Albergue de Santa Clara, Zumaia


jimmy Hogg

10 Mar

March 10th,
de Santa Clara, Zumaia

got up at seven this morning, had a few drinks last night with this
Aussie couple who work at the hostel and this Italian dude who also
worked there and then there were an Argentinian couple too. All nice
people, although the Aussies were really quite boring and fairly
thick- obviously it turns out he’s an engineer, so not a dumbdumb in
that sense, just something of a blunt instrument socially. They been
in Spain for two months and neither of them spoke a lick of Spanish
and they complained that the quality of bananas available wasn’t up
to par, “Cos they’re really good for energy in the morning,
y’know?” Yes. Fascinating. Would’ve much rather just chatted to the
Argentinian guy and dropped everyone else really, but social tyranny
was not on the menu.
left San Sebastian a little before 8am. I walked along the promenade
by the main beach as the sun was coming up behind me and twenty
minutes later I was at the foot of the trail for the Camino. The
first few kilometres were up a steep winding hill and I was almost
immediately bothered by the weight of my backpack, but I motored on
enthusiastically, full of the spirit of adventure, nodding to
strangers as we acknowledge that what I’m doing is pretty cool. One
guy even says he’d like to come with me but he’d only slow me down-
yes you would cheif, I’m a fucking walking machine!

soon I’d already hammered through 14 or 15kms and was getting close
to Orio, I’d ben going for about two and a half hours and ws quite
plesed with myself. Then, entering the town or Orio there was a steep
incline and then some horrible down-hill bullshit. I’ve already
established that I hate walking down hill. When I was a kid I’d just
lollop down a hill at full pace, all lose limbed and giggly, it felt
as though you were going faster than if you ran on flat and your body
was overtaken with a elated kind of freedom. Now I feel as though my
knee is going to pop out or I’m going to roll my ankle. He freedom
has ben overtaken by a cautiousness ering on paranoia. So, down hill
can suck it.

Orio, a medieval village/port, I grab a coffe and then attend to the
fact that I already have a blister- in all the walking I’ve been
doing I haven’t had one blister. I wlked almost thirty kms around the
coastal hills of Las Palmas and nothing and now that I’ve started day
one of thirty-something days of just walking, I get a blister.

attend to it and then crack on. The coffe has geed me up and I march
on, snacking on raisans and cashews which fit in the pouches on the
backpack belt that tightens around my waist- nice feature MEC. Well

go through Zarautz, a beach town will a golf course en situ and a
large marina full of yauhts. The beach aside, it’s not a pretty town,
just rows of concrete blocks for buildings, none of the charm of Old
Spain. Then I’m onto the beautiful little town of Getaria, where I
could quite happily stay, but I decide to go an extra 6km and get to
the village of Zumaia, where I eventually find a place to stay that
is as nice as anywhere I’ve ever stayed and set amongst the hills
overlooking the sea.

popped out to grab some food. The woman who runs this place took me
into town which is at the bottom of some massive hill and then picked
me up an hour and a half later. I basically ate the largest plate of
food they had available which consisted of a chicken breast, some ham
(it’s everywhere), two fried eggs a stack of fries and a basket of
bread. I ate it all and considered eating more. To be fair to me, I
would’ve ordered a vegetable of some kind but they don’t have any
that aren’t potatoes and the menu was is Basque which looks like
Greek and Spanish mixed together. Anyway, I was perfectly happy with
my order.

the walk today was basically a series of woodland and cattle trails,
tramping through the hills of farmland and then opening up into a
stunning vista and then continuing on a coastal trail touching
distance from the sea. It really was quitre stunning, I couldn’t have
been happier. The only real danfer were all the dogs… I’d be
walking along and then suddenly some massive dog, usually an alsatian
would jump up against a fence or strain on its chain and start
barking hysterically. This happened about seven or eight times and
never ceased to make me shit myself as I was walking in othewise
peaceful countryside. And of course it’s just me in my brain and so
I’m envisaging one of the dogs getting free from its bindings or
finding a break in the fence and savaging me and so I looked for a
good stick a couple of times but then dismissed this as ridiculous.
Then, after being scare again I thought that I should definitely get
a knife in the next town. I played out a very long scenario where I
was savagely scarred, had to be flown to a hospital with a unit that
specialised in my kind of lacerations and then, once out of hospital
I go back to where I’d left of on my trail bcasue that’s why I came
here and that’s what kind of guy I am.

anothe day dream I imagined dislocating my knee and then trying to
drag myself to the nearest place for help, but then being savaged by
wolves which I’m pretty sure have been reintroduced into Spain- just
my fucking luck.

at the hostel in SS, there was this girl called Stephanis who I
talked to a bit about the trail. She was really nice and had that
wicked sense of humour that I asociate with certain types in Spain.
Anyway, she had me convinced that my walk was/is going to be a
nightmare, basically she said, “My Dad justb looked a few days ago
and becasue of all the rain we’ve had some of the trails are
impassable,” and “It’s going to be sunny for the next two days,
which is good, but Basque weather can change at any point and you get
that rain that goes sideways.” I explain that I’m English, have a
waterproof jacket and a waterproof cover for my backpack, to which
she says, “Yes, but when it rains like this it doesn’t matter, it
get everywhere, it gets into your body and you can never get warm.”
She also said, “The last few days of the walk you hate it and just
want it to be over but then you have to keep walking, it’s the
worst.” And, “Most of the hostels and places to stay will be
closed, you might not find anywhere to stay, you should make sure you
book ahead.”

the time I didn’t think anything of it, but then as I walked and the
trails were fine and there were plently of places to stay along the
way and the weather way lovely, I jjst thought, “Fuck you, you’re
the classic fucking naysayer, I’m going to have a great time,” and
then I began to sing ‘Take Me To Church’ by Hozier which I’ve
realised has to be my anthem given my destination. In fact, I sang
and talked to myself for a great deal of the journey, there’s no
music on my phone and besides, I need my wits about me for all the
wild animals that are waiting to strike as soon as I put a podcast

I’m planning to walk about the same amount as I did today- which was
35km- we’ll see how I recover by tomorrow… I’m going to sleep like
a baby.

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