International Stumblings of a Moneyless Idle

Lazily making his way through the world

Towns and villages of the Basque Coast

Plentzia is only a short drive north of Bilbao. The town is a pleasant mound of buildings at the mouth of the river Plentziako Itsasadarra. It has plenty of bars and restaurants for wining and dining for locals and tourists alike.
It is a beach town, but unlike many others in Spain, it has some history and character. With its tradition and typical Basque style streets, Plentzia is not just a modern town built for beach goers.
The beach itself, Playa de Plentzia, is beautiful. A long deep beach snuggled between the cliffs of the Bay. A boardwalk pathway cuts through the sand dunes just inland with steep green hills beyond.
Recommended as a day trip if visiting Bilbao.

Bakio is a typical beach town. Just a simple village of buildings built for summertime beach goers.
Playa de Bakio is a surfers beach, so the town does have a surf school and some surf themed cafés.
Just west of Bakio you have a scenic road that leads to Gaztelugatxeko Doniene. A little island with a rugged, picturesque rock hoping bridge roping it to the land. Looks like a cool place to visit.

Like many Basque coastal towns. Mundaka is known for its location as a surf spot. Mundaka however, is more famous than most. For seven years Mundaka was on the ASP World Tour in the form of Billabong Pro Mundaka. This was because the town had perfect swells during the winter, known as the Mundaka wave. Due to construction work and dredging, the wave has all but gone.
Mundaka still has surf shops and cafes which seem to contrast enormously with what is otherwise just a pretty little Basque village and port of expensive boats.

Lekeitio is a little bigger than most of the urban areas along the coast. It is a town with character in abundance. A tall, spiky basilica, the squat rocky island just out to sea, and a weathered causeway reaching across to it. The streets, along with some of the strange gothic designs on its water fountains, are dark and mysterious. Even the festival is dark: Once a year the town celebrates its version of San Antolines. A man on a boat sails under a greased up goose suspended on a rope. The man jumps trying to behead said goose ….. truly.

A town of two parts is Ondarroa. Its southeastern side has a French styled row of houses with colourful facades. These buildings follow the Atitillar Ibala river which is hopped over by several old stone bridges. Cafes and restaurants are frequent and the scene is generally very elegant.
The north-western side of Ondarroa is of mid-century high-rises looking out onto a square port and garish modern bridge.
The town does have a beach, hidden around the corner, but it also has a seaside pathway. 10 minutes down the path is the much bigger, and more picturesque Saturraran Playa.

The best way to describe Mutriku is as a film set. Twisting, steep streets cut into a hillside dropping down towards a port protected by a long sea wall.
It’s a small town with a Greek style church at its centre and roads going every which way.

Zumaia is a wealthy looking place. Graceful, light, open. Sitting on the wide Urola Ibaia, it is city to stop and dine and shop.
Its beach is a strange one. Enclosed in a cliff of jagged rocks, it contrasts hugely with the light open town.
The town sits on the edge on the Deba – Zumaia National Park. A coast line with some amazing views and interesting rock formations.

Just a short drive from San Sebastian, Zarautz is another typical beach town. Surfers out to sea, buildings made not to be permanent homes but rather summer getaways. Lots of touristy restaurants and cafes. Zarautz, more than any other of the foretold towns, has a family atmosphere.

Towns and villages I did not spend long enough in to write about.
Getaria – Built on the neck of a peninsular.
Deba – Looked like your average Basque town.
Elantxobe – Pictures of which look beautiful.
Gurnica – Has some interesting architecture.
Bermeo – Nice Pizza slice place here.
Armintiza – Think this is just a tiny village.


San Sebastián

To enter San Sebastian by boat, you would pass between two steep cliffs with a stout, strong island between them. It would be like entering a natural port, perfect for defending, from many a fantasy. Beyond the cliffs and island, the first thing you would notice is a large curving beach in front of you. Perfectly lining the city with golden sand. From the sand inland, the shallow, pleasant city grows. San Sebastian is a special city, the only problem is that it knows it.
San Sebastian has long been a playground for the rich. Now, like most places in the world, it is not solely a place enjoyed by the wealthy, but more than any other city in Spain, it holds a sense of prestige.
The old town, made up of tight, pedestrianized streets of detailed facades often ending in a grand church or government building, is extremely well preserved. In fact, everything in the city seems well kept. Some of its 18th and 19th century churches, which sit in clean, open plazas, look like they were built only yesterday. It isn’t only the plazas which are clean, the whole city is spotless. Street cleaners constantly patrol the streets, the streets have regular trash and recycling bins.

