I’m eating my first warm meal since the plane trip from Dubai to Madrid outside a tiny Taberna in Zumaia, listening to the Greece mega mix and a group of men chatting eagerly at the bar. Despite listening to my Spanish lessons this morning I’m no more confident in ordering food and simply walked into the bar and said ‘paella?’ to the bar man. He pointed to his watch to indicate it’s too early, so I pointed at something that looked like quiche and a baguette with egg inside. He popped them in the microwave and whola, a hot meal!
Today was a long day, so when I finally hobbled into Deba, all I felt like doing was falling into bed. My body was not prepared to go a step further. The day started with a long stretch along the coast between Zarautz and Getaria. Looking at the map it seems that the trail went into the mountains, but the yellow arrows kept me on the pavement, which certainly isn’t the first time I’ve experienced conflicting arrows. I used the time on flat ground to listen to the Spanish lessons I downloaded this morning. The cyclists riding past me must have grabbed little bits of my random Spanish ramblings: no tengo dinero – I’ve no money, me encanta este vino – I love this wine, or no he terminado – I haven’t finished.
The footpath was under construction in a few sections which meant I had to hurdle the barrier with my pack and walk on the shoulder-less road in parts. This was just the start of another day of predominantly road walking, although when the path did eventually turn into trail it was worth it! I stopped briefly in Getaria for a second cup of coffee and another danish to compliment the croissant I had for breakfast. All I can find to eat in these towns are either pastries or baguettes. I’m simply not on the same food schedule as everyone else. I’m currently sitting in a cafe in Deba at 7pm having just eaten yet another baguette and quiche because they don’t serve anything else until 8pm. I’m planning to be in bed by then!
My legs are officially in serious pain and I’m wondering if it’s the lack of training, kilometres of road walking, or a mixture of both. I honestly walked so stiffly today I would have fallen over without the support of my hiking poles. I managed to find a comfortable way to continue shuffling forward with the only relief coming on the uphills which brought my legs back to their youthful age of 31!
I walked through some gorgeous farmland today and came across a herd of sheep being moved up the road and a couple of other walkers who were just heading to Deba with their two dogs. They stared at the size of my pack which makes less and less sense the more I stay indoors. I had intentions of hiking through Deba up to the mountains which are meant to be full of pine forests, but when my body needed to be horizontal for at least 10 minutes just after lunch in Zumaia I knew the likelihood was low.
The brief rest gave my legs enough juice to get me up to Itziar, 260m above sea level. It felt like the trail was taking me in a giant circle as I crossed the highway 30 minutes later in what felt like the same spot. A guy stopped his car to offer me a ride but I said ‘Camino’ and he nodded with understanding. Itziar was a cute town surrounded by farmland where I came across two men fixing a fence in a very heated discussion I couldn’t understand. They didn’t even turn to look at the giant smurf with an oversized backpack hobbling past.
The road to Deba was all downhill which was hell on the legs and bad for the feet which were sliding on the wet surface of the steep road. When I arrived in Deba I questioned whether I’d even make it to the hostel, if I could find it. Thankfully part of the trail took a lift down to the town centre, what a blessing! The tourist info centre was closed so I hobbled to the Albergue hoping it would be open. When I arrived I saw a note on the door, this is when my next adventure begun…
I soon discovered the bathroom actually had a strong smell of urine and the beds looked much more creepy than sleeping on the ground. I covered one of the bottom bunks with my tarp and hope no one else shows up tonight as it’s going to crumple every time I roll over in my sleeping bag.