Day 3: Zumaia to Ermita del Calvario

Today’s distance: 22.8 km
Total distance from San Sebastián: 81.7 km.
Elevation gain: 878 metres
Weather: Sunny; rain in late PM; warm
Highlight: Exhausted!

Zumaia to Elorriaga

Climbing the hill from Zumaia under blue skies and long shadows in the morning was beautiful. We had walked about one kilometre when we realized we hadn’t started tracking our distance. That makes up for yesterday when I backtracked to retrieve our hiking poles at the albergue in Orio which I did count in the distance. Now we are even!

Zumaia to Elorriaga

We wanted to walk a more strenuous but scenic coastal route way marked with red and white markers (7.6 km) between Elorriaga and Deba. We were discouraged from taking that route by a Spanish man that we met at the intersection. He seemed adamant that we follow the yellow arrows that led to the inland route. We wondered if there was a particular reason why we shouldn’t take the coastal route. An obstacle of some sort? Did he think we weren’t tough enough to handle the more strenuous route? We had no idea what he was trying to convey, so we ended up following the yellow arrows to the inland route.

Elorriaga to Deba
Elorriaga to Deba

As we came into Deba where both routes converge, there was a sign with photos showing what we had missed by not taking the coastal route. It would have taken almost five hours, not a significant difference from the inland route. We regret that we hadn’t simply ignored the Spanish man’s warnings!

In Deba we went to the Church of Santa Maria, a National Monument and one of the region’s most beautiful churches.

Church of Santa Maria, Deba
Leaving Deba

We considered staying in Deba rather than carrying on to Ermita del Calvario. Although we were tired and ready to call it a day, in the end we stuck to our original plan to go to Ermita del Calvario, another 4.9 km. It wasn’t far but the elevation gains/descents were significant and our average speed was slower than usual at about 17 minutes per kilometre.

The Camino del Norte is living up to its reputation of being a hard climb with all its ups and downs. Couldn’t the pilgrims have gone AROUND the mountains? It is nice having Dave to walk with now because we can complain to each other about how much hard work this is – harder than the Camino Frances. There are fewer places for stopping for coffee, a meal, or a night’s sleep. Less English is spoken on the Camino del Norte as well.

We ended up staying the night at Izarbide Aterpetxea in Ermita del Calvario which has 32 beds for 12 Euros each. This albergue is like a renovated cow barn. Oddly enough it wasn’t so bad! Honestly!

Izarbide Aterpetxera, Ermita del Calvario

The men and women’s dorms and bathrooms were separate. There was a kitchen/lounge area with a wood burning fireplace at one end and multiple single beds to relax on. A pilgrim who was sleeping on the single bed nearest the fire was most annoyed that people were talking and disturbing his sleep in the late afternoon! Jean from Quebec quietly muttered, “So what do you expect when you are sleeping in the kitchen?” Right.

At the communal meal we sat at a table for ten but only four of us spoke English and the other eight spoke French. We ordered breakfast as well since it would be a long stretch with no cafes to stop at the following day. Breakfast in a bag was presented to us at the end of our dinner.

Here is something really neat: Scrubba! An Australian man was washing all his clothes in a big dry bag. It was like his own little washing machine. Must look this up because it worked like a charm. The albergue had one of those spinner machines so that hand washed clothes can be spun so that they take much less time to dry on the line.

Tomorrow is going to be the most difficult day yet, so we are off to bed early with the sound of rain on the roof. It is a good thing we didn’t stay in Deba tonight because tomorrow’s hike would have been that much longer.

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4 Responses to Day 3: Zumaia to Ermita del Calvario

  1. Laurel Haslett says:

    The scenery is truly beautiful and I’m so happy that you and Dave have hooked up to enjoy it together. Happy walking!

  2. Florence Brozuk says:

    Judy and Dave!! You are having another amazing journey. The photos are gorgeous.
    This was given to me years ago.
    “Heart of My Heart”
    Bless you on your journey
    May you find what you seek
    And what you need
    What seeks you
    And what calls you home
    May the light of health and hope
    Carry you toward beauty and wonder
    May the light of holiness
    Carry you toward strength and service
    Let peace and joy surround your days
    And let awe and thanksgiving
    Lead you on a path of virtue.

    Have another wonderful day!!!love Flo,,,

    • Judy says:

      Hi Florence! “Heart of My Heart” is beautiful. It covers everything one could wish for to live a good and happy journey in life and on the Camino. Thank you!

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