There is a sense of order to everything in the city. From the layout to the flowerbeds, colourful, vibrant and in-line. San Sebastian is beautiful. Its streets, beach, architecture and location are all wonderful. If your idea of a city getaway is sitting outside a café, with a glass of wine, after an expensive days shopping, the city is for you.
That however, is not everyone. In all its commendable cleanliness and order, San Sebastian looses some character that Bilbao for example, 100 miles west, has in abundance. The character given by cheap, quirky shops, twisting streets, the odd imperfection or architectural risk. The people in San Sebastian are very pleasant but none speak to you like they do in Bilbao.
San Sebastian is a city everyone should visit if they get the chance. Some will like it a lot more than others.


If you’ve never lived in Spain you might not know how divided it is. To what extent each region differs from its neighbors. The historical, cultural and blood differences between these regions. One of the regions with a unique first language, different ancestral background and a political system bordering on and craving for autonomy, is the Basque country. Its uniqueness from the rest of Spain is all on display in its biggest city: Bilbao.
The people, the architecture and even, to some extent, the football team are all rebellious in Bilbao. If you enter Bilbao from the south, you will have to climb up and over mountains to reach it. It’s fortified on three sides by steep hills, only open to the north where the Nervión river cuts its path to the ocean. If you glance at a map you may think Bilbao is a seaside city but it’s not. Several towns lay between it and the Bay of Biscay. The steep hills are an immediate eye catcher. The houses steadily climb the southern and eastern hills whilst a modern, expensive highway clings to its western face.
The highway, sometimes concealed in tunnels, sometimes open and painted, hovers above the western slope of the city. Just above it’s pretty, colorful buildings and glass high-rises. The buildings are more bulky than in most of Spain, relating more with French architecture than Spanish. Although most of the city is quite modern and gridded, the old town, across the river in the district of Casco Viejo, is made of tightly packed, twisted, cobbled roads. Above all the shops and bars are their signs written in the Basque language, all full of K’s and X’s. All made in the same expressive, toony type face which has been adopted as the official type for the entire language.

The people who speak it add to the cities atheistic. You see many adorning black t-shirts with band logos and ripped jeans. No two people have the same haircut and the city as a whole seems to shun fashion trends. If you talk to many Spanish people they will say that Basque people are very upfront and rude. If you understand Spanish they do speak unforgivingly but they are not vulgar. I find the people of Bilbao to be very friendly and warm in a down to earth kind of way.
This is how I see Bilbao but it can easily be viewed completely differently through others eyes. The French style architecture and the curving facades of the houses along the river. The shopping streets along wide avenues and, of course, the shining silver Guggenheim museum attracts a completely different eye. However, next to the museum, up on the humongous La Salve bridge, the Red Bull extreme diving championships are regularly held. Hidden down those same avenues are many gig venues, and you are never too far from the sound of rock music.
Bilbao is a radical, fortified city. It’s not the prettiest or the politest but it most definitely is unique.


Nomad in a Clean City

Before I’d even left for Bilbao I’d booked a reasonably priced airBnB in San Sebastián. One, so if I ran out of money I’d still have a place to stay and two, to give me more of a drive to get there on time. It was my first experience using the site and it went exceptionally well. The lady who owned the place was nice and the bed was extremely comfortable, well, it seemed extremely comfortable. A week of camping without a mat and using a rucksack for a pillow would have made any bed luxurious.
San Sebastián is not a good city to try and visit on the cheap. It is in fact, the most expensive city I’ve been to in Spain. I was staying in San Frantzisko Kalea, an area of the city immediately east of the centre. Wide streets built in blocks surrounded by play parks and plazas. I spent most of the afternoon wondering around the gothic old town, where the old lanes are darker and contain much more character. Brass street lights hang above the stone facades of expensive shops and restaurants. Walking around the city, I couldn’t believe how clean and well kept everything looked. From the churches to the bins, they all looked new. This is in keep with the fact that for every garbage bin, there is a recycling bin, and many of the restaurants are eco friendly or fresh from the sea. San Sebastián is a very upmarket city which makes it feel different to Bilbao, Valencia, even Barcelona and Madrid. Personally, I felt that I didn’t fit in at all.

The next day I spent the morning very slowly walking from Café to Blabla car pick up point which was down river. Walking away from the sea the buildings became a bit more concrete and the city lost a little of its prestigious feel.
The lift back to Madrid felt long, the driver and the other passenger where nice but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was returning to reality from a glimpse of total nomadic freedom. I arrived in Madrid on the Tuesday and met back up with Atlas. A day later we were to fly back to England.


