Day 6

New day, new opportunities, new... Oh, it's raining.
The sun breaks through. Having breakfast next to the closed church. It's a shame all those churches are always closed; they offer a good shelter for lonely pilgrims.
We're a bit slow today. Must be because of all those hills. Uphill, it's all clothes off, and downhill, it's all back on because the wind is a bit cold.

Oh, we made it!!!
Let's grab a spot at a terrace for a tortilla, after all, one must eat well.

It's stormy here, gale force nine.
Spring is finally starting to show up a bit. Just realized the clock went forward, was wondering why time was passing so slowly. Only halfway through the stage.
Finally, we enter the little village, phew, seemed like it would never end.

Let's grab a spot at a terrace and find the guesthouse.
It's quite funny because you get a code via the website to open the doors.
It's always nice to be able to collapse onto your bed afterward. Just want to make a mess and not want anything else.

25.15 km, 824m up, 850m down, in 7:53 hours.

Day 5

Just a day of doing nothing and getting things in order. Still going for a walk to the Christ statue overlooking the entire city.
There we go again. Tho left 2 hours earlier, and I'm taking it easy. The weather is nice, so why not?

Still a bit restless, causing you to switch off and go on autopilot, allowing you to think every 15 kilometers and thus tick off the miles.
Beautiful views and the road goes up and down,
At the top of the mountain, I'm welcomed by a few families with tea, coffee, and cake. They live in a commune according to the Bible. An older man with some broken English could flawlessly tell me that his son was 19 years old and his daughter was just 3 months old. On the bench next to me were 5 more children, and if you looked around, you could only see children. It's Saturday, and Saturday is the end of the week, so no work is done.

Bien Camino
I continue my path and put on the brakes. Take my time and look around more.

I meet a couple, Tomas & Weda, aged 58 and 72 from Florida. We chat as if we've known each other for years. They have the same backpack, and even Tomas has the same blue dirty girl gaiters on. They hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2019, which is still on my wishlist. But they also had a harrowing story of someone who was brutally killed on the trail. She tells her story crying, it's a relief for her.

And to our great surprise, we all walk into the same hotel together.
No one is present, so I call the phone number. I get a woman on the line with a broken English/Spanish mix. Diez minutos!! Ah, hasta luego.
The Americans take the lead and get their room. I stay calm and patiently wait. Then we are helped and given a full explanation of tapas/pintxos bars, a meat lover's fiesta, really something for non-vegetarian people. We'll stick to cooking ourselves today, as there's a big kitchen we can use.
Tomorrow is Sunday, and everything is closed. So we need to go into the village to buy dinner for two days.

21 kilometers, 597 meters up, and 550 meters down in 5:32 hours.

Day 4

A lovely crisp hostel. The owners are very kind and correct me in my limited Spanish.
¿Quieres más té? ¿Más, más, más uuuh? Ah, No quiero más té, gracias.

It's going to be a warm day, and we have to cross the Pyrenees. We take it very easy. The first climb is done with beautiful distant views once again.
And so we go again, step by step through the Pyrenees.

Oh, that's a beautiful stretch. We have to take the ferry, so we have to go down a few hundred steps.
And on the other side, straight back up again. The sea is wild, it's high tide.

And there lies San Sebastian.
It's high tide, and the waves break on the large rocks. Surfers are ready in the water, waiting for their biggest wave to surf under. We spend hours watching how they manage to surf on the crest for as long as possible.

Getting a stamp in the church.
Beautiful city, but crowded.
And then there's suddenly an even bigger cathedral. Even more impressive, and in a back room with a few nuns, we get another stamp.

The hotel is right next to it, and we overlook the square towards the cathedral.

26.6 km 646 up 645 down In 8 hours and 53 minutes

And eating out!! They can cook here in Spain, and I like that.

Day 3

Good sleep. A bit of a cramped room, but a bed is a bed.
We continue the route towards Irun, just over the border in Spain. The sea distracts; you keep stopping to admire the next vista.
Bamboo forest.

We enter Hendaye. A familiar place because this is where the GR10 starts, which we walked in 2014. Hehe, who recognizes it and sees the difference.

We're in Spain, and the yellow arrows are immediately well-marked. "Buen Camino" you hear across the streets, and I feel at home again.
Unfortunately, the church is closed for a stamp. There's a note saying the priest has passed away and the funeral will be later today.

Still, it's been quite a tough day, but we're warmly welcomed by the owners, given a full tour, and even offered to stay for two days. We'll think about it; first, need to recharge a bit.

24 kilometers, 352m uphill, 308m downhill in 7 hours and 30 minutes.

Haha, we have no food. The owner drove us by car to the old town, so that was nice and, of course, great. Just had to walk 3km back ????, uphill ????.

Day 2

Good sleep, nice breakfast, and still managed to get a stamp in the cathedral.
Our first signpost towards Santiago de Compostela.
And yes, the sea! Last stretch around the bay, and then we've already covered 30km.
Mmmm, that was quite a nice, long, warm, asphalt, bumpy, warm-up section.

32km 539m up 527m down 9 hours and 8 minutes.

Day 1

The Camino del Norte starts in Irun, right over the border between France and Spain. Thomas and I start in Bayonne, France.
The route is about 1000km long and runs along the northern coast of Spain to Santiago de Compostela, and then we'll add Finisterre and Muxia as a detox round.
We're traveling by train, and since there's another strike in the Netherlands, this time in public transportation, we have to be in Rotterdam a day earlier, or we'll miss the train to Paris.
Aimee and Anna take us to Rotterdam Central Station. It's raining a bit and a little chilly. Bye-bye, see you later, farewell, see you in Santiago ????
Beep beep, the alarm goes off. It's a 15-minute walk to the station. We make good time, and before we know it, we're on the TGV to Bayonne, our final train destination but also the starting point for our long-distance journey.

The train arrives in Bayonne right on time, and the weather is beautiful. We have to change and adapt to the weather conditions right away.

We search for the first stamp in Bayonne Cathedral, but without success. At the last minute, we approach someone behind a fence, but they advise us to come back tomorrow. So, without a stamp, we head to our overnight stay, 3km down the road, to stretch our legs after an 8-hour sit.

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