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LIVE from the Camino Interior way 2020

Erromesa

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Barnealdeko Donejakue Bidea (Basque Country interior)
I started off on the 1st of July, departing from Irun to Hernani, where I stayed the night at the house of some friends. Hernani is an impressively beautiful town with a great ambiance. 26km in total. 7 hours like it said on the brochure, but this my first time walking such considerable distances and I'm quite out of shape. I'm sure others could reduce that down and still visit things off the track.

The problem with being out of shape and trying to match the time as written on the guide map is that I kept my head down in many parts in order to reach where I needed to go...missing a great part of what makes walking attractive.

The second day from Hernani to Bidania. 29km, but I got seriously lost going back and forth trying to find the way and it must have been 33km. Yes there are markers but in some crucial points there weren't any: I'm thinking about the way from Andazarrate to Iturriotz. Luckily the days are long and I reached Bidania around 9 (!) pm with light. Oh, and there was a lot of rain and fog I was soaking wet by the end, including my shoes and socks even though I wore plastic bags. My socks wore holes in the bags!

I really regret that the weather going up the mountain from Iturriotz was so terrible, the fog made everything impossible to see beyond a few metres but even from the little I could see, it was gorgeous. A must do when there is good weather, to enjoy the landscape.

Important: Brings lots of water when you leave Zubieta. No fountains from that point onwards until you get to Andazarrate. You can always ask people along the way of course.

In Bidania I fortuitously met the mayor of the town and she offered to let me sleep in the frontoia (the frontón), a big gymnasium with showers and toilets. On the condition that I leave in the morning because the school would come to use it.

Currently I am in Santa Marina having a rest day. Incredible view. There is a family run pension here, Segore Etxeberri, with a restaurant. The food is great and quite cheap.

I also needed to stop here because (foolish first time pilgrim) I ended up drinking very late, I'm afraid to say how late, with the bar owner in Bidania and he kept serving me drinks to keep me talking and now I'm a bit sick. Lesson learned, don't drink.

I haven't seen any other people doing the camino so far.

The good thing is that there was no rain today. Crossing fingers that it won't rain tomorrow. Onwards to Zegama.
 
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David with new Kit!

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF September (2019) SJPP to Logrono
CF May/June (2020) Logrono to ? (Delayed).
Great post, do some more on later days please.

I was three days into my first Camino and did the party thing with a fantastic group of Irish people. But like you, had to remember not to do it again (Well, not to soon again, at least)
 

Erromesa

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Barnealdeko Donejakue Bidea (Basque Country interior)
Maybe if I could hold my beer...

I forgot to mention that I'm not doing the entire Camino del Interior, but I will deviate into the Camino de las Asturias, which I found out about here in this forum. That means I diverge from the ordinary way at Puebla de Arganzón.

I'm unsure about the lodging options along the way but I have no problem sleeping in terraces, under church eaves etc.
 
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Michael; Camino-addicted

Take your time to enjoy a beautiful moment
Camino(s) past & future
A few Caminos
Next plan - Camino de Baztan
Hallo Erromesa,

it´s nice to hear from someone who walk this way this year, I did it last year in May. The weather was "as good as" you have it now😭.

I also couldn´t see very much of the landscape, because it was very foggy and the way was full of mud, so I had to be carefull and had to look on the way in order not to sit in the mud at the end. Except for two small crashes this worked well.

When I finally reached a small road after hours of groping through the mud, I abandoned the Variante de Saiatz and walked into the valley to Beasain and slept in the wonderful Albergue in the old mill.

I think you have already information if you could sleep in Albergues on the further way or not. If it´s possible to sleep in the Albergue in Zegama - don´t do it. Last year it was the old sports hall at the end of the village. Very cold, no water, no toilet. For shower and toilet I got a card to enter the new sports hall 200 meters away - normally no problem, but it was closed between 9 pm and 7 am. Not soo good.
There was only one hostel in Zegama and it was full. I'd advise you to find a place to stay before you will arrive there.

The way demanded a lot from me, especially because of the loneliness, which was probably also due to the very bad weather. But I´m sure, at some point I will give the path a second chance to inspire me.

I hope the conditions will improve and you can enjoy this very special Camino.

Buen Camino
 

sdevine

Camino Frances 2019, and planning 2020
Camino(s) past & future
4/26/2019 - 6/12/2019, planning 2020
What a wonderful post! sooo nice to read, especially since i should be on the camino starting July 1st, but international travel is on hold for the US at the moment.. Please continue to post your experience.. it is sooo refreshing to read. Buen camino!

