We’ve been walking for a week now, and let me tell ya, my blisters have blisters. Despite the pain in my feet and weird haunting pains that show up through the rest of my body, the scenery is still pretty amazing and we have been lucky to have excellent weather. Many people we pass on the way yell out “Buen Camino!” and have been extremely nice despite our sweaty condition and the rusty state of my Spanish. Our routine has developed into waking up early to walk as much as possible before the heat of the day which really hits around noon. Though I recently discovered that the hottest it has been is only about 80 degrees – I have a tiny comfort zone from living in Seattle for so long!
The way is marked with signposts and yellow arrows. So far we have only gotten lost once (and that was due to bad directions in our guidebook!). There was also a small section outside of Deba where some hooligan painted over all the arrows outside of town, but we were still able to figure out the route thanks to an extra map from the Deba tourist office.
We are walking through Basque Country and most people speak both Basque and Spanish. We get by with either what I remember from Spanish class, or with a lot of pantomiming.
Pilgrims walking to Santiago generally stay at albergues, which are cheap dorms, similar to a hostel but catered specifically for pilgrims. A couple nights ago, the albergue we stayed at was in a monastery- we attended a service before dinner (Vespers in Spanish) and then had our meal on the patio of the monastery with the other pilgrims! This night we were a combo of pilgrims representing the U.S., Andorra, Hungary, Spain, and Italy!
We accidentally walked about a 34km day, thinking there was an albergue to stop at in the town before Bilbao (there wasn’t). Bilbao is a fun city though, and after the long day of walking I took the next morning off to tour the Guggenheim (well worth it if you’re ever here for a visit!).
It always feels like we have walked for ages but I was noticing at the tourist office in Gernika that the train time back to San Sebastian was about 15 minutes. And to think it took us 3 days to walk it!
Tonight we are in a pension in Portugalete (a suburb of Bilbao). We are headed back to the beach tomorrow after being inland for a couple of nights.