Day 2. Part 2. Gorliz to Mundaka – Pine trees, scenic routes and post apocalyptical roads.

The following two roads where just what I needed to calm my nerves and reinvigorate me. Descending from the house, down the side of the mountain, along a safe, black road. Soon I reached a T-junction and began to climb again. Both roads were lined with unbroken rows of pine trees filling the air with a fresh, clean taste. The weather was warm and my excelled heartbeat had made me sweaty but amongst the pine forests, I was refreshed.

I knew that beyond the trees on my left was the sea although I couldn’t make it out just yet. The sounds of the trees and the birds within them silenced the sounds of any waves but I knew the coast was there. I climbed up high above the coastline where the pines finally parted for a small car park, a viewpoint. From here I gained one of the most beautiful views. The pine trees, dense and dark fell down into the sea to the North and down to the bay of Bakio to the East. After spending much of the morning and early afternoon climbing over a steep mountain and running from dogs, the beach and the sea were a welcome, stunning sight.

There were paths, well-trodden paths leading down to the bay through the pine trees but I hesitated to take them. The last path I followed took me straight onto the lawn of a dog guarded property. I knew the road I was walking would end up in the same place but I took the path and enjoyed an undisturbed dawdle down towards the town ending in a pretty stone walled alleyway. When I was near, Bakio came into view, it’s long beach was cradled by two steep banks either side and a modern looking town running all the way along its edge but not reaching deep inland. Bakio is a surf town, many of the villages and towns on the Basque coast are well accommodating towards surfers. The surf on the North coast of Spain is famous however today it was not great and so the sea was left to the paddlers and swimmers. I took off my walking boots and strolled along the beach, letting the air and sand massage my reddened feet. After, I stopped in a surf café for a café con leche. I knew I couldn’t stop for long, I still had a way to go and in a few hours it would be dark.

I checked my maps which showed a main road cutting off a peninsular of coast line. Knowing I had to get a move on I considered it. The coast road however was called the scenic route. If there’s any combination of words that can grab my attention, it’s scenic route. The road started up a sharp steep hill out of Bakio, steeper than any I had climbed so far. With the sun still blazing I cursed and muttered to myself as I climbed. Eventually the road leveled a little under some trees but still held a gradual ascent. Through the trees, down towards the sea to my left I saw a small island, perched atop was a simple building. Leading across the sea from the mainland was a broad, confident stone arched bridge, visibly being crossed by a steady flow of people. My scenic route ended as it met up with the main road. At the junction was a big sign: San Juan de Gaztelugatxe.  It was a popular place, many people were arriving, parking and descending a path down to the bridge. I thought about it, but I knew I’d still be walking at night if I took such a large deviation, as curious as it seemed.

I continued, ignoring the main road, instead opting to take a road which hugged the coastline. No cars chose this route which I thought was strange, soon I found out why. A concrete hip-high boundary had been placed across the road to stop all oncoming vehicles. Beyond the barrier the road was potholed with massive cracks in its surface like what you might find after an earthquake. I wasn’t a vehicle and I didn’t fancy the main road without a pathway so I continued. I met no other walkers, cars or locals along this broken section of costal road. In my mind I convinced myself that I was in a post apocalyptical world. My daydreams were aided by the fact no pine trees lined the road here. To my left the sharp cliff dropped down to the Atlantic, to my right, only hardy plants clung to a short, dry slope.

My daydream ended when the scared road reconnected to the main road which I was now forced to take. Day quickly became night and what I really hoped to avoid became reality; walking along a main road in the dark. Eventually a new seaside village came into view with the sound of a school band playing hinting at another fiesta. But I only stopped to grab a slice of pizza before hurrying along to the campsite which was another 4 n half kilometers along the road. Gratefully, a pavement aided my evening walk here. The campsite was big and busy when I arrived. Its popularity meant the staff worked late so there was someone there to give me a plot. Despite all the sounds of activity and the draw of a camp bar, I passed out asleep.


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