muddy Camino del Baztan!

The five us (@NualaOC, @Viranani, @peregrina2000, @Rebekah Scott and @kathygpilgrim) met last night in Bayonne, ate fine food (OK, pizzas from a box) and chatted as though we were old friends. We set off this morning in the rain and sloshed all day through the mud.

We're in Esplette now, and availing of the pilgrim-rate in the Hotel Euzkadi. Our original plan was to stay in the Gite de Pelerin, but this place offered to feed us and dry our clothes ...... how could we refuse?

We watched the sky as we ate our very nice dinner and speculated about where those clouds might be heading. Unfortunately, the weather forecast suggests that they will be following us to Amaiur tomorrow :)
5 seems a good group to have; John and I felt a bit vulnerable last year being on our own, especially following John's nasty "tumble" before Lantz. Have you considered the detour we took from Sorauren over the "hill" to the lovely albergue (Sagrada Corazon) at Zabaldika on the CF?
 

NualaOC

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few and hopefully lots more. See signature.
The thread title reminds me of those Enid Blyton "Famous Five..." classics, and I'm sure your adventures will be just as interesting and jolly. I do hope the weather improves real soon, though!
Thanks James! There are so many Enid Blyton references on this Camino. I even saw a magic faraway tree and a Timmy dog today - but sadly, all those references are lost on my companions :)
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Here we are in Amaiur. Beautiful Basque Country. We had a totally rain-free day and enjoyed a pilgrim-free camino. When we left this morning there were a few drops but nothing much ever fell.

Ainhoa is a gorgeous little pueblo, where we had a coffee and saw the church. Close to the border @Nuala told us that the route got kind of commercial. So, armed with my GPS, Nuala and I set out to avoid the commerce. The sensible three stuck with the camino and the arrows.

Nuala and I enjoyed a walk in the woods, thinking we were avoiding the asphalt. At some point, not exactly sure where we were, we saw some forest workers. Imagine my surprise when he said bon jour. I said in my best French "nous ne sommes pas na Espagne? Apparently not! A little backtracking and we found our way to the Camino and hooked up with the sensible three inUrdax. Beautiful little town, followed by a strenuous 5 km up.

From there it was a descent to the town where we are now, ensconced in a pretty little casa rural. Tomorrow is an easy flat 20 km. We are absolutely slack jawed at the beauty here.
 

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NualaOC

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few and hopefully lots more. See signature.
5 seems a good group to have; John and I felt a bit vulnerable last year being on our own, especially following John's nasty "tumble" before Lantz. Have you considered the detour we took from Sorauren over the "hill" to the lovely albergue (Sagrada Corazon) at Zabaldika on the CF?
Hi Jean, some of us might do that. We were just talking about it today! Hope you and John are well.
 

timr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
I loved those books!!
It is a marvellous if slightly surreal combination: 'Famous Five' meets 'The Baztan Trilogy'.
Famous Five: A long series (read by all children of a certain age in UK - think Harry Potter half a century ago) in which five children have adventures which usually involve school holidays and a lot of hiking. And ginger beer (which is non-alcoholic in UK).
The Baztan Trilogy: A series set in the Baztan Valley by Dolores Redondo. A publishing sensation in Spain and most of Europe. A serial killer story deeply immersed in the Basque culture, folklore and history of the region. If your first reaction is "I don't like serial killer stories" don't let this put you off immediately - give the first one a try. For those reading in English, volume 3 is due out 24th August!!
 

SabineP

Camino = Gratitude + Compassion.
Camino(s) past & future
some and then more. see my signature.
It is a marvellous if slightly surreal combination: 'Famous Five' meets 'The Baztan Trilogy'.
Famous Five: A long series (read by all children of a certain age in UK - think Harry Potter half a century ago) in which five children have adventures which usually involve school holidays and a lot of hiking. And ginger beer (which is non-alcoholic in UK).
The Baztan Trilogy: A series set in the Baztan Valley by Dolores Redondo. A publishing sensation in Spain and most of Europe. A serial killer story deeply immersed in the Basque culture, folklore and history of the region. If your first reaction is "I don't like serial killer stories" don't let this put you off immediately - give the first one a try. For those reading in English, volume 3 is due out 24th August!!
And here is the theme song....ok I will stop hijacking this thread now..lalala....

