Today’s distance: 20.2 km
Total distance from San Sebastián: 36.4 km.
Elevation gain:547 metres
Weather: Cloudy/rain AM; Sunny PM; warm
Highlight: Historical facts
The way the morning began, we thought there would be no “highlight” today. We were so wrong! It just didn’t start off on a good note. We had descended steeply 400 metres into the old town of Orio, when we realized we had left our hiking poles back at the albergue. I volunteered to hike back up the hill to retrieve them (included in today’s distance). Soon after and true to the weather prediction of 40 per cent chance of rain, the skies opened up when we were leaving Orio. Out came the rain gear.
We plodded along and were in need of a cafe con leche and tortilla fix by the time we reached Zarautz (6.1 km). We stopped in at a bar, hoping the rain would let up before we finished. No such luck, but the break seemed to work magic on our mood. Also, during our break, we learned something about Zarautz.
What was most interesting about the city, we thought, is the Church of Nuestra Senora la Real. It contains the tomb of ‘the pilgrim.’ The church was targeted in 1586 by a Genoese pilgrim who stole a number of artifacts. He was captured, drawn and quartered, and his body was displayed on the Camino. What a gruesome warning to other pilgrims!
Zarautz is a resort town with the region’s longest beach (2.8 km long). Coming out of the city, there was a choice of taking the high or low, coastal route. Feeling lazy, we chose the low route and enjoyed a flat sidewalk along the ocean all the way to Getaria (6.3 km).
We are glad we took the low, coastal route because, if we hadn’t, we would have missed Getaria’s claim to fame since the high route doesn’t rejoin the low route until after Getaria.
Getaria was the home of Juan Sebastian Elcano, who took over Magellan’s fleet after Magellan was killed. He completed the globe’s first circumnavigation around 500 years ago which really is not such a long time ago in the history of humanity. Whether or not the world was round was still in question! Elcano is still honoured today; every four years, townspeople re-enact his heroic return.
It was a beautiful walk from Getaria to Zumaia (5.4 km) through farmland with sheep, horses, cows, one feisty bull, vineyards, and with spectacular ocean views.
During this stretch, we met a couple from North Burnaby, Tony and Kelly, who are walking their second Camino. Their first was last year along the Portuguese coastal route which, they said, was beautiful but too short.
In Zumaia we checked in at Albergue-Convento San Jose which has 25 beds for 10 Euros each. We couldn’t believe what we were seeing when we opened the door to our room. It was tiny with twin beds (no bunks!) for just the two of us, which bodes well for a good night’s sleep.
This old building had been a convent and our room was a nun’s bedroom. We wondered about the need for bars: to keep someone in or out? The bathroom is conveniently right next door.
We are relaxing under one of many fig trees in the wild garden where there are California poppies galore.