Total distance 72.9
Daily average 24.3
Today’s accumulated uphill elevation 462m
Today’s accumulated downhill elevation 514m
Last evening I didn’t move from the albergue. Partly because it was reported that there were no shops open to buy groceries, and then it started to pour with rain. So I ordered a meal from the hospitalera, not the greatest lasagne I have tasted, but it did the job.
I then spent the evening responding to all the really lovely comments I have received. I know I won’t have time to do this very often, but please don’t let that stop you commenting – I do read them all and they are very morale-boosting. I will try to answer any questions that are asked, and if appropriate will do this in a blog post in case anyone else is interested in the matter.
The boots that were meant to be left at home, but stepped up to the mark at the last moment, have been performing very well. No blisters (yet), and I have been very thankful for the ankle support over all these rocky paths. They do feel a little short in the toe box but it hasn’t caused any issues so far and I’ve walked down some very steep descents.
Today’s walk began with one of these – a very steep downward stone path, and I picked my way down it very carefully. It had rained a lot during the night and was still looking threatening when I left, so I donned my shoulder cape and my newly made gaiters. I made these the day before I left home, feeling sure they would be needed.
Today was my first day of mud – plenty of it and very slippery, so it was a slow journey. I was walking alone for a few hours and then suddenly there was a wave of 7 or 8 pilgrims all coming from nowhere, including a guy on a horse. I was very happy to let them pass by, although I had a chat with a couple of French guys and stopped at a bar and had lunch with them. Beer again, and a very small roll filled with chorizo omelette that was delicious (so good I bought another one to take away). Five euros for the lot.
Later I saw the guy on a horse again, another Frenchman I think. He had just been meeting with a guy driving a horse box to give his four-legged friend some lunch before setting off again. We chatted a little in Spanish – he had ridden along the Via de la Plata last year
As it happened it didn’t actually rain for hours, although there was a short-lived heavy shower around mid-day. And that was it.
There was a lot of road walking today – most of it very pleasant and, to be honest, a relief from the slippery mud and uncomfortable stones of the tracks. A forum member is walking a day ahead of me and recommended that I take the high track on the GR 121 at Elorriaga. He said it was the most spectacular route he has taken on Camino. But alas I missed the turn off so remained on the Camino.
I have taken a short stage into Deba, where it is necessary to call into the information office to register and get a key to the municipal albergue. I was the only one to have done this before they closed at 14:00, and then the hospitalera doesn’t turn up at the albergue until 16:00. So I was allocated bed number one, and was here on my own for two hours. Bliss.
It is a large albergue, situated in an old railway station building, above the waiting room. I hope the trains don’t run all night! Fifty-six beds in rooms of 8, split over two floors. The floor I am on has a bathroom with two wc’s and two showers, and is very clean and well presented, with a large common room and washing & drying facilities, but no kitchen. Cost 5 euros.
I also managed to find a grocery store in the town centre just before it shut for the day (Sunday). So I was able to buy some supplies for tonight and tomorrow – Jamon, cheese, bread roll, tomatoes, mandarins, chocolate and a bottle of cava, all for a fraction over 8 euros. So now I am feeling more comfortable about the prices in northern Spain.
The sun is now shining and drying my washing. I had thought that my gaiters were self-cleaning because I couldn’t see any dirt on them, but it turns out the thick mud had dried to the same colour as the cloth they are made of. I didn’t see much point in washing them as they will only ever be used in muddy conditions. I made them from the same water resistant fabric that I made my hiking skirt. They fasten with Velcro at the back and are kept in place with my knee braces, which are proving to be very versatile items, although they have never been used for their intended purpose.
The other pilgrims at the albergue are all youngsters as far as I know. Alan and Alex who I met in Irun, a lovely American girl Nicky who was at the albergue last night and I’m not sure who else, but I counted ten pairs of boots – plus mine.