 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Today we walked out of Amaya in a light mist, and headed into the heart of the Baztan Valley, through oak woods and fields, with villages scattered here and there showing off an obviously rich heritage of wealth and patrimony. The villages have immense whitewashed houses with crests over the doors and red geraniums pouring down from windowboxes. Fat cattle laze in fields of deep grass, and there are also goats, sheep, and horses--as well inexplicable numbers of miniature horses (what do people do with these beings?. There is a ton of history here, and the landscape is scattered with oddities—battle sites, hermi, Roman roads, and today we passed the remains of what looked like some kind of smelter.
We stopped in the largish town of Elizondo for a break to stock up on provisions for the evening and a café before heading into hillier landscapes as we get nearer the pass leading to the Pamplona side of the Pyrenees. Today was relatively flat with just a few hills…tomorrow will be another story. So we took advantage of the easy day, enjoying the gentle terrain and gorgeous scenery. By midday the sun had come out and it got pleasantly warm—a nice change from the wetter weather the last few days.
Here in the posh albergue in Berroetta for the night, the old hands amongst us remarked that this place has one of the best views going--we're surrounded by forested hills with pastureland closer to the village.
Tomorrow the hill...ultreia!
 

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NualaOC

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few and hopefully lots more. See signature.
Day 4 on the Baztan: Berroeta to Lantz.

Today we walked the most beautiful stage of this Camino, with magical beech forests and a climb up to Puerta de Belate, the highest point on this route. Laurie and I took the alternative path out of Berroeta (and managed not to get lost this time!). I'll post some details about that when I get home - it's quite stunning and has no road-walking.

We're in another great municipal albergue tonight. We had a big dinner in the local bar, so we're happy peregrinas. Pamplona tomorrow.
 

timr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
You are making great progress. I hope not TOO much rain and not TOO much mud.
I remember the albergue as being great and the hospitalera as exceptionally welcoming.
And the bar, inconspicuous from the outside, but looking like most of the village could probably fit inside standing!! It was the evening on which I met people on the walk and I have happy memories.
Looks like you are heading to Pamplona on Monday, as you did before Nuala and I did too. So no bar along the way.......
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid
For those of us who know you guys only by writing style, could we have a little annotation of who is who on one of the photos containing all of you? (Or do you prefer to remain a bit anonymous-ish online? I'd appreciate that)
I'm just nosy.
 

NualaOC

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few and hopefully lots more. See signature.
For those of us who know you guys only by writing style, could we have a little annotation of who is who on one of the photos containing all of you? (Or do you prefer to remain a bit anonymous-ish online? I'd appreciate that).
I'm just nosy.
Hi Rachael - I'll do that as soon as I have a good phone or wifi signal

You are making great progress. I hope not TOO much rain and not TOO much mud.
I remember the albergue as being great and the hospitalera as exceptionally welcoming.
And the bar, inconspicuous from the outside, but looking like most of the village could probably fit inside standing!! It was the evening on which I met people on the walk and I have happy memories.
Looks like you are heading to Pamplona on Monday, as you did before Nuala and I did too. So no bar along the way.......
We're en-route to Pamplona now. No bars open, but we found a petrol-station with a coffee machine. We had an impromptu picnic on the forecourt!

So far, the mud isn't too bad ...... but we'll soon be entering that cattle field.
 
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KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!

amancio

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte, Primit, Salvador, Portug, Arag, Ingles, VdlP, Leban-Vadin, Fisterra, Invierno, LePuy
Day 4 on the Baztan: Berroeta to Lantz.

Today we walked the most beautiful stage of this Camino, with magical beech forests and a climb up to Puerta de Belate, the highest point on this route. Laurie and I took the alternative path out of Berroeta (and managed not to get lost this time!). I'll post some details about that when I get home - it's quite stunning and has no road-walking.

We're in another great municipal albergue tonight. We had a big dinner in the local bar, so we're happy peregrinas. Pamplona tomorrow.
Hi girls, I will be hopefully starting this route on Thursday a week, yipeeeee!!! All excited, because it will be a brand new experience for me, on my own in a lonely camino, in a foreign country too... I have read this part of Puerto Belate is actually closed, there is a temporary diversion 200 meters before you reach the monastery, due to some foresting works.

