Tuesday, April 9, 2019
Day 4 of walking
Today’s morning was glorious!! We had a beautiful, several mile stroll along the beach promenade as a brilliant sun rose over the horizon. At one point we had to climb over the walkway barricade to go around some construction and then climb back over! In the meantime I met two nice guys from Germany, Wolfgang and Achhim, ambling along together quite a spell. We walked from Zarautz to Deba, through the hamlets of Getaria, Akzizu, Zumaia, Elorriaga and Itziar, 24 km, 14.9 miles.
Every Spanish beachfront town we have stayed in is worthy of coming back for holiday! And the vistas we have been partaking of are astounding AND outstanding! Yet My, Oh My, Oh My! Today’s journey was all of those views times 10!! Also, the strenuousness and degree of incline of the hills was Times 10 as well… We enjoyed much of the day without rain and it was exhilarating and exhausting. Every part of my body is tired and achy…
As we were walking into the beautiful marina town of Zumaia. basically in three different groups, each of us was approached by a local urging we take the more scenic (and more challenging) coastal route. One of those guys, a past perigrino, stayed with one group of two of our party for an entire hour and then took us all to the grocery store, and on a little tour of his town, showing us pictures of his past Camino adventures on his phone. Our excursion off the regular Camino was well worth the effort put forth. It’s hard to put what our eyes beheld into words or pictures.
Besides feeling I would never make it up some of the hills we encountered, additionally we were chased by an aggressive goose, took a detour through a tunnel and had to reroute via GPS onto the highway to find our way into our lodging town, and took a shortcut through a farmers meadow with nettles, having to climb up over the highway embankment guard rail.
Making our way down into town was quite precarious and steep and at one point there were even elevators we could have taken. However, we stayed on the stairs and concrete byways. Elevators!
We stayed at Albergue Peregrinos in the top of the train station and for once the place was packed – surprising since we have seen very few pilgrims. All in all, a very full day for we pilgrims thus far. I ended up doing the laundry and eating in, while my peeps went just across the square for their Peregrino dinner.
Some historic tidbits gleaned from our Northern Caminos guidebook follow. “Another important fishing town with a history of whaling and exploring. Basque navigators were quite popular on Portuguese and Spanish ships. The most famous example, Getaria’s own Juan Sebastián Eleanor, took over Magellan’s fleet after Magellan was killed and completed the globe’s first circumnavigation. He is still honored today.”
“The 13th- century Church of San Salvador hosted Elcano’s baptism and contains his (empty) tomb. It has several distinctive and curious elements, including a tilted floor, a menorah on the back wall, and a chapel and crypt accessible by the alley.”
“Azkizu has one of the oldest Christian churches in Guipuzcoa, the Church of San Martín de Tours, noted for its Gothic masonry.” “Set on the Ría Urola, Zumaia developed around a 13th-century monastery, and was a frequent target for piracy in the Middle Ages. By the 16th Century, the town had 136 houses, 70 within the walls. Zumaia’s beaches are set on the longest continuous rock strata in the world, which is over 100 million years old. The Museo Zuloaga, former home of the Basque painter, Ignacio Zuloaga, includes pieces by Goya, El Greco, Zurburán (and of votes, Zuloaga). The 15th-century Church of San Pedro (Late Gothic) features a gargoyle-lined entrance and Juan de Antxieta’s Romanistic retablo.”
“Elorriaga is a small village founded in the 10th century. Hermitage of San Sebastián features a Romanesque baptismal pool.”
“The 16th-century Sanctuary of Nuestra Señora if Itziar preserves the image of the Virgin of Itziar – one of the Basque region’s most important- in its niche.”
“Founded in 1343 by Alfonso XI, Deba maintains its original layout. Like it’s neighbors, it’s past was devoted to whales and trade, while its present focuses on tourism. It’s Must See Church of Santa María is a National Monument and one of the region’s finest churches. The Gothic entrance is the highlight. Six apostles flank each side, while 38 angels, virgins and mattes adorn the frieze. The Annunciation, Visitation, Birth and Epiphany are narrated on the tympanum. The cloister is also a masterpiece designed to perfect proportions.”