Day 7: Zarautz to San Sebastián – The final push

The last day, the final push, but it wouldn’t be easy.
I woke up on Sunday with one goal in mind: Get to San Sebastián. After a whole week of walking, I was ready to chill-out in a city for a while with the little money I had left. The problem was that after a week of walking my knees had begun to ache and on that last day they became quite painful. I’m not sure why it was, people can walk for weeks, months without problem. Whether it was my diet, pushing myself a little too much or too little training, my last day and a half of walking was plagued with knee problems.
I had 22 kilometres to cover and aimed to be in San Sebastián just after mid-day. My knees hurt most when I walked down hill, the first leg of my journey was a long, shallow down hill walk to the town of Oreo. Tall hedgerows along narrow lanes mostly shielded the scenery. I do remember a man with a big stick walking in front of me swinging at any livestock that came close enough but apart from that this first leg was rather uneventful. I eventually was lead to a road along a river, crossing under a motorway and then over the river into Oreo. I’m not going to say that Oreo is unremarkable as a town but in my desire to get a move on I did not stop in the small town and experienced none of it.
The far side of Oreo the path grew busier and would stay that way all the way to the San Sebastián. This was unfortunate as I had got into the habit of walking backwards for short periods of time as it was easier on my legs. I thought that the friendly nods and hellos walkers give when they pass each other might change into confused squints if I continued. After straddling the side of a hill, I passed back under the motorway where the Camino split into three. One way would take me to the peak of a mountain, one was a coastal route and another an inland route. I chose to walk from Bilbao to San Sebastián because I could follow the coast and I planned on doing that all the way to the end!
After circling the edge of the wooded mountain in what was a very refreshing, Northern European scene, I descended to a coastal path with a dramatically different mise-en-scene. Going from the lush greens of the mountainside the path then weaved down a dry and dusty, steep coastal hill. The plants vibrant and hardy with many low lying shrubs and twisted old trees. I could have stopped in this new and foreign landscape but the big city awaited.

After descending towards the sea and climbing back upwards the path joined a quiet road providing access to wealthy looking properties dotted amounts big plots of land. These roads continued for another couple of kilometres before reaching a road on the ridge of a hill. Beyond the ridge, the city of San Sebastián reached out before me. Seven days, 130-140 kilometres covered, a new fear of dogs, many beautiful memories and now I could see my destination. I say the city reached out, it is far from what you can call a massive urban sprawl. It’s beautiful to see it from up high. When I worked in the hostel I used to ask some of the travellers: What’s your favourite city so far? Some answered San Sebastián and I remember one telling me his reasoning was because it was like a city designed on some game by a God. The bay looks like it was created for the purpose of defending a city. On its East and West flanks two steep hills bend around creating a crater like shape in the middle. They don’t come close to touching so the sea flows between them to form a big, shielded bay. Along the shoreline there is a long curving beach that runs its length to a tidy little dockyard on the far side, broken only by a bulge of land right in the middle. It’s quite remarkable.
Just along the road from where I had appeared above the city, at the tip of the Eastern ridge was a large mansion that I later found out is just an attractions park. Instead of inspecting it I decided to simply descend into the city and rid myself of my bag, have a shower ect. The Camino descended steeply through some gardens that climbed the hillside. I ended up on the Western side of the city, near the beach. It is here, kicking off my trainers and slipping into my flip flops that I believe my walk ended and my short city break began.


Day 6: Part 2: Zumaia to Zarautz – A grand little walk.

I crossed the bridge out of Zumaia with just over 10 kilometers left and plenty of time. I dawdled along the road next to the marshland with its waders and water birds before being directed up into farmland. I expected more of the same here. Lanes running through lush fields of green sporadically broken by a group of trees. Little did I know that West of Zumaia is vineyard country.

The dirt underfoot changed from a moist dark brown to a dusty pale gravel. The hill climbed up and away from the town and was soon lined with thick, bountiful vineyards climbing and descending. This short section was made more entertaining because I wasn’t following a straight line. The dirt road zigzagged through the mazy vineyards giving off the sense that these where very old plantations. There is something very satisfying about walking between the long rows of vines. It makes a walk have a sense of grandeur.