Sharon
 

lindam

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, VDLP, Invierno, Portuguese, Madrid, Ingles, Fisterra, Muxia, Catalan/Aragones/Loyola Norte
I forgot to mention that I'm not doing the entire Camino del Interior, but I will deviate into the Camino de las Asturias, which I found out about here in this forum. That means I diverge from the ordinary way at Puebla de Arganzón.
Hope you are continuing to enjoy your travels. I will be particularly interested to hear about your experience once you join the Camino de las Asturias. It is a route that has recently captured my attention (here on the Forum). I would like very much to walk that route one day and will be keen to hear about accommodations and points of interest along the way. Thanks for sharing!
 

Erromesa

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Barnealdeko Donejakue Bidea (Basque Country interior)
I am at Zegama. It was a day of ups and downs, both literal and metaphorical.

Let me get the accommodation out of the way. There is one room available in the hotel, 35€ per night, the pilgrim's albergue (recently renovated and all made out of wood, accesible via elevator next to the frontón) is closed, like many albergues are in the Basque Country. I was told by the lady at the hotel that from here and into the province of Araba all the albuergues are closed, we'll see.

The other option which I would have chosen would be to sleep in the church portico: ample space, mild weather.

In the end I'm writing this in an apartment in Zegama. While I was walking to Zegama from Zerain, I saw two cyclists and a gaggle of children taking shelter from the heat in the shade of a bus shelter. I said hello and good day while passing by, which I always do, and when I reached the other side of the bus stop they called me back. They were a couple, with three kids, two of them adopted (from China and Vietnam). We chatted and they asked me where I was going to stay. I said in Zegama but I wasn't sure if it'd be open. They told me that if I found there was no lodgement in Zegama, they'd give me the keys to their apartment in Zegama. For the duration of the confinement, they themselves are living in a baserria, a traditional Basque estate. I mention where the children are from because I'm also Asian. As a foreigner I feel like I enjoy a certain privilege here, in that people treat me nicely because I'm a foreigner and I speak their language (Basque). It's nice for the kids, whose first language is Basque, to see someone who looks like them and also speaks it, I think.

That's one high. One low is that I have blisters on my feet. For this reason I'll change my plans, and instead of pushing on towards Salvatierra-Agurain, some 22km that I'm unsure I'll be able to do tomorrow with blisters, I'll only do 8km and reach the Sancti Spiritus ermitage.

When I was in Ordizia today, I met a man at the bar, a mountain runner, who told me that tomorrow would be the full moon and that it would be a good idea to spend the night up in this hut, to see the moonlight and sunrise. I like the idea too, and hopefully in the morning (so the 7th), my blisters will have reduced so I can keep on going.

Why was I in Ordizia when it's not in my path? Well I got lost...again. I'm one of those people who couldn't find their own buttocks with a map and a compass. Instead of going to Mandubia I ended up taking a path that went to Ordizia, and by the time I realised, I decided not to retrace my steps. I had a wonderful time in Ordizia waiting for a train to take me to Ormaiztegi which is what should have been the next step, Mandubia-Ormaiztegi. The Carlist War museum in Ormaiztegi is extremely well done and the woman at the front was super nice in showing me around. She even noticed my mask was dirty and gave me a new one.

I was beating myself up about messing up this part of the route because frankly it's stunning. Even though I skipped a part, I was so entranced that I wanted to go back to Hernani and do this entire section again, properly this time. For example, Murumendi peak is breathtaking, and although it's a slight detour from the path (400m or so up a painfully steep slope), it'd be sad to miss it if you're already at the foot.

But another positive to pull from a negative. Had I taken the correct path to reach Mandubia, I would never have met this couple at that specific time in the afternoon and I'd probably be writing this from the church instead of the living room. My mistakes and lack of preparation so far have low consequences in reasonably populated areas. I couldn't afford to be so careless hiking in actual mountains or forests.

I sometimes feel lonely, because I haven't seen any other pilgrim so far, and I could really use the reassurance and fact checking of another person. But I quite often run into the people who live here, the mountain bikers, hikers etc so I'm not totally alone.
 
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David with new Kit!

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF September (2019) SJPP to Logrono
CF May/June (2020) Logrono to ? (Delayed).
Great post, and despite you getting lost, I’m pleased to hear that your experience with people is positive.
 