Is this temporary diversion still obligatory? Is it safe to follow the old, much nicer route?

Thanks for any information, girls, I am more and more convinced now about this camino, and the advise about Hotel Euzkadi in Espelette does actually make a lot of sense considering it includes dinner and breakfast.

I am originally planning to sleep in

Espelette
Urdax (Monastery)
Huarte (just past Elizondo)
Lantz

Does that sound like a good distribution of stages?

Buen camino from your number one Granada fan!
 

amancio

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte, Primit, Salvador, Portug, Arag, Ingles, VdlP, Leban-Vadin, Fisterra, Invierno, LePuy
Actually, I was also wondering if you have any recommendation for accommodation in Bayonne. Thanks!
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
Actually, I was also wondering if you have any recommendation for accommodation in Bayonne. Thanks!
Hola, Amancio,

Last year I've stayed in kind of air b'n'b accommodation (which it wasn't really), just behind the cathedral in Bayonne. PM me if you want the info. French & English speaking, and I'd guess also Spanish as she was Basque.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
@amancio, the hotel near the railway station is very nice, reasonable, and central. Hotel Cote Basque.
Our hardest day hands down was Esplette to Maya. If you stayed in Urdax that would take out one set of hills. And make that stage easier. But the day from near Elizondo to Lantz would be 'interesting.' I for one wouldn't want to do that, but others may feel fine with the hills and distance. It all depends on your fitness; we stayed in Berroeta.
Our stages: Esplette, Maya, Berroeta, Lantz.
The day from Beroetta to Lantz was very special, not to be rushed.
 

NualaOC

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few and hopefully lots more. See signature.
Hi girls, I will be hopefully starting this route on Thursday a week, yipeeeee!!! All excited, because it will be a brand new experience for me, on my own in a lonely camino, in a foreign country too... I have read this part of Puerto Belate is actually closed, there is a temporary diversion 200 meters before you reach the monastery, due to some foresting works.
Is this temporary diversion still obligatory? Is it safe to follow the old, much nicer route?
Thanks for any information, girls, I am more and more convinced now about this camino, and the advise about Hotel Euzkadi in Espelette does actually make a lot of sense considering it includes dinner and breakfast.
I am originally planning to sleep in
Espelette
Urdax (Monastery)
Huarte (just past Elizondo)
Lantz
Does that sound like a good distribution of stages?
Buen camino from your number one Granada fan!
Hi @amancio,

It's so much easier to answer your questions now that I'm home and at a big screen!

1. Re the forestry works and diversion: after the Puerta de Belate and the old monastery, four of us walked through the forest. There was evidence of extensive logging, but the path was open (on a Sunday). Rebekah took the other route (to the right) which turned out to be a longer one. I didn't see any diversion before the monastery.

2. The hotel in Esplette worked out really well for us - not least because the lady put our wet boots in the boiler room. She also dried our clothes and gave us a place to hang our wet coats. It was €50 per person, including a very good dinner and breakfast. We were in shared rooms - it might be more expensive in a single room. The albergue/gite costs €15 per bed. Esplette is a tourist-town, so everything is expensive.

3. Some observations re your stages:
  • I agree with @Viranani that Elizondo/Huarte to Lantz could be a very long stage. And I also agree that Berroeta to Lantz was a really special day. I think I'd find that day very tough (and perhaps less special) if I had walked from Elizondo. Having said that, a young Israeli man in our albergue did just that.
  • Esplette to Urdax would be a pretty short stage - only about 11.5kms (I think).
  • It's hard to come up with a perfect split - our stages worked well, but as @Viranani said, Amauir-Maya to Berroeta was a really tough day, especially with the big climb after Urdax.
  • If you had 6 days rather than 5, you could really savour the beauty of this route!

If you have a smartphone, I'd strongly recommend the Buen Camino app. There have been a few route changes since I walked this Camino last year and the app seems to have the most up-to-date information. It's very easy to use and the maps are really helpful at those moments when you think you might have missed an arrow.

