Day 1. Hendaye – Hondarribia
So much has been happening this summer that I’ve not given too much thought to this walk. I walked with Jaqui in May on the Camino Frances but gosh it seems so long ago now that we arrived in Santiago. Then in June I was meandering around Le Puy with Maggie and then POW… It was high season in France for the band and I end up forgetting what day of the week it is!
In that time my amazing son passed his Bac and was offered a place in Bordeaux but decided on a different path and is now studying Politics at Herts University in the UK. And suddenly it’s September and we’re driving back to Spain to find those yellow arrows.
Gerry chose this route. He loves the northern coast of Spain and is now rather partial to a nice long walk too. The only difference is that he’s not a fan of albergues and so we’re choosing to stay in small hotels and casa rurals along the route.
We have friends house-sitting for us and looking after our cats; a pilgrim I met on the Camino Frances in 2014. So after settling them in we packed our bags, waved farewell and set off towards the Franco/Spanish border.
We parked the car in Hendaye and looked across the water to Spain and a little tinge of excitement crept in.
We walked up into the town to find the Hotel de Ville… Not for a bed as Gerry’s parents once did… But for my first stamp! Then we were off. We followed our map to the railway station, over the Puente de Santiago and into Irun and Spain.
We booked a bed at a beautiful little Casa Rural in the hills above Irun. I’m looking down now at the bay and somewhere on the other side is our car! We made a cup of tea and rested on the terrace before wandering off to find the actual Camino. We’d chosen a hotel close to the trail but we didn’t know how easy it would be to find the Camino in the morning. We needn’t have worried as Señora speaks perfect French and gave us directions. We set off down the hill… “This way” says I to Gerry. Five minutes later pride was swallowed as we turned tail and walked back up smiling again at the workman as we joined the correct path. To give Gerry credit he never actually said “I told you so”.
Up we walked, higher and higher and away from the coast. The views are fabulous but I know that we’ve only just started the up bit! The trail narrowed and got a little more rustic but 15 minutes later Gerry spots our first arrow.
Yeah we’d found the trail. We had a little celebratory hug and Gerry proclaimed “happy birthday to me… I’m walking my way to 60” … I corrected him and reminded him that we agreed we’re not going there; instead he’ll be 50-10 in a few days!
I’m back! And it’s a big hill tomorrow… Why do the first days always start with a hill? 😎