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Detour to Zegama from the Viejo

peregrina2000

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On the theory that I have to have a camino at the ready for whatever season we are in when walking is again possible, I am going back to the spectacular deep dive Viejo thread (thanks, VN) and actually plotting out potential stages. Accommodation is tricky, place names are frustrating (many having two or three), but it looks like an incredibly beautiful and interesting walk. High summer may be difficult just because of the popularity of the area for vacations, so this will be my late summer/early fall option.

In that Viejo planning thread, there was some discussion about taking a detour up to Zegama, so as to be able to walk the route through the Túnel de San Adrián stage again. This was a great day on my Vasco Interior. It adds at least one day, but if I have the time and the weather cooperates, I would like to do it.

I hope to sleep in Arbizu, or possibly Alsasua. From both of those spots, there are wikiloc tracks to Zegama, but not many.

I have found one from Arbizu to Zegama direct (without continuing on to Alsasua), and a couple that go Arbizu-Alsasua-Zegama

The distances are similar, but the Arbizu to Zegama direct has a lot more elevation gain.

Just wondering if @caminka or any of the other Viejo stalwarts has any insight or suggestions? I’ve sent a message to the author of the direct trail, and they are usually very good about responding, so I may get some first hand knowledge that way.

I’ll be happy to post my final product but I’m just at the beginning so it may be a while! Buen camino, Laurie
 
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peregrina2000

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Staff member
Arbizu has some accomodations but in the higher pricerange. http://arbizu.eus/es/turismo/comer-y-dormir/

Then again not a typical Camino environment.
Thanks, Sabine! Actually that was one of the things that attracted me to Arbizu. So much of the accommodation in this area is casas rurales, which in principle typically do not rent out individual rooms for a one night stay.

I have even thought I might spend two nights in Arbizu — one when arriving from the day from Hiriberri, which includes a circle up to San Miguel de Aralar and some dolmen. And the second night would be to take a day walk up to San Donato and the Beriain. That’s only 17 km but it might be a knock-out elevation day, so a stay in Arbizu would mean I could go up without loaded pack!
 
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And forward planning — not to forget option to stay in the parador near Estibaliz, which would be a pretty short day for you from Salvatierra. So maybe the place to stay after coming down from the tunnel would be Zalduodo, where there are at least two guest houses. Not as nice as Salvatierra, but maybe it balances things out a bit, especially if you chose not to walk via Zegama, but to go more directly.
 

peregrina2000

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Staff member
True to form, within a day I got a detailed response from the person who loaded the Wikiloc tracks that take you directly from Arbizu to Zegama without going through Alsasua. Here is the response, translated by me.

It’s been some years since I walked this route but I can tell you it is very comfortable. At the beginning there is an ascent to the zone of Txaraigorri, where the GR 12 and the GR 121 merge and they will take you close to the town of Otsaurte. It is very well marked and a large part of the walk up to the pass of Etxegarate is a large beech forest. Now that I think of it, the beginning part of the trail may not have been well marked, but with the GPS you will not have a problem.

You’ll see that the track leaves the GR routes and goes to the right to descend to Zegama. When do you plan to do it? If you need any more information please let me know, you will see I also have a route that goes from Zegama to San Adrian (the tunnel). Buen viaje


So, I would definitely suggest that for anyone who is planning to walk the Viejo, if you can add a day to your journey, you would not regret the ascent to the tunnel of San Adrian. Instead of Arbizu to Salvatierra/Aguraín on the Viejo, you would walk Arbizu to Zegama and Zegama to Salvatierra/Aguraín on the Vasco Interior. In either case, the caminos then merge for a while, from Salvatierra to Puebla de Arganzón to be exact.

