Day 2: San Sebastián to Zarautz

This morning I had breakfast with Fuller around 8am and chatted to one of the community members whose name I can neither pronounce or actually remember at this point. He was a very interesting fellow who told me about his experiences at the Glastonbury festival where the community runs a stall serving coffee. He made me laugh describing the difference between Spanish and Englishmen, mainly with actions although his English was extremely good in comparison to my Spanish.

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I bid farewell to Fuller who headed off in the opposite direction back to Irun while I carried onto San Sebastián. There was a cute trail that took me to the edge of the sea, then a very steep road down to the city and the beach. I wore my knee braces today and was glad considering how stiff my poor legs were already feeling after Day 1.

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San Sebastián is one of the bigger cities I pass through on the north coast of the trail. As such I decided this morning was my best chance at picking up some half decent trail food for the day. I got a little carried away at Carrefour buying at least 2kg worth of snacks, but at least I’d have the freedom to stop anywhere on trail and not depend on passing through towns on the Way.

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I had two cups of coffee this morning but felt quite lethargic walking along the promenade in the late morning sunshine. Motivation came in waves today and I thought back to how I was feeling on Day 2 of the PCT. I don’t remember my body hurting as much as it did already today, then again I did have a little too much Wild Turkey with Pac Man that night and remember wondering how I was going to make the climb over to Lake Morena!

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Once circling the entire beach the trail started to climb. This actually got the body out of first gear and I could feel my mood lifting the further we got from the city. The feeling of being a complete outcast was slightly less today, but unfortunately when someone does decide to speak to me we can’t understand one another. It’s become so awkward I’m going to have to start studying the phrase book Fuller gave me, but until then I’m more comfortable surrounded by the goats and donkeys along the trail.

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There was A LOT of road walking today. I felt like I was getting shin splints and my poor joints were starting to complain more than normal. I used my arnica rub which seemed to help a little, but it’s going to be hard to avoid the impact the hard surfaces will have on the body. Hopefully today was an exceptional case and not the norm. I think I also need to adopt a new strategy of starting much earlier and taking more breaks. The only time I really stopped today was a quick break to take off my shoes, put on some arnica cream and eat a few peanut M&M’s while talking to the huge white dog that was staring at me through the fence.

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I stumbled across two people day hiking today, one of which was going to the bathroom when I rounded the corner. I have to say the whole going to the toilet thing is a bit weird on this trail. Generally you can find a random bar or hotel somewhere along the way, however if you do need to squat you have to be quick as there ain’t a great deal of privacy out here. They let me walk by and asked ‘Camino?’ as they pointed at my pack. I responded ‘si’, which is the only word that comes to me naturally. Another man stopped me today and asked the same question, then added ‘solo?’ He winced and shook his head when I said yes, which was the exact same response I got from another older man later in the day who asked if I was travelling solo.

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One thing I do miss on this trail is the feeling of community. I haven’t met another Peregrino (Pilgrim) yet, and although I purposefully took a less trodden path for this exact reason, I do feel very isolated by both language and my appearance when I enter into towns.

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I was so excited at the prospect of camping that I was bitterly disappointed when the trail remained on a road that led up the mountain past some beautiful vineyards, and then straight back down to the city. By this time I could feel a blister coming on, my legs were crying out from the bitumen beating, and there were so many people walking the same road finding a quiet place to camp was completely out of the question. I stopped saying ‘hola’ to people as my irritations grew, but the excited people who ambushed me when they saw I was on the Way made me smile, and I finally gave into a 20 euro room and warm shower when I got to the centre of Zarautz. I walked about 26km today with at least 20km on roads, so I have a serious hiker hobble this evening. I didn’t even go out for a meal and chose instead to eat my cheese and ham baguette in my quaint little room. I’m curious to see how I’ll pull up tomorrow!

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12 thoughts on “Day 2: San Sebastián to Zarautz”

  1. Certainly a very different kind of trail! But it looks fun just the same. You might try to get an phone app that will teach you basic Spanish or some phrases. I think you’ll enjoy it more if you can communicate some. As for the Old Guys, well there old and think you should be in the kitchen making dinner! 😀

    Keep Hiking and Having Fun!

  2. Hello! I enjoyed following your PCT journey and I’m so glad you’re continuing to share your stories. I ran across this earlier today and, as I read this latest post, thought you might appreciate it. Kind regards from Tennessee – keep walking!

    “There are some good things to be said about walking. Not many, but some. Walking takes longer, for example, than any other known form of locomotion except crawling. Thus it stretches time and prolongs life. Life is already too short to waste on speed. I have a friend who’s always in a hurry; he never gets anywhere. Walking makes the world much bigger and thus more interesting. You have time to observe the details.” – Edward Abbey

  3. So nice to “meet” Fuller!! Beautiful scenery! As you adjust to Spanish, I must adjust to kilometers. Wondering if you’ll ever need your tent!

  4. I finished the Camino with a friend last October…in fact we were following your PCT journey as we were on ours. Yes we too felt very out of place in the larger cities. We did our best to speak Spanish and well….it was awkward as we weren’t very good at it. We were sweaty, and dressed in trail attire and who knew the Spaniards were such fashionistas? So yeah we were not always well received. It didn’t help that by mile 100 or so my pack “Big Bertha” STUNK to high heavens. Oh yeah…I could part a crowd like Moses and the Red Sea. 🙂 Also on Sunday mornings don’t be too eager to get on the trail too early as the younger menfolk are still very deep into their cups and often wandering the streets ready to make plenty a more merry. Its a great trail, and my friend and I often talk of one day returning. Enjoy yourself! I’m enjoying following along. Happy Trails Muk!

  5. This is going to be hilarious (if you keep shy of those fuelled dudes on Sunday mornings). The visuals are as delightfull as they are varied but it seems like you arn’t concentrating as much as for the PCT – errors in body and diet management creeping in. Sure it’s a holiday in comparison, but don’t drop your guard. Hope you get to camp soon and can find that app for Spanish lessons. PS – JF had such a great time and loved your message. Oh, still can’t get over your bumping into Fuller .

  6. Hi darling, how amazing to meet Fuller on the trail, who will be next of all the people you have met during your travels??? Seeing all those beautiful photos make me want to be there with you. Where has your planning been for this trail? Did you just think about a walk in the park? You will be soon in the groove again I know, so enjoy and learn some Spanish, what would you do not be able to communicate! !!! Love you darling, Mutti xx

  7. The reason you haven’t run into many pilgrims is this is still very early for any of the routes, especially the Norte. I wouldn’t be surprised if you don’t come across many at all. Busy season tends to be a little bit later…May thru August. I walked four days on the Coastal route of the Camino Portuguese and didn’t see a pilgrim the entire time! I had to move inland to the Central route before I finally saw a pilgrim.

  8. Only read as far as Day 2 so far…
    and I am HOOKED AGAIN !

    Your storytelling is so great ! What a page turner.
    Will she find food, shelter, blisters, her Spanish voice ?

    I know many people walk solo along The Way…makes me wonder why the two old guys winced. I also know you have what it takes to work out the kinks.

    Keep it up girl, I’m routing for you.

    from Alaska,
    Lyndella

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