Today’s distance: 16.2 km
Total distance: 16.2 km
Elevation gain: 469 metres (not accumulative!!!)
Weather: Filtered sun; warm
Highlight: Walking Together
Yesterday afternoon I heard a welcome and familiar voice asking the receptionist at Downtown Riverside Hostel in San Sebastián, “Is my wife here?” Then came a happy reunion! Because of lack of communication (no wi-fi), Dave wasn’t sure if I made it to San Sebastián or whether I changed my mind and stayed on the Camino Frances.
Now a new journey is beginning with Dave and I walking together along the Camino del Norte. Dave’s two-day challenging hike from Irun to San Sebastián (26.3 km) is shown in videos below this post.
San Sebastián is one of Europe’s most stunning beach cities with two fantastic beaches. The one below is the larger of the two and is where we joined the Camino del Norte. The hill we climbed to take the photo yesterday has a lovely, treed park, castle ruins and a prominent statue of Christ on top.
Frequent conflicts with France and England left its mark on San Sebastián. It was burned to the ground a dozen times over its history, so most buildings date from the 19th century.
As pilgrims, Dave and I were somewhat out of place in fashionable San Sebastián. I have a choice of two things to wear. My hiking pants are either needing washing or wet from being washed. My Costco leggings are often my only choice and they don’t make much of a fashion statement here. They look like sleepwear which is exactly what they double for. We are pilgrims in the wrong place.
We left the Downtown Riverside Hostel later than usual this morning because we didn’t have to check out until 10 AM. We misunderstood the guidebook and thought our destination, Orio, was only 12.5 km away while it was actually 16.2 km.
We easily found our way to the Camino in San Sebastián which follows the promenade along the beach and then to a short hill leading out of town. It was a beautiful walk with extensive sections on footpaths or quiet one-lane country roads.
We didn’t see our first pilgrims until we had walked about 8 km as it is much less populated than the Camino Frances. It was a young couple from Switzerland who had very large backpacks. They assured us they only brought things they absolutely needed: tent, camp stove, pots and pans, a few flutes, and a ukulele. They shared with us some dried apricots as we chatted and then we carried on. It seems that fewer pilgrims are travelling solo.
We are staying at the recommended Albergue de Peregrinos San Martin in Orio where there are twenty beds for 12 Euros each. There is a kitchen in a separate building and a phenomenal view.