The wikiloc community is just as helpful as the forum community, so it is a winning combination!
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
Laurie, you mentioned in the Viejo thread finding a way directly up to the Tunel San Adrian without first going down to Zegama. If you stay on the GR, does that go to the Tunel? Because that would save you a night. It'd be possible to walk these stages: Alsasua-Zalduondo-Estibaliz-Puebla de Arlanzon, walking through (or past, if you are adventurous and willing to chart your own course and save some kms) Vitoria-Gasteiz.
 

peregrina2000

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Staff member
Hmmm, great idea! It looks like there is a trail from Alsasua to the tunnel (and beyond), that shows about 20 km to the tunnel.

From the tunnel to Salvatierra would be another 16 or so.

Something to consider, but I would have to upset the apple cart of my earlier days, which I will have plenty of time to do before I get a vaccine!

Edited to add: Actually, I see now that all I would have to do is add 12 flat kms to my walk from Arbizu up to Beriain and San Donato. I had planned to just do a day trip from Arbizu, but it would be under 30 to add the kms, so that is what I will tentatively plan to do!
 
Last edited:
D

Deleted member 34316

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Laurie, you may be one of the first guests of the new albergue in Zegama, which I don't think has been open yet due to Covid. It is located on the small hill, right next to the Centro de Interpretación (here), where in the past pilgrims used to register and pick up the keys to the old polideportivo albergue.

New albergue in Zegama - photos 2020

I have walked the Camino Vasco del Interior several times and every time I slept in the old albergue in Zegama in polideportivo, where, in case you wanted to use the bathroom at night, you had to to go to the dark scary basement across the yard with your headlamp on - someone at gronze described it as an Indiana Jones adventure :)

The first visitors of new Zegama albergue can have privilege of submitting the description, photos and a review to several online guides like Gronze, Eroski, Wise Pilgrim, Google Maps etc. Any reviews which you can find online at this moment refer to the old albergue and may be a bit... uninviting.

Buen Camino!
 
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peregrina2000

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Staff member
Wow! Thanks for that news. It’s not as wild as the albergue in Muxia, but it is surely eye-catching. I often wonder whether these new purpose-built buildings are more economical than rehabbing one of the many vacant old buildings in most Spanish towns.

Do you happen to know where it is located? I confess that when I walked the Vasco, I stayed in the pensión connected with the kind of up-scale restaurant in town. It was a great menú del día, probably even up to @SabineP ’s high standards!
 

SabineP

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Wow! Thanks for that news. It’s not as wild as the albergue in Muxia, but it is surely eye-catching. I often wonder whether these new purpose-built buildings are more economical than rehabbing one of the many vacant old buildings in most Spanish towns.

Do you happen to know where it is located? I confess that when I walked the Vasco, I stayed in the pensión connected with the kind of up-scale restaurant in town. It was a great menú del día, probably even up to @SabineP ’s high standards

Great lunch indeed!
The bar on the other side of the street is very welcoming too.
We said hi to the owners whose daughter we met in Tolosa where she was working as a student in a pintxos bar.
One of those wonderful coincidences you only have on a Camino.
 
D

Deleted member 34316

Guest
Do you happen to know where it is located?
I believe, based on the photos, it is located here:
https://goo.gl/maps/89EePhFA3EXZ5hRGA

on a small hill which you can access via one of those open-air elevators (or a long flight of stairs)
ascensor-primor.jpg


Zegama is a beautiful little town at the foot of the Basque Mountains. For those who slept the previous night at Beasain (excellent albergue there), it's a short stage of 16 km which leaves a lot of time to explore Zegama, there are also many marked trails in the surrounding hills, which can be found on Wikiloc (like this one for example).
 
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D

Deleted member 34316

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So maybe the place to stay after coming down from the tunnel would be Zalduodo, where there are at least two guest houses
Since Zalduondo has been mentioned,
Seems there is a new albergue or maybe just a donativo pilgrim shelter there,
listed in Gronze, but has no comments yet:
https://www.gronze.com/pais-vasco/alava/zalduondo/acogida-peregrinos-zalduondo

On the map (link to Google Maps)

I could find just one single review on Google in Spanish which says:
"The neighbors are very quiet and never bother"

As I found a bit later, the building of the albergue is adjacent to a ...cemetery.
 

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