eat. write. smile.

– three things I love to do. Come with!

Walking the Camino de Santiago

Next time you feel like walking twenty-two kilometers, I have just the trail for you. It runs from Donostia to nearby surf-spot Zarautz, and the views are out of this world.

With our BasqueStage experience coming to a close, my fellow Sammic scholar Elisha Ben-Haim and I decided to go for another long hike. Back in January, we hiked east from Donostia to Pasaia.

It was a lot colder in January…

That day, we talked about our hopes for the program, favorite restaurants, friends, family and loved ones back home, and our shared love for the outdoors. Thus, it seemed only fitting that we book-end our time in Pais Vasco with another hike- this time heading west to Zarautz.

Our starting point: the almost Caribbean-looking La Concha beach

We hiked from La Concha beach in Donostia, up the posh neighborhood of Monte Igeldo, along the coast to the mouth of the river Oria, through txakoli vineyards on hillsides above Zarautz and finally down the grassy slopes onto the beach.

Getting up above La Concha

The rocky coastline

Over the river and through the woods…

Man of the Year

Pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago, the footpath from France to Santiago de Compostela on the far west coast of Spain, have walked this trail for centuries.

Trail markers for the Camino de Santiago

The scallop shell, the calling card of pilgrims on this path, could be seen on fellow hikers’  backpacks, on front doors, on churches all along the way.

Ancient trail markers

While this hike was a great way to see more of Pais Vasco and to enjoy a beautiful day outside, I was reminded by the scallop shells and the many crosses along the road that the Camino de Santiago remains for some a deeply spiritual endeavor.

Not a religious experience for me, but it’s cool to know how long people have been making this journey…

…at least since 1618, when this stone was dated .

I did say hallelujah when we arrived above Zarautz; the view is simply breathtaking.

Looking down to Zarautz

We could see the sets of waves rolling into the long beach, dotted with surfers and sunbathers. The mouse-shaped island at the edge of the port in nearby Getaria made its profile clear from this distance.

Had to stop for this one…

It took us six hours, but as we arrived in Zarautz around 7 pm, the sun was still high in the sky.

We jumped in the water, grateful for some relief from the heat and the sun, but also simply stoked to be swimming in the Bay of Biscay.


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This entry was posted on June 26, 2012 by in BasqueStage, Travel and tagged , , , , .
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