Paladina

old woman of the roads
Camino(s) past & future
CF, primitivo & del norte (2017); VdlP/Sanabres, ingles etc (2018), Mozarabe etc (2019), tbc (2020)
I like getting lost, which I do very frequently, because I always find what I didn't know I was seeking, and I'm thoroughly enjoying losing myself in your journey. Keep it up!
 

Erromesa

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Barnealdeko Donejakue Bidea (Basque Country interior)
I'm in Gasteiz, at the Albergue de la Catedral which is open with new conditions: for example only one person to a bunk bed.

I reached Dulantzi but to no one's surprise, the albergue is closed for the year and I took a bus to Gasteiz to sleep. I hope to take a bus back and finish the last 13km.

All in all today, from waking up early in Sancti Espiritus to Dulantzi (33 or some such km), it was a long day and I need the rest. I even thought about sleeping in the chapel inside the San Adrian tunnel but a herd of cows had taken up residence around it and their cowbells would not ensure a good sleep, also the tunnel acts as a wind funnel.

So I slept further down at the Sancti Espiritus ermitage, and duly set the alarm to 3 am to watch the full moon... unfortunately fog had invaded the whole valley and I could see nothing! Drat.

I set my sleeping bag underneath the statue of Our Lady and magically (or should I say miraculously?) the blisters were gone the next day.

Walking through the tunnel and on the Roman road in the misty morning was a surreal experience, kind of like entering a portal into a different universe. I was alone, the trees were whispering, there was the pitter patter of rain droplets on my poncho...

Note: the albergue in Agurain (Silvatierra) is closed but in the opinion of some locals I talked to, one could ask for the keys to the pools and sleep there (there are showers and toilets). I continued on however.

The day is fast approaching when I have to set out on the task I set out for myself, the Asturias way and to be honest I'm quite apprehensive. Although I have the detailed instructions, I don't expect this to be a well marked route and more significantly, the offer of lodging is painfully bare. I foresee many weeks ahead of sleeping outside. All overcomeable issues, but I sure wish I had a friend to do it with. I forsee it being as lonely as my walk up to this point, or quite a bit worse, as even in the smallest Basque towns in the Goierri region, there was always a lively ambiance in the towns and locals I would meet on the way.

To be blunt, I'm not sure I'll be able to do it. But the saving grace I guess is if that it's too hard, I could always go home. It might be worth it to buy a tent, and deal with the increase in the bag weight.
 
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David with new Kit!

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF September (2019) SJPP to Logrono
CF May/June (2020) Logrono to ? (Delayed).
Well done, sounds a bit too hard for me but I like reading your reports
 

Erromesa

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Barnealdeko Donejakue Bidea (Basque Country interior)
Anyone who has been in Gasteiz I'm sure will agree with me in saying that it's a beautiful city!

I have a question about the stamps. Sometimes I skipped the stamps from some places. For example when I started from Irun in the morning the town hall was closed, (but I had a stamp already from Donostia, where I live) so I just continued on without getting the credential stamped.

The day before had been the city festival and as a local told me, people were apparently nursing a collective hangover.

Does that matter if I don't have stamps from some places, or if I have stamps from smaller places along the way but not from big places?
 

jsalt

Jill
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, LePuy, Rota Vicentina, Norte, Madrid, C2C, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés, Inglés
Does that matter if I don't have stamps from some places, or if I have stamps from smaller places along the way but not from big places?
It’s only the last 100kms into Santiago that you MUST have stamps.

If I can’t get a stamp one day (on quiet caminos, before the 100kms) I blank off a space for that day, and then draw a little stamp of my own, to make a record of where I stayed.

It’s good enough for the distance certificate (if you want one).
 

Michael; Camino-addicted

Take your time to enjoy a beautiful moment
Camino(s) past & future
A few Caminos
Next plan - Camino de Baztan
Last year I slept also in Vitoria-Gasteiz in the Albergue de la Catedral.
A very nice Albergue, a wonderful city and the guided tour through the old Cathedral was fantastic.

You can get your stamp from everywhere where you are. Albergues, Bars, Shops........

I like my Compostelas I got from the pilgrim office very much and the first one has a special place hanging in my living room. But my Credentials have a special place in my hard. Every time I look at the different stamps it makes "ping" and I see the faces of the people I met there, hear their laughing, see the landscape....

If necessary I would give all my Compostelas away, but not one of my Credentials.
 