It wasn’t only the grapes here which provided a view. Looking down the hill towards the sea a peninsular appeared. An oval island connected by a chunky ligament of land: Getaria. The town of Getaria sits on the land bridge between the mainland and the Isla de San Anton (called Isla =island despite not being one). It looked quite unusual, the narrow clustered town with the hill of an island beyond. I was quite content to look down on it from my vineyard vantage point. The small town had a fiesta in full swing and beach to relax on but I continued westwards knowing that another town awaited.

After I passed the final row of vines and traversed another section half wooded, half lush with crops, I descended into Zarautz. (Not to be confused with the previous town of Zumaia.) Zarautz is similar to the town of Bermeo I had visited on Day Two, only bigger and busier. It is a beach town, modern buildings mostly high-rises next to a long and popular beach. Going off architecture alone the town has little character, but like many beach towns: the surfers out to sea, the kids running and playing, everybody in bikinis and swim shorts, create its character.

After taking out some cash for the last time on this trip I realised how poor I was. I hadn’t lived lavishly by any standards. My water was mostly free, bottles topped up at the many public fountains along the Camino. My diet had consisted mostly of salad sandwiches and peanuts and I had keep my beers to only one or two here or there. The average price of my unreserved campsite plots was around 15 euros but still, I had managed to spend (with the cash I just took out) around 200 euros.

My poorness came into frustrating effect when I reached my next campsite: Gran Camping Zarautz. It was up a hill overlooking the town on its West flank. The camp was big and had a lot going on: A bar showing the football, a pizza place and a restaurant. The problem was I couldn’t really afford any of it, not if I wanted some money left to spend in San Sebastian. I think I bought and nurtured a half-pint, ignored the sounds of festivities from the town, and went to bed. Not down hearted though, that days walk had been incredible.


Day 6: Part 1: Itxaspe to Zumaia – The best walk

There are many titles I could give the walk I completed on day 6. It was the busiest walk, many walkers traversed this stretch of coastline. It was the most off-road walk, only walking on roads when going through towns. Most importantly it was the most beautiful walk, on what was a continuously beautiful trip.

I woke up at my amazing campsite, looked across the Deba-Zumaia Coastline National Park and couldn’t wait to get going. Pinned to the notice board of the campsite was a Camino de Santiago pamphlet with a map of the section of path I was just about to tackle. After all the problems I had leaving the Camino in search of the campsite the previous day, I here realised that if I had just stuck with it, it would have taken me to within 20 meters of Camping & Bungalows Itxaspe. Sometimes, I was beginning to learn, you must trust that all roads lead to Rome.

When I reconnected with the Camino I was met by something that I hadn’t had up until this point: the sight of other walkers. For the past five previous days, most of it making my own way, I had been on quite a lonesome walk, but here there were others. Despite some people now in the way they didn’t ruin the view. A rugged, jagged coastline of sandy-stony beaches with great claws of rocks. The trees did not encroach over the hardy grasses that carpeted the ground up until the cliff and beach edges making it quite different from all sections before it. The Deba-Zumaia Kostaldeko Bidea is a natural park because of its dramatic rock formations. The different levels and layers of rock have eroded in such a way to make long, pale fingers reach out to sea. In some places it looks like a rocky corrugated metal is being used as a sea defense. But the sea does surpass it and has bashed against the cliffs to make them lean every which way.

The Camino pointed me inland, towards a farm and then up a steep climb away from the rumbling coast. It went into a patch of woodland and up out the other side to a grassy area, eventually ending at the shallow ridge of the hill. Here, there was a small hamlet and a dirt road progressing across the ridge. To the North the hill dropped away to the rugged coastline, but to look inland was to look at the most amazing view of my journey.

It was still morning when I reached the ridge and a morning coolness still hugged the air. Looking inland from the hamlet of Elorriaga Auzoa, you saw only layers upon layers of mountains nudging their way into the distance. In the bright fresh air they were all different shades of blue, getting darker the further they rolled away. It’s a view that you must admit to yourself that no one would be able to paint and fully capture its outstandingness. I was truly impressed. So much so that I would say  if you are thinking of following any of the steps I took, go to the hill were the hamlet of Elorriaga Auzoa sits. I was not the only person admiring the view up on the hill. I was accompanied by many other tourists. Not enough to be annoying mind you but more than in most other parts of my trip. After a few minutes  of admiration, I continued.

