Day 2 Irun – San Sebastian
Our casa last night was lovely and the perfect place to break the stage from Hendaye.
We sat on the balcony enjoying more tea but as the sun dipped we decided it was chilly so returned to our room. Or we tried to return because the French guests had shut all the doors and locked us out; trapped on the balcony. We banged on the windows and called out but no one heard. As we wandered around I noticed one bedroom door ajar. I called out again and there was no answer so I decided to risk it… I darted in and out unnoticed and unlocked the balcony door for Gerry. thank goodness the occupant never surfaced from the bathroom as I dashed!
We returned to our room for a little snooze… Or not. The French decided to hold a conference in corridor whilst the little (big/noisy) mermaid splashed and showered and splashed with vigour in the bathroom above us for an eternity.
Dozing off was off so we decided to risk being early for dinner and escaped the bedlam. Señora was ready for us even though we’d surprised her by asking for dinner when we checked in. She had prepared a huge tortilla patata with an equally huge salad, bread wine and water and fresh fruit for pudding. It was perfect… Could have been even better if the Spanish guy sat behind us hadn’t eaten with mucho (noisy) gusto. Regardless the meal was great and we enjoyed a fabulous view of Hendaye and Irun below us.. and all she charged us was 5 euro… Not each but in total!
I was in bed by 21:30 and asleep soon after. I didn’t stir until around 6:00 so safe to say I slept well. Gerry told me that I snored the loudest he’s ever heard me… By a mile.. later in the day he said the loudest snore he’d ever heard but I think he’s over egging the pudding now. We were in single beds so he couldn’t reach me to give me a shove but said he was very close to throwing his shoe!
We ate breakfast as the sun rose and trotted off to find the path excited to be on our way. Oh how naive we were. It was 8:34. We guessed we’d arrive in San Sebastian by 15:00. It was only 21km. ONLY! Ha.. It would have been fine if not for the off trail rustic (read washed away) path… And the 30c heat on relentless steep exposed paths… And of course we took the alpiniste ruta which I’ve also seen described as the road to purgatory.
Early on we stopped to admire the views and Gerry hummed “walk on by”… Adding “don’t” before every mention… It could get annoying I thought. We were overtaken by a guy from Prague walking with the biggest pack I’ve seen on Camino! He’s camping so has everything… Including the sink. And he’s walking in barefeet in crocs!
We stopped at the little sanctuary before deciding which route … Let’s go for it… Purgatory or bust! Oh the views were stunning. I hummed Perfect Day, it summed up how I felt.
It was ridiculously steep for a short while and then less so. And the higher we walked the better the views and we wete surprised by the number of pilgrims. Its not busy like the Frances but a steady stream passed us.
By midday we’d only walked about 8 Kms. I was so hot and tired I didn’t even care that I was walking beside cows (so really that’s very tired)!
Almost at the top we followed a runner (slowly in his wake) and missed the trail so had to climb back to the path through prickly gorse bushes. As if that wasn’t bad enough three other pilgrims had followed us and didn’t seem too impressed either.
We reached the summit and dropped down to a road. Yeah! A road we thought! We passed the remains of a sheep and wondered if it was the pryeneean vultures that had picked the bones clean. We decided not to linger or act too tired; .they really were circling above us!
Again the views were stunning. Gerry said they were everything that he hoped for and more. Coastline on one side and mountains on the other. It was amazing.
The joy of the road was short lived. Off we went back on the trail. Oh it was hard and slow underfoot. It was relentless and rocky and steep and everything hurt. It was gone 14:00 by the time we reached the old town that had the ferry to take us across from one side of the estuary to the other… Only 80 cents.
We stopped there for a bocadilla and cold drinks. A doggie came up and offered me his ball.. I looked at him and he must have sensed that there would be no ball throwing today so he just lay beside me… I was so tired I could have joined him! I looked at the map. Oh my, 7.8km to San Sebastian and our hotel was right on the other side of the bay.
I’d like to say that the last bit was stunning and wonderful but in all honesty it was a slog. I think we’d been too adventurous for our first day. We should have stopped at the ferry stop. I started humming Working on the Chain Gang!
We stopped for cold drinks in The Cafe de la Concha at around 17:00… A shady table over looking San Sebastian bay. We drank, rested and changed our shoes before mustering the energy and the will to get us to our hotel… 3 km on from the old town. We checked in around 18:30…about ten hours from breakfast!
We’re now showered and we’ve washed our clothes but goodness we’re exhausted… And more than a little sunburned.
We’re in a four bed room but booked a double. I sincerely hope it’s ours as we just showered and lay naked on the bed too tired to move or get dressed… fortunately no-one else arrived so I guess we can assume it’s a private room!
21km of stunning views but that must be one of my hardest ever Camino days… Ever!
I’ve looked and tomorrows walk seems much the same and it’s going to be even hotter. Oh Lord… I started singing Help!
Welcome to the Norte!
P.s. Magwood I hope you don’t mind I copied your route profile… My phone was almost out of battery so had to stop mine!