Erromesa

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Barnealdeko Donejakue Bidea (Basque Country interior)
A lot has happened since the last time I posted and hopefully I'll have the time to post about it, because there were some very interesting and even beautiful moments.

Right now I'm in Bóveda, near the border with Burgos. Yesterday I mashed two steps together, doing an epic (for me) 45 or so km. Today I did another 29.

I'm seriously considering calling it quits at this point, because 1) I'm really sore 2) I did the 45km, skipping Salcedo, precisely because there was no food stores there or in any of the small towns from that point onwards until Espejo, and I had thought there would be going off the basis of the Gronze website that listed some bars: they were closed.

Although I was feeling strong, it wasn't by choice that I linked the two up.

The next step from Bóveda is to Paresotas, and there's no shop or food up to that point. I am carrying food I bought in Espejo but it'll last me only for tomorrow, the day after tomorrow sees me passing through similar small towns with no food stores.

This route requires carrying one's own food and maybe a portable stove, to last for at least one day, which I don't. I'm comically unprepared for this.

But I don't regret going this way an instant. I've seen some towns and landscapes that I am very sure I would never have seen otherwise, as I would have no reason to pass through this way.
 
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lindam

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, VDLP, Invierno, Portuguese, Madrid, Ingles, Fisterra, Muxia, Catalan/Aragones/Loyola Norte
A lot has happened since the last time I posted and hopefully I'll have the time to post about it, because there were some very interesting and even beautiful moments.

Right now I'm in Bóveda, near the border with Burgos. Yesterday I mashed two steps together, doing an epic (for me) 45 or so km. Today I did another 29.
I for one can't begin to imagine walking 45km in the heat of the summer! You are to be commended for your great stamina Erromesa.

I look forward to hearing more about the "interesting and beautiful moments" you alluded to in your post. Hopefully you will continue to have such experiences to give you the strength and motivation to continue on your journey.

I have been in the habit of carrying a small camping burner and a supply of food. While not always necessary, it is a good back-up plan when walking some of the lesser travelled routes. With some luck, some of the smaller communities you have passed through since writing this post have provided you with options for purchasing food along the way.

Ultria!
 
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Airfix

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past - Sarria to Santiago May 19;
Future-
Sept 19
May20
Hi Erromesa, thanks for keeping us informed of your travels and the Camino route. Are you seeing any other Pilgrims enroute? If so, is their experience similar to yours? Thanks again.
 

Erromesa

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Barnealdeko Donejakue Bidea (Basque Country interior)
I've met no pilgrim in my route, neither in the interior Basque Country route nor in the beginning of this Camino de las Asturias. But I've asked locals and they do say they've seen pilgrims earlier in the year. Maybe a few weeks ago.

It's odd because sometimes I see footprints and so forth, it gives me the impression that there's someone just ahead of me, a day or so ahead, and during the long walks I entertained the fantasy of catching up to the mystery walker. Like chasing a ghost! They're probably locals.
 

Airfix

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past - Sarria to Santiago May 19;
Future-
Sept 19
May20
Thanks Erromesa 👣
 

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)
I'm a foreigner and I speak their language (Basque)
Wow...This is a rare and wonderful thing!

I'm seriously considering calling it quits at this point, because 1) I'm really sore 2) I did the 45km, skipping Salcedo, precisely because there was no food stores there or in any of the small towns from that point onwards until Espejo, and I had thought there would be going off the basis of the Gronze website that listed some bars: they were closed.

This route requires carrying one's own food and maybe a portable stove, to last for at least one day, which I don't. I'm comically unprepared for this.
Well I got lost...again. I'm one of those people who couldn't find their own buttocks with a map and a compass.
@Erromesa, I just saw this today and am really enjoying your posts.
I assume you have seen this?
http://www.alavacaminodesantiago.org/es/rasturias.asp
There are map files you can download and use with a mapping App like OsmAnd - this could help a lot with your navigation.

The kml files offered by the Alava Amigos indeed make it seem like the stages were designed without accommodation in mind – some of them end in tiny hamlets with no places to stay or eat.

One thing to consider doing is to drop down from where you are to the Viejo/Olvidado and taking it as far as Puente Almuhey- the CdlA and the Olvidado cross and recross several times before that, so you're not far off. From Puente Almuhey you can easily walk up to Priorio to rejoin the Camino de las Asturias. There are many more places to stay along the way on both the Viejo and Olvidado. The closest place from where you are to connect with the Viejo is Quintana Martin Galindez, it's 19.4 kms, the screenshot is below.