The lanes and paths remained busy with people heading downhill from the ridge with the beautiful view often present to my right. The path eventually came down to sea level just for the signs to point me back up towards the edge of the Flysch Cliffs. From this vantage point one is able to look down on Playa de Zumaia. I saw many beaches during my Basque walk but Zumaia Beach was the most memorable. The dark brown sand is almost completely cut off from the town by two streaky cliffs of pale rock. Each of them looking like it was etched out from the land. The only way to get to the beach is by a path right through the middle of them, seemingly naturally formed for the purpose of beachgoing. There were sunbathers but it didn’t look like a beach for sunbathing. Its pale, streaky cliffs and dark sand made it look quite ominous. I looked down on the beach but did not go down to it.

Instead I went into Zumaia, one of the better known coastal towns in the Basque Country. While other towns have a ruggedness, a gentleness or beach-vibe to them. The adjective that stands out from my trip to Zumaia is wealthy. The clean, paved, pedestrian streets are crossed by many a well-dressed family. The many bakeries and cafes along the blue river looked expensive and were indeed out of my price range. It has a busy marina filled with boats and yachts elegantly set apart from the river by a curving wall. It’s a place you may associate more with Southern France than Northern Spain. It is a strange location for such a place. Slotted between the gothic beach to the North and a blotch of marsh land to the East.

I stopped for a tea, as that was all I could afford, tried not to look ridiculously out of place and flicked through the pictures of the tremendous views I had seen that day.


Day 5. Part 2 – Mutriku to Itxaspe. Don’t trust Google Maps.

The next six or seven kilometers provided a simple, refreshing walk up and over some hills. The lanes I followed wriggled through farmed fields and small villages with the sea ever visible to the North. The path’s markings soon told me to leave the country lanes and head down a narrow pathway which took me to a road, next to a river, with the simple town of Deba rising up on the opposite side.

I didn’t spend long in Deba. I walked along a path shaded by a regimented row of trees next to the river. At the end of the path was a big beach accommodating many sunbathers with a bar on its near side. I stopped for a caña before working my way back to where I’d left the Camino de Santiago. The signs and arrows showed me up the roads, through the town and out the far side. Having not spent much time in Deba, it is difficult for me to reflect back on it. The only impression it made on me was that it seemed more of a town for people to live rather than visit, despite its generous beach.

The scene on the far side of Deba was similar to that which came before it. Green, fresh smelling farmland with simple country lanes running between them. I didn’t have a map for the Camino, so I didn’t know where it led. I did know that my campsite was near so I changed back to following Google Maps, the last time I would do that on this journey. I peeled away down a lane denting into lush green farms. Old, dark skinned famers toiled away in each. The lane then became a track running along next to a stream under a canopy of trees. The lane was marked as a road on Google maps but it didn’t seem like it went anywhere. As I continued the lane became more overgrown and muddy. (It’s worth noting that this lane has since been removed from Google Maps.) The road to the campsite was literally just a short climb up a steep hill the other side of the stream. So, instead of continuing along the overgrown lane which probably would have leaded me to a vicious dog, I jumped the stream and began scrambling up hill.

The section of hill I climbed was a section of woodland recently cut for logging. It was covered in stumps and roots which aided my climb. Sweating a lot with my bag on my back I suddenly heard a sound that sent a shiver down my spine. It wasn’t the sound of a gun, a scream or fire, but a bell. Why would a bell scare me? On this journey I had only seen one animal with bells around their necks, bulls. I turned around half expecting to see a charging bull, instead I saw a row of goats. They were standing along the trunk of a fallen tree, heads turned, looking confused whilst slowly munching their jaws. I was relived but also knew how aggressive goats could be. I quickly turned and continued.

This area stopped at a wire fence, I had hoped the road I was looking for would be the other side of it but unfortunately I was met by an inclining field with houses a top. Two things went through my mind: One was that the owners of the houses were probably the owners of the fields and if they saw me crossing there field how would they react? Two, the fence looked electric. To pass boundary one I found a fallen branch, used it to push the wire of the fence down, stood on a log and jumped over. I then crossed the field, taking a rout least visible to the houses. The field ended at a lane which was still not the road I was looking for. It was the lane that, if I had just been patient enough, the muddy, overgrown lane would have become. I ungracefully jumped the hedgerow and was back on track.

Boundary three was one completely thought up by my new fear of canines. The lane continued between two farmhouses, their gates open. What if territorial dogs lingered within them? Instead of avoiding the farmers I now tried to get their attention. A middle-aged couple working in a garden. I called to them, waved my arms. They looked at me, must have thought I was crazy, and continued gardening. I continued up the road with caution, passed the dogless house without problem and finally reached the road.

