Sun shot in through the stained glass windows and hung in the air. The room smelled like an old, damp book. Modest, wooden chandeliers hung from the high, arched ceiling, and single flame burned in an orange glass at the front of the room.

Bird songs and distant Spanish echos seeped through the thick walls. Then sometimes it would all stop. Silence.

We went to church this morning. We had to be out of the hoste early, so we took some time to look around the city.

A morning view of the port in Getaria

We started just before 10 and the hills and the heat made us both uncomfortable. It felt like a rough day already.

But we pet a donkey, fed sheep blades of grass and horses bits of our bread.

Then we got to a crossroads. The yellow arrows we typically follow denote the most direct path to the next city. There are also red and white stripes that show the way to a more scenic, but often lengthier route.

Today, yellow meant inland, red meant coastal. On the map, the coastal route looked even shorter than what would have been our normal path, so we figured it was a win-win.

But as we soon found, the beauteous coastal route came with a price tag. “Your legs, please.” It was completely uphill. And then all downhill. And then back up and down again. It made what should have been a relatively easy day into a long and painful one.

We made it to our goal for the day, Deba, around four. We walked into another giant square, where there was a long table full of food and wine and merry people.

“Do you want some tea?” Akash asked.

“I want some wine,” I joked as we passed their table.

We sat at a table in the sun, took off our bags (which always get their own chairs) and shoes and Akash went in to buy the tea. She came out with a glass of red wine. And I learned that drinking wine in the middle of the day was not a good idea. Particularly because we planned to go on to the next city a few miles away.

Lucky for us, though, the next roads were relatively flat, and the walk through the trees was beautiful as the sun made its way down and cast patches of gold onto the trail.

After walking into a couple of the wrong backyards and being orally scolded by some vicious dogs, we made it to our hostel around 6:30. It had taken us all day to walk fewer than 15 miles.

At the hostel we met most of the people we had stayed with the night before. They had all taken the inland route and made it there hours before us. We’re always late to arrive, late to leave.

But the views make it all worth it.


Day 3: The Coastal Way

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