For the stages on the Viejo you can check this thread:

Buen camino!
 

Attachments

Erromesa

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Barnealdeko Donejakue Bidea (Basque Country interior)
Wow wow wow! Thank you so much for the information.

Just to let you know I pushed on yesterday and I'm in Salinas de Rocío. For food I ate the last of what I brought from Espejo (!) and a lovely family in Návagos treated me to their soup and salad, all ingredients from their garden! In all the journey I've been treated to the kindness of strangers: from people offering me a home in Puebla de Arganzón to farmers offering me shortcuts through their fields...I might have gotten as far without their help but it certainly wouldn't have been as enjoyable.

I had no idea the Camino Olvidado even existed (very appropriate name!) and I'm delighted to see that one of the stops is in Igüeña, because one of my friends has a house there and I spent a couple of days there in Semana Santa. It is GORGEOUS.

I had the intention of pursuing this 'to the end', but I've also realised that many pilgrims split their camino into parts. I feel somewhat ashamed of giving up, but it's not giving up if I am resolved to come back and retake the route where I left off?
 
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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)
Wow, I'm glad you got some food. You have to eat in order to walk.

And for the info? De nada....☺

it's not giving up if I am resolved to come back and retake the route where I left off?
Lots and lots of people do that. There's zero nothing zilch nada to be ashamed of. You get the benefit of getting out there in the first place - that takes plenty of courage.
 

OzAnnie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
'CP, Frances,Norte,Salv/prim;Le puy, Inglés, CDM, Invierno, Fin/Mux, Vdlp 2019>Táb/ Prt Levante 2020
@Erromesa
A terrific post. Certainly sounded like a wonderful walk. You’ve made the Olvidado come alive to me.
happy that you were fortunate to have such a great experience for almost 2 weeks but clever enough to quit while you’re still comfortable.

Thanks for sharing it with us and good luck picking up next time from where you stopped.
 

Erromesa

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Barnealdeko Donejakue Bidea (Basque Country interior)
I'm currently on my way home to Donostia and at the Bilbao train station I saw quite a few people with big backpacks (tents + sleeping bags) asking for directions. They didn't have the shell, but I imagine they were pilgrims doing the northern route! It made my day happy, I'm sure they'll have enjoy it so much.

I chose the interior Basque way because I had dismissed the Baztan way first. Now I'm rethinking it, it's short (relatively) and the towns are bigger so there'll be food. I know the albuergues are closed also in Baztan but finding a place to sleep was the least of my problems in the walk up to now, just find place with a roof and lay down the sleeping bag...

I walked in the Baztan valley a couple months ago without knowing there was a Camino de Santiago that passed through there, and I enjoyed very much the walk.

I want to make the most of my vacation time, my work starts again in September. But before planning, a long shower.
 
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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)
But before planning, a long shower.
🤣 Good idea.

The Baztan is very nice, but only 5 days.
Mind you, a loop would be lovely: Baztan-Viejo to Salvatierra-Vasco backwards to Irun-Voie littoral to Bayonne. (Actually, looking at that, I'd do it the oyher way around...) Given your admitted skill at getting lost, a GPS app on your phone would he useful for a route like that.
 

Erromesa

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Barnealdeko Donejakue Bidea (Basque Country interior)
It's true, a skill and a perfected art form! I will get that GPS though.

You're doing the Camino de las Asturias soon aren't you? I mostly followed the GR-1 Historical Route out of Araba and into Castilla y León because it is excellently marked. I would only warn that in some places it goes into weird overgrown places with weeds that went up to waist height (always in the edges of fields) and where I wished I had a machete. I saw someone had just said heck to that and walked into the wheat fields, and I followed that path.
 

Erromesa

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Barnealdeko Donejakue Bidea (Basque Country interior)
I forgot to mention that in San Pantaleón de Losa, just before starting the ascent to the beautiful church (closed because of coronavirus), I met the drummer of the band Zea Mays who was there passing the weekend with his family. They kept my bag while I went up and gave me water. Here is a song I like of theirs (it's about winter going away, kind of!):

 
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Erromesa

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Barnealdeko Donejakue Bidea (Basque Country interior)
Tomorrow (21st) I'm going to catch a bus up to Baiona and see what's up. Last time I was there was with some friends for the Christmas market and I enjoyed it but this time I'll be travelling alone, so I can see what I want when I want! They had to almost drag me out of the Baiona cathedral. This time I want to see the Basque Museum. And then start off on the Baztan Camino.