Two minutes later I made the campsite: Camping & Bungalows Itxaspe. The cheapest and best campsite of my journey. I arrived, legs scratched, clothes dirty, body sweaty. The lad behind the counter must have thought strangely of me. Why was Itxaspe the best campsite of the six I would stay at on this journey? Well firstly the site sits at the edge of the Deba-Zumaia kostaldeko bidea, (Deba-Zumaia coast line) a famous coastline of geological importance. Its craggy pale cliffs making a beautiful view from the campsites hilltop vantage point. Secondly, you can look out over this view from an infinity pool for no extra cost. I pitched my tent, got into my trunks and eased myself down into the pool. It was here, resting, peering out from a swimming pool across a beautiful view in an eight euro campsite, where I ended day five.


Day 5. Part 1 – Ondarroa to Mutriku. Nudist beaches and Haphazardness.

The Camino de Santiago (Santiago Way or Path of Santiago) was a name which I heard a lot when I spoke to people before I left for Bilbao. Once I had told them that I was going to walk along the Basque coast they would reply with: “On the Camino de Santiago?” to which I would reply: “What’s that?” and once I had learned, “No, just making my own way”. Which was true, when I planned my walk, where I would stop and go, I hadn’t even heard of the Camino. When I researched it, I found out that it didn’t totally follow the coast and dismissed it. On day five, I came across it.

When I woke up that Friday, I decided I wanted a jump in the sea, but I didn’t want to have to dry my clothes, hanging from my rucksack as I had the previous day. Luckily for me, the day before I had climbed some steps which bridged some rocks on Saturraran Playa (the one 5 minutes from my camp) and saw that the rocks cut off a section of beach used as a nudist beach. Now, I hadn’t been on a nudist beach before but it seemed perfect for me then. I could strip-off, swim around, wait the short time it would take for myself to dry in the Spanish sun and carry on. Clothes not once touching water. The beach was fairly busy, mostly with chubby late-middle aged men and women but with some other ages as well and even some mothers with children. The water was warm and despite the rocks being extremely slippery underfoot, I much enjoyed my morning refreshment.

The previous day at the same beach I had also spotted a sign for the “Camino de Santiago”. Having spent the majority of my walk so far on roads, I thought I needed some track. There was only one problem. The sign said the path started at the beach but it didn’t identify exactly where. I only saw a small footpath that didn’t look like it could be a famous walkway trampled by thousands every year, and a dirt road with a very clear “no entry” sign on it. For some reason, I really don’t know why, I chose the road and was quickly met by a man and two unleashed barking dogs. Luckily the man was with them and he swiftly turned me around. From this moment on, after my second encounter with dogs, I would always be wary when walking towards a house or farm or even walking towards the sound of a barking dog.

Anyway, I returned and took the other path which did end up being correct. My dreams of dirt tracks and pedestrian lanes didn’t last long though. The track lead up a short wooded hill but quickly joined a county lane. This road ran along close to the coast, often bounded by high, thick hedgerows and green covered walls. Sometimes the hedges parted providing views down to the crisp, blue sea. These lanes turned a corner and revealed the steep town of Mutriku, a town which scrambles up the hill side from a harbor shielded by a long curving sea wall. All the roads in Mutriku seemed to fall over each other, twisting and turning creating walls and bridges and drops. In fact one its most notable features is the curving wall which supports the road twisting up and out of the town. Despite its haphazardness, there is something very graceful about the town. It has a sense of wealth and fluidity. This is partly due to the simple, white church half way up the hill that looks like a Greek temple (actually considered Basque Guipuzcoana style). The simple, pretty, symmetrical building adds an anchor to the looping roads around it.

I decided to buy a few snacks and go through the warped streets to the edge of the harbor to relax for a few moments. I still had over half my journey to go but I thought Mutriku was a nice spot to chill. Getting out of the small, clambering town gave me a bit of a headache. The short few kilometers I had followed the Camino de Santiago, I had been impressed by its signage. Painted lines showed if you were going in the right direction, where you should turn and even crosses marking the wrong directions. However, I couldn’t find any signs marking where the Camino continued on the eastern side of the town. I discovered later that I was actually walking the Camino backwards. The route was meant to be walked East to West and its signs are more accommodating for that direction of travel. Having not found any sign of the path continuing East I followed the coast road, but the busy road soon shed its pavement and started to bend over bridges, providing little room. I went back into town, tried to search for a sign, no luck. I went back down the road, searching down the lanes that turned off it, nothing. I think I eventually went back into town to ask for help, but none was needed as I did eventually see a reasonably sized yet faded sign. It pointed up a lane into the hills. Finally, eventually, I was back on my way.


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