Camino del Norte Day 13: An iconic albergue

Most people leave rocks along the trail, but one person left boots instead.
October 13, 2015
Noja to Guemes: 10 miles

We had another beautiful walk through the lovely Cantabrian countryside.  The people of Cantabria are very friendly, the older people especially.  Most greet us when we pass them on the street, and they don’t hesitate to stop and ask us about our destination ahead or where we’ve been.  My Spanish is still limited but improving thanks to all the locals who are giving me opportunities to practice.

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Camino del Norte Day 11: Poco a poco

Me, kicking this hill’s ass
October 11, 2015
Castro Urdiales to Liendo, 14 miles


Poco a poco. (Spanish for “little by little”).


“Don’t quit before the miracle.”  (A quote from one of our fellow pilgrims and new friends, Philippe).


I’ve been facing a monumental issue over the last few days–whether I want to continue the Camino.

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Camino del Norte Day 10: Castro Urdiales


Day 10-5

October 10, 2015

Playa de la Arena to Castro Urdiales: 10 miles

We began the day on the coast and stayed there for much of the time, enjoying breathtaking views of the Bay of Biscay, which is the enormous body of water that runs along the length of the northern Spanish and western French coastlines.

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Camino del Norte Day 9: Worth the hike

October 9, 2015

Bilbao to La Playa de La Arena, 15 miles

The guidebook’s description of today’s leg of the journey was less than inspiring: “As you slog through the first half of today’s stage, remind yourself that by day’s end you will be in a beautiful place…. Sometimes bleak, often forgettable, the walk… is poorly way-marked and best finished quickly and put behind you.”

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Camino del Norte Days 7 & 8: Bilbao

Our view of Bilbao from Monte Avril as we hiked into town.
Our view of Bilbao from Monte Avril as we approached town.


October 7, 2015

Zamudio to Bilbao, 5 miles

We were excited about today’s destination: Bilbao.  The week before starting the Camino, Dale and I had spent a night in Bilbao with our friend Tamara, and it had been a great experience.  We stayed at an Air B&B apartment in the city’s historic city center, known as the Seven Streets, and it was charming, with lots of restaurants, panaderias, pastelerias, and even a chocolateria or two.  And it was in Bilbao that we were introduced to the sublime pleasure of eating Basque food.

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Camino del Norte day 5: Gernika

October 5, 2015
Monastery de Zenarruza to Gernika: 10 miles
Message spray painted on the side of a building in Gernika, requesting that political prisoners be returned home. We saw similar illustrations throughout our walk through the Basque Country.


Feeling fully restored after an evening at the monastery, the hike to Gernika was beautiful and relaxing.

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Camino del Norte Day 4: R&R at the monastery

October 4, 2015
Markina to Monasterio de Zenarruza: 5 miles


Instead of a good morning or how are you, I’m pretty sure that the first word out of my mouth today was, “Nope.”

Followed by: “I’m not getting out of this bed.”

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Camino del Norte day 3: Meltdown

October 3, 2015
Deba to Markina: 15 miles


It was bound to happen at some point during the hike: total meltdown.

All the PMA that I had channeled on the previous days wasn’t going to get me anywhere today.  Not meditation, not smiling, not listening to the wind flowing through the branches or the birds singing in the trees.  Uh-uh.  None of it was working.

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