Also I'm planning to take a little detour, into the Pottokaren Bidea (the way of the pottoka pony). Named after the indigenous species of pony in the Basque Country/Pyrenees.

It links Sara, Zugarramurdi which I already visited once with my friends, Urdazubi and Ainhoa. You can visit some caves! Zugarramurdi is famous for its witch trials and massive cave system where the witches were accused of holding their ceremonies. It's really impressive and in my opinion a perfect venue for a rave...
 
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Erromesa

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Barnealdeko Donejakue Bidea (Basque Country interior)
I started the Baztan Camino today with some shoes that are not working for me (not the previous pair I wore for the other caminos). They're boots because I thought I'd need them, except most of today from Baiona (Bayonne) to Zuraide (Souraide) was on road... which sucks for my feet!

The weather is 'good' in the sense that it's not raining, and it won't rain seemingly for the entire week. but it's just too darn hot. I really really really recommend starting at sunrise or earlier to get some kms squared away.

As for accommodation, seeing as how all the albergues are closed, I chose not to go to Ezpeleta (Espelette) and instead carried on to Zuraide. Here I met the choir organiser, who called the priest for me, who allowed me to sleep upstairs in the church. The choir are rehearsing for Mass tomorrow morning, which he invited me to.

I'm writing this post to the beautiful sounds of the choir singing Basque devotional songs.
 

Erromesa

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Barnealdeko Donejakue Bidea (Basque Country interior)
Quick update: crossed the frontier and am sleeping in the frontón of Urdazubi. I decided to stop here to see the caves tomorrow and so I didn't push for Amaiur.
Naturally the monastery albergue is closed.

Quick tip: just before turning into Ainhoa, there's a fountain. Go directly into Ainhoa, on the right. Ignore the yellow arrows: I went up the mountain for about thirty minutes before I realised my mistake. Don't listen to French tourists giving you instructions! Only listen to locals.:p

Speaking of French tourists, I hurried through Ainhoa. Picturesque though it may be, it was way too crowded for my taste with French tourists from outside the Basque Country.

Whilst I was trying to sleep, three pilgrims are shown in by a helpful towns person. It's nearly 10 pm. They're from Barcelona. We must have started only a few hours apart from Baiona, because we didn't see each other or any other pilgrim on the route for that matter.

They're carrying a tent for the three of them. Like me they have very little planning behind them - they're not even sure how to get back to Barcelona from Iruña (Pamplona) and they're not in a rush to go back. Who can blame them, a big city like that in these strange times...

It's wonderful to speak Catalan with them. It's been nearly a year since I've had an occasion to speak it. I used to live in Mallorca, and in the Balearic Islands the native language of the majority of residents is Catalan. In fact said ease of communication made me consider doing some kind of Camino through Catalonia but it doesn't seem too safe right now so maybe later.

Despite my passion for languages, I've found that the universal language in any Camino is simple human kindness. We don't need to share a language to share our common humanity. I think that's what I'll take away from it.
 
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Erromesa

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Barnealdeko Donejakue Bidea (Basque Country interior)
A sign from the church in Zuraide:




This church is called Saint James
Previously it was used as a shelter by pilgrims
Today too, by faithful and non believers alike
If this place is to your liking, all the better

All things that are born are proceeding towards the grave
Aren't we all pilgrims in this world?
With heart let us hold firm to our road
Whilst wholly faithful to our heavenly Father

May the All Powerful bless you
He who gave his only Son
Pass the days and nights with the Spirit
The Three are your companions on the road
 

Erromesa

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Barnealdeko Donejakue Bidea (Basque Country interior)
Arrived at Elizondo.

In Urdazubi I slept in the frontoia/frontón. The three Catalan pilgrims set up their tent just outside in the grassy area and got a talking to by the police in the morning. Bu the police don't come into the frontoia!

Here are the accommodation options in Elizondo. The following two places are outside Elizondo the town proper but are not too far away, well within walking distance.

The youth hostel (located in a high school). I didn't stay last time but it looked quite good, although full of kid groups at the time.

Kortarixar. It's a restaurant at ground floor, rooms above, you get a key to enter. There's individual rooms or shared bunk beds and showers etc.

