Day One: the Camino del Norte begins

Day One was a very long day. It started on Thursday at 6 am in Houston and ended up on Friday at 6 pm in Pasaia at the Donibanea Hotel. I arrived at San Sebastián airport, which is actually located in Hondarribia, next to Irun, the Basque city next to France and the official start to the Camino de Santiago del Norte. I left the airport and asked a friendly soul where the Camino was. “Right there!” he said, pointing to a stone staircase adorned with yellow arrows across the street. He was quite proud that the local chapter of the Amigos of the Camino had installed plaques and painted arrows marking the way.

Stairway to Heaven

It was a demanding climb to the Sanctuary of Guadalupe and an even more strenuous climb after that to 547 meters (nearly 1800 feet) elevation above sea level where I began, and would later end the day. The path I took is known as the route of the towers on Jaizkibel mountain. These towers are mostly in ruins now but we’re important defensive structures built in the 19th century during the Carlist wars. I started in sunshine, but some offshore rain clouds caught up to me and I hiked in a light rain and strong wind until I began the descent into Pasaia when the sun returned.

The views were fantastic. To the north was the Cantabrian Sea and to the south were the highland and Cantabrian mountains. There were horses, cows, goats and sheep grazing at the higher altitudes. The trail was muddy and wet, often just a puzzle through large rocks. It went up forever and descended forever!

Pasaia is a small seaport town and fishing village. It is quiet compared to her busy sister San Sebastián, my first stop tomorrow. The hotel was opened last year and is quite clean and comfortable. It will be a wonderful place to rest my weary bones.

This is the trail!
The video is a bit long but views were stunning. I am still panting from the climb!

4 thoughts on “Day One: the Camino del Norte begins

  1. The video is amazing! It is beautiful looking down on the patchwork village and then over to the sea and lovely clouds. I can imagine you clambering among those rocks and hills with the sheep, goats and horses! Thanks for including me on your adventure!


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