Hope this helps with your planning. Wishing you a Buen Camino!
 

amancio

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte, Primit, Salvador, Portug, Arag, Ingles, VdlP, Leban-Vadin, Fisterra, Invierno, LePuy
Wow, that is great news, thanks Nuala! Only one last question: when you come to Belate, is it easy enough to tell the diversion from the old (and prettier) route? Is the old route still well sign posted? Incidentally, I would be crossing that are on a Sunday too!

I see the Urdax stage is very short, but I like the idea of the monastery, and also might have a chance to visit the famouse caves of Zumarragurdi, where witches did their black masses hundreds of years ago (it would be adding some 8 or 9 km, I believe)

As to Berroeta... it is hard to split stages perfectly, I could make my previous stage to Huarte from 20 to 29, but then in Berroeta there is no place to eat or anything. I will bear it in mind in case I feel strong that day and make the stage longer!

After Pamplona, I will move on along the Francés for a few days, up to Logroño hopefully... Or I might just go to Saint JEan Pied de Port, I have never done SJPP to Roncesvalles. I will decide as I am there!

Muchas gracias, irlandesa!
 

NualaOC

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few and hopefully lots more. See signature.
Wow, that is great news, thanks Nuala! Only one last question: when you come to Belate, is it easy enough to tell the diversion from the old (and prettier) route? Is the old route still well sign posted? Incidentally, I would be crossing that are on a Sunday too!

I see the Urdax stage is very short, but I like the idea of the monastery, and also might have a chance to visit the famouse caves of Zumarragurdi, where witches did their black masses hundreds of years ago (it would be adding some 8 or 9 km, I believe)

As to Berroeta... it is hard to split stages perfectly, I could make my previous stage to Huarte from 20 to 29, but then in Berroeta there is no place to eat or anything. I will bear it in mind in case I feel strong that day and make the stage longer!

After Pamplona, I will move on along the Francés for a few days, up to Logroño hopefully... Or I might just go to Saint JEan Pied de Port, I have never done SJPP to Roncesvalles. I will decide as I am there!

Muchas gracias, irlandesa!
Hi again @amancio,
I'm not 100% sure how to answer your question re Belate, as we weren't really aware of the potential diversion. At the Puerta de Belate (the top of the mountain, with the restored Ermita) there are a few different walking routes. Two have Camino arrows and they both lead downhill, to the old monastery. At the bottom, you can keep straight (with the monastery on your left) and enter the forest. This is a really nice path and there are plenty of arrows. Alternatively, you can go right (follow the sign for a bar) to take the other route. I'm not sure which is the original and which is the diversion. @Rebekah Scott might be able to advise about the other route, as she went that way. Overall, everything is well signposted in this area - there are lots of new yellow arrows.

Also - if you stop at the Venta San Blas bar (after Almandoz and before you enter the forest), the woman there knows absolutely everything about the possible routes and will give you great advice.

You're right that Berroeta has no services, apart from a great albergue with a well-equipped kitchen. If you decide to stay there, you'll need to pick up food in Elizondo. Alternatively, you can phone the hospitalera the evening before and ask her to get some food for you. She will sell you basic items such as bread, eggs, pasta, milk etc. The hospitalera in Lantz is also willing to do this.

One of the great things about this Camino is that you can just make it up as you go along. There are very few pilgrims, so there's no bed-rush.
 

amancio

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte, Primit, Salvador, Portug, Arag, Ingles, VdlP, Leban-Vadin, Fisterra, Invierno, LePuy
oh, bummer! I just cancelled all my tickets to the Camino, my father is in hospital and I have to put everything on hold... hopefully in September, who knows!
 

NualaOC

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few and hopefully lots more. See signature.
oh, bummer! I just cancelled all my tickets to the Camino, my father is in hospital and I have to put everything on hold... hopefully in September, who knows!
So sorry to hear that @amancio . I hope everything goes well for your Dad, and that he has a speedy recovery.
For what it's worth, I think September would be a lovely time to walk this Camino - especially later in the month, as the autumn colours start to appear.
 

Mike Savage

So many friends to meet . . . so little time
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés,Inglés
Muxia/Finisterre
Português Coastal
Português Central
Sanabrés
oh, bummer! I just cancelled all my tickets to the Camino, my father is in hospital and I have to put everything on hold... hopefully in September, who knows!
Amancio, I hope everything goes well for you and for your father.
 

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