Daughter A and I flew to Biarritz, where we met Daughter N to walk most of the Camino Vasco del Interior from Irun to Burgos – planning a bit more than 200 km over 12 days.
Since I don’t regularly watch TV or movies, airplane entertainment is novel. A special movie (really good, really bad or just something that catches my fancy) provides a break from my “normal” and re-sets my mood for adventure or vacation.
A documentary on Pavarotti, on the flight to Paris has done that for me today. (The highlight was some clips from the first concert of the 3 tenors.)
A and N managed to carve out 12 days vacation at the same time, to see what Mom has been doing every year in Spain. A is a regular runner but otherwise a city creature; N runs and climbs mountains. Neither has done a walking trip.
We checked 3 backpacks – one for N, who was weekending in London and flying cheap on Ryanair; one with her extra gear for a post-Camino vacation; and A’s camino pack. I, of course, carried my pack with most stuff, on board the cabin.
A’s bag went astray. Actually it didn’t – it stayed in Vancouver. The nice Air France lady said it “should” arrive in 24 hours, but she thought it unlikely. We provided info on where we’d be staying. I won’t bore you with the complicating factors.
Next mission – equip A with the necessities. Not found in Biarritz on Sunday evening. On Monday, took bus to Gare de Biarritz, train to Hendaye, and train to Irun. We bought sim cards for our phones, found a post office to mail a box onward to Burgos, and caffeinated ourselves. Then a city bus to Decathlon in the outskirts – excellent selection of clothes and equipment for all outdoor activities.
We had planned to skip some urban stretches on Days 1 and 2 in order to put some flex time into the 12 days. Because it was after 3 pm by the time we were ready to start, and we had a reservation in Astigarraga, we had to jump further ahead. The clerk at Decathlon called a taxi for us. I had the Camino as a track on maps.me, so I showed him roughly where we wanted to start walking. Fifteen minutes later we were on a side road, about 300 m from the Camino. The weather had turned sunny and warm, and we were off! Soon we found yellow arrows.
Walking was picturesque – up and down hills, past cows, occasional houses, into some shaded forest paths. Those shaded paths had some slippery muddy patches. I promptly fell into one. That provided some entertainment and we began to feel we were on a walking trip, even though we only walked about 8 km that day!
Pension Astigarraga is comfortable – a converted industrial building where the entrance is directly ino a freght elevator. Had dinner in a sidrería, accompanied by a local cider. On the way into town we had seen men throttling the apple trees, raking up apples, and taking them away in big trucks. We had also sampled some apples overhanging the path – very tasty. The cider was good – it had an authentic flavour, described by N as “like apples that have been rotting on the ground, raked into trucks, and fermented into cider – but in a good way!
The girls taught me how to hold my camera properly for a selfie. Not sure that it will improve the product a lot.