First steps

My apologies for not having kept up more regularly. At the end of the day, priorities are shower, laundry, food. Writing a blog entry, especially typing it out on a phone screen keyboard, doesn’t sound as appealing as taking off your hiking boots and elevating your feet.

In anycase, here’s a list of vocab I’ll probably be using regularly.

  • Peregrino/peregrina: pilgrim walking The Camino de Santiago
  • Albergue: low-cost hostel for peregrinos
  • Hospitalero/hospitalera: host or person in charge of the albergue

Here’s a recap of the first day. I’ll probably be posting in chunks instead of daily entries.

My friend and I left Barcelona by train and arrived in Irun (city close to the Spain-France border). We found the albergue (low-cost hostel for pilgrims/peregrinos) and then decided to look around the town.


We ended up walking to the official starting point, which turned out to be a bridge crossing into France.


A sign letting us know we were leaving Irun.

Walked over to the France side.

We ate a hearty meal of Korean ramen and leftover kimchi my friend brought from her plane ride.

Not the healthiest of meals but it was really tasty!

The next day we were woken up by traditional Spanish folk dance music and given breakfast. In Spain, an early breakfast consists of cafe con leche (strong coffee with warmed milk), maybe toast and jam, or biscuits. People generally eat another breakfast a little later; a pastry, or small sandwich (bocadillo), or tortilla con patata (think frittata/omelette with potatoes). Then we were off!


Well, we had to be, since most alburgues say you must leave by 8 or 9am.

So we went along the route and looked for yellow arrows along the way.


After leaving the city with a few twists and turns, we soon became charmed by the more countryside scenery.


Unfortunately, that also meant we took a slight detour, having missed an arrow or two. But we found our way back and proceeded to hike up the mountain.


The Northern route is known for being more physically demanding because it goes up and down hills and mountains.

The view from one of the flatter parts while going up.


We were also more careful to look out for arrows, having learned our lesson hours earlier. It became a game, looking for the yellow arrow. Sometimes it was on a tree, sign, or a rock.


Occassionally we would also spot a shell with an arrow.


Our destination was Pasajes (Pasaia), a small fishing village. As we neared, we soon had peeks of the ocean.


When we got to Pasaia we decided to go find the alburgue first. We found out the alburgue overlooked the bay a bit, so arrows went in one direction to the alburgue, and another towards the Camino.


The alburgue was built by a hermitage/church. So the hermitage part faced the ocean and on the other side was the alburgue.


Such a fun idea to paint this sticking out rock as a boat.

We found out we arrived before the alburgue opened, so we went down to find something to eat.

We passed by the local church and asked some people about a place to eat.


We ended up going to the plaza area and ordered a menú del día to split. Basically it’s a set menu where you can choose a first and second course, and it includes a dessert and a drink.

For the first dish, we wanted to eat salad, so we bravely ordered a salad with shrimp and something else we couldn’t translate. We learned that the noodle looking things are called gulas and are something like noodles made of fish. Then we asked for the server’s recommendation and we got a whole local caught fish. Then another server recommended their cheesecake and gave us an extra large piece so that we can have energy to be strong as we walked.


After lunch, we got back to the alburgue and settled in. We did some grocery shopping and went to the pharmacy to stock up. I ended up getting blisters on the back of my ankles, below where I had taped to prevent blisters.

The next morning, the view was pretty incredible.

We then followed the arrows to take a very short ferry ride across the bay.

And then proceeded to climb an inumerable amount of stone steps.


There was even a castle like building at the top.

Here are some other pictures along our way to San Sebastian.


Here were our first glimpses of the beaches in San Sebastian.


Seems like this post is getting a bit long, so I will continue on with San Sebastian in the next post. ¡Hasta Luego!


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