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Broncos Abroad

El Camino de Santiago and my visit to Orio and Zarautz

Last Sunday, Karmele, Mikel and I hiked part of the Camino de Santiago from San Sebastián to Zarautz (21.7 kilometers or 13.4 miles). The Camino is known as the Way of St. James. All of the Camino pilgrimage routes lead to the Santiago de Compostela in northeast Spain. This is where the remains of St. James were discovered in the ninth century. This pilgrimage was popular in the 10th, 11th, and 12th century. Now it is the most popular it has been in history with more than 200,000 pilgrims in 2014. There are four main routes: Camino Francés, Camino Primitivo, Camino Portugués, and Camino del Norte. We did the beginning of the Camino del Norte, also known as the Camino de la Costa.

Art of a pilgrim drinking from a bottle and walking the camino.

We left directly from the apartment on foot. What a cool way to start a hike! We walked passed the university to connect with the trail behind Mount Igueldo. The ground beneath our feet changed constantly from city streets to park trail to country roads to mountain trails to old cobblestone roads to sand. This hike had it all! Including some of the best views that I have ever seen.

Karmele and Mikel walking the camino

Along the path, there were many pit stops that offered water, food and a place to rest. Here you could stamp yourself with the Camino de Santiago logo and write in the journal about your experiences.

Pit Stop

When we arrived in Orio, this fishing town was having its annual festival. They were celebrating the besugo, a very rare fish. The men of the village were partaking in a cooking competition. We ate lunch with some pinxtos (a small plate similar to a tapa) of besugo and some apple cider for a couple of euros. It may have been cheap, but it sure was delicious! When we finished eating, we got back on the trail. As we were leaving Orio, the women of the fishing village were arriving in boats to cheers from the crowds watching them. They had rowed from Orio to Bilbao and back, an exhausting feat of strength and endurance.

Karmele filling up her glass of cider straight from the barrel

The men of Orio cooking besugo for their competition

The women rowing into Orio

When we arrived in Zarautz, I was exhausted, but the views made it so worth it. Zarautz Beach

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