Lastly a town person suggested this person, who I think hires out a whole house for around 40 euros? Not sure if I heard correctly (I was tired). Her name is Teresa:
948452482

Me I've masochistically grown to like sleeping outside and I want to sleep next to the church with my sleeping bag. I 'showered' in the river coming here, in Ordoki, so who needs hot showers? Haha

My favourite place to eat/drink from last time and now too is Intza Taberna. Very local, no tourists, Basque speaking, and great pintxos!

I met up with those Catalan pilgrims along the road, I was surprised because they had at least an hour advantage over me because I went to see the Urdazubi caves. I forgot to mention, they were three young women, 19 years old taking advantage of their free time from university. They were carrying way too much and one of them was really hurting from the shoes she was wearing which explains how I caught up to them.

I found out all this accommodation info for them, I know what's it like to be a student and live on a student's budget... I offered them food as well, unopened that I brought from Spain, yes I carried some snacks all the way from Spain to France and back to Spain...quite stupid of me.

Lastly I want to mention that after that brutal climb out of Urdazubi, I met at the rest stop (thank god for toilets! But no toilet paper, bring your own) a group of French teenagers who asked me how to return to Urdazubi (apart from going back downhill of course). I told them I didn't know, but that I was going to Amaiur and that, "I think it's only two or three kilometres". Well while I was in the loo, they went off and I checked the map and actually it was 4.5 km. I cursed myself for giving the wrong info, because there's quite a difference between 2-3 kms and 4.5! I finally found them on Amaiur, at the ruins of the castle and I apologised. I also tried to find out if they could return via bus to Urdazubi but it seems that it's not possible, so they had a long walk back...the lesson learned is, if I can't give accurate information, I should keep my mouth shut! The weird thing is that they were from Brittany, from the other side of France! What were they doing in the Basque Country...?
 
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Erromesa

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Barnealdeko Donejakue Bidea (Basque Country interior)
I arrived home to Donostia after reaching Iruñea (Pamplona) yesterday. I didn't post because I was physically and mentally tired, it sure feels good to be home.

I had to come home because this week I'm moving houses and after some rest, I'm thinking about a third camino, this time from Portugal...I have some ideas, but they're nothing concrete and I have to look into it more. I'd love to visit Miranda do Douro for example. And I'd be interested in doing it via bike.

Leaving Elizondo and reaching Lantz felt long, even though I don't know how many km it really was, but that last bit after leaving the San Blas Benta was magical.
Every time that I thought it was over, it got better, and grander, and more beautiful. And no joke: I swallowed a fly, I had my mouth agape for the walk and felt it fly down my throat. And it was a big one too!

Walking through that forest, I met a German man who had been living in Iruñea for the last two decades, who had made a family and new life there. He was there picking mushrooms! Gave me a fright because I truly thought I was alone. He took a photo to show his daughter, who is a big K-pop fan (I'm Korean).

I had read stories of the mud being a big problem, but it hadn't been raining for a week, so it was all very dry.

Lantz is a very interesting town, because 1) it has one of the most famous Iñauteriak (Carnaval) festivals in Nafarroa and indeed in all of Spain 2) unlike many other rural towns, it's population is growing. It is just 30 min from Iruñea, the cost of housing is low and families move there to raise children. In fact something like a third of the population are children and you can see them in the streets... something that provides much needed life to a town, and bucking the trend of rural depopulation.

The albergue is closed of course but Isabel who runs it told me to sleep by the church. The day before I arrived another pilgrim had slept right there. So there are a trickle of Baztan pilgrims.

The town bar/restaurant is run by a lovely man and the food-price ratio is unbeatable. I told him I was starving and he prepared food for me well before the official dinner time (9pm) and I couldn't finish the second plate, he had given me so much! Two dishes + dessert for something like a measly 12 euros. In a fancy pants city like Donostia that would be unthinkable. I wish I lived in a small town...

I also need to mention Ziga...what a beautiful town. And there's a casa rural there called Etxezuria. I stopped by to ask if I could order a coffee, even though I wasn't a client. And the owner, who was preparing breakfast for the guests let me sit out in the terrace out back with a freshly brewed coffee with an amazing view. It looked like such a peaceful place to sleep and stay, I don't know how much it would cost but it would be worth every cent. He brought me his wife's cake to try too, it seems to be run by the couple. And then when it was time to leave, they didn't let me pay! Maybe give them a visit when you go to Ziga.
 
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