Camino del Norte 1 – Muddy

The first day on the Camino del Norte was 23km from San Sebastián to Zarautz. There was mud.

First step

A steep climb out of San Sebastián provided great views and reminded us what walking was all about. The first stage of the walk was on paved roads in a clean sea breeze. But it wasn’t long until we were walking through old forests and sloshing in mud. The Sun was out though, and the walk was lovely. Looking miles out to sea we could make out the little white dots of the local fishing fleet.

The forest was a strange mix of old-growth oaks and chestnust, and palms and bamboo. There weren’t a lot of villages but we were rarely a long way from a road or a house.

We’d been led to believe that navigation would be an issue, partly because there are so many choices of routes. However, the Camino turned out to be well-marked, and there were enough other walkers to keep on track collectively.

We stopped for a coffee and a tortilla in Orio, about 16km in. Orio is a lovely, decaying fishing port with a plaza near the river to enjoy the sunshine. Then it was only another 7km to our pension in Zarautz, which sits on another pretty plaza and comes with its own, very pleasant, bar which was the right spot for a beer while we waited for our room to be ready.

Then a quick hand wash of some clothes. And, while Jennifer had a shower, I put my Spanish to the test by replacing my watch battery and undertaking a complex transaction recharging our SIM cards.

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