Friday, July 7, 2017

Returning to our days of Camino walking this year: leaving San Sebastian

Hello, everyone.

While it's obvious that there are not a lot of days to talk about, it occurred to me that we did learn some useful things in the days we did walk, which others would possibly want to know about. Thus these periodic posts about our walk this year.

The last post on this brought us to the city of San Sebastian. This is a good-sized city, a beach town, with a bridge over a river in the midst of it. Once you hit the beach area on the way into town the shells seem to vanish. Apparently the folks in S. Sebastian feel like it's not that hard to find your way through their city. (They do give out maps at the tourist office.) Turning left and going along the beach, there are some really gorgeous flower beds to pass, and as you go along you will find occasional signs for the Turismo office. Obviously, those are something to follow. The short version is: go along the beach and cross the bridge, then go a ways farther. The Turismo is past the McDonald's and in the midst of some other tourist agencies. There are some public benches for resting outside and some ornamental trees. The ladies at the Turismo are very helpful. After staying in a pension in the area, and having some pintxos and wine for dinner with a fellow that was also walking the trail, we got up in the morning (not quite as early as the sun!) and started walking in the lowering, dribbly clouds. We passed the harbor area and then passed the lovely manicured garden/park with the stone statue of the Infanta, and then found a hotel bar that was open and serving coffee. They also had little bocadillos and pastries. The rain came down for real for a few minutes while we were having our bit of breakfast. By the time we left, the rain had pretty much stopped. We continued along the beach, looking at the map and wondering where we were supposed to go next. (No shells yet! Nor yellow arrows.) We came to the end and found ourselves at a tee junction.

At the tee junction, not being sure what to do, we went right. We found ourselves looking at the Funicular building a few minutes later. Just as we were about to do the absolutely wrong thing (climb the stairs next to that building) DH noticed a lady in a third story window waving and pointing back the way we came. We took her advice. And as we approached the tee junction again from the side direction, a gentleman  came up along side of us and told us that we needed to go straight for a little while. He also accompanied us up to the corner we needed to turn at and pointed out the shell sign on the pole. (God bless both of these kind folks!) We turned right at the corner and followed 3" square blue shell stickers on sign poles until we found the path across the headland.

The Camino path over the headland. Note the yellow arrow on the pole.

The map of walking trails in the province (?) next to the trail cutoff.
This trail is a mostly-gently sloping set of switchbacks that climbs steadily until the pilgrim is looking down at multi-story apartments, and then comes down again. There are no scary moments and the main difficulty for me was simply that I had not gained my climbing legs yet. (It takes several days to get one's fitness up at the beginning of the walk, and especially so if one hasn't done much hill climbing before the trip.)

The remainder of the day was a lot of walking past beautiful farms, villages, views of the ocean, and so on. Much of it was on bitty little trails. I really felt for the bike riders who were pushing their bikes past us on the one-butt-wide rocky trails to reach a place they could actually climb aboard and pedal again. The trail does not go past any facilities to speak of, rather like the day before, but near the end of the stage one does enter a lovely fishing town that has bars and possibly also places to stay. We elected to cross over and stayed in Zarautz, as it was only another few kilometers uphill and down past some pretty farms.)