And it continues…
Day 9: Gernika to Larrabetzu, 17 km. Some folks do the whole 30 km between Gernika and Bilbao in a day. But we’ve been going slowly, and felt no need to push it. This was a nice stretch through more rolling Basque country…though sadly lacking in places to stop for food and drinks almost the entire way. Note to future CDN pilgrims: stock up in Gernika and say yes to an early morning coffee!
There was one place to re-fill water bottles about 9 km out of Gernika, and there was a wee little albergue that sold some snacks after only 5 km. I bought a granola bar and a 7Up (which I immediately and profoundly regretted….7up at 9 am is way too sugary for me. Ah well). By the time we arrived in Larrabetzu, a small Basque village with only 1 pilgrim albergue, we were REAL HUNGRY. I ordered one of those delightful 10 euro pilgrim menus which comes with 2 courses, bread, wine, and dessert. Greg got a lot of pintxos.
There was a festival going on in town that day, and so the locals were hanging out in the main plaza grilling, drinking, dancing, and getting progressively rowdier as the day went on.
Day 10: Larrabetzu to Bilbao, 13 km. We got an early start since the hospitaleros running the albergue pretty much told us to wake up and get out around 6:30 am. We lucked out and had cafe and muffins at the only cafe open in town. Generally, nothing is open on Sundays. Then about 3 km later, we stopped for a 2nd breakfast of bacon and eggs. Very luxurious. And very lucky. The walk to Bilbao from Larrabetzu was quite short, only 13 km. The last 5 km is up a small mountain and down the other side which spat us out into the city of Bilbao. Not difficult or long, but from the previous 9 days of walking, my feet were pretty fed up with me.
Very unfortunately, as I have mentioned a few posts back, I was in need of surgery (which is now done!), and therefore needed to go back to where I’ve been living in France after only 10 days walking the Camino. We had a flight back to Strasbourg on May 23, and we arrived in Bilbao on May 21, so we theoretically could have continued for another 1.5 days of Camino-ing. But Bilbao is a lovely, relatively large city, and we decided to just take it easy there til our flight.
Noteworthy in Bilbao: more pintxos!
A short day trip to the beach.
The lovely city.
The Guggenheim Museum.
Lots of time resting our feet.
The super friendly nun who stamped our credenciales in the Cathedral. We may or may not have consumed a lot of ice cream.
I want very badly to get back on the Camino and do the whole Norte. But due to this surgery business, it doesn’t sound likely this summer. Perhaps I will be able to get another week or two of walking, but we’ll have to see how my body heals. Walking the CDN was such a cool experience, and even with 10 days walking relatively slowly, I feel like I barely got my toes wet. I explored parts of Spain I am pretty sure I’d never otherwise see. I met lots of interesting walkers. Greg and I still seem to like each other. I got to practice my Spanish a lot. Hopefully I will return someday soon!