Camino Day 1: Irun to San Sebastián 

So, there’s that classic “journey of a thousand miles” bit, but Mikey’s just doing 500. Still appropriate?

 
Anyways, he got started at 6:03am local time and it was 17*C/63*F. While he almost considered a jacket, the uphill climb left him soaking wet in just short sleeves. But, we’re getting ahead of ourselves. 

 

On the way out of Irún, Mikey filled his water bottles and made the obligatory coffee stop. However, as it was 6am, he was stuck with vending machine joe. Hey, don’t knock it – in a pinch…

 

Now, the weird part was this bread machine that apparently shoots out a full loaf of French Bread for 1€. SO TEMPTING! But alas, we’ll never know. 

 

The path was rather varied today. It began with a gradual ascent through farmland before turning into an all out mountain climb in the woods. The “stair master ” part was next, leading Mikey to believe that he had flown halfway across the world to spend the day at the gym. Yes, it’s a gym with the best damn view you’ve ever seen, but what a workout!

 

Speaking of views, the early farmland part of today’s hike featured a scattering of Basque houses like this. Of particular note concerning style, they are all white washed with red terra-cotta roofs and Tudor-like wooden-beam accents. (Oh, and the Basques love flowers!)

​​And who doesn’t melt over cute farm animals?! Yeah, these little beasts were great. 

Insofar as beasts go, Mikey found the best present ever for his niece, Abby Dean:

 
For those who have not yet had the pleasure, Abby is an adorable German Shepherd who protects her parents from nefarious visitors like the postman, meter reader, and Uncle Mikey. (Again we digress.)

 
Another common feature in the Basque Country is the family millstone. While these were once used to mill grain on the property, they now serve a more ornamental role next to the driveway. I mean, with bread vending machines and all …

 
There does remain an original 16th century boat manufacturer that Mikey stumbled upon today. According to the guy at the ticket office (yeah, they wanted to charge pilgrims and other hikers to look inside), they have been making boats there for over 450 years. (There’s a joke about job security somewhere in here, but we’ll spare the reader – for now.)

 

Oh, speaking of boats:;​​

​Mikey took the shortest ferry of his life today! He paid 0.70€ ($0.75), but y’all get the full show for free!

 

After hiking up those stairs you saw in the above collage, this was the view:

Pretty, right? 

 
Yeah, but this was just around the next bend. But, by about this time, Mikey caught up with a school group. 

 

​​​
Nice chaperones, but the kids reminded him of something akin to Sound of Music gone haywire. Still, Mikey managed to trudge on through the forest. 

 

​And you guessed it – Mikey walked over the same bridge as those little twerps! (Don’t worry, Mom, it would have been only a 400ft drop.)

 

He even caught a glimpse of San Sebastián’s beach from afar before hiking down into the city. 

 
Oh, and the welcoming committee was there at the outskirts of the city. No matter, we got to San Sebastián!! 

But…
Ok, let’s be honest here – the whole Catholic alterboy thing has gotten weird. OK? So, that said, Mikey got REALLY creeped out today when visiting a church:

 

Yeah, this is a life-sized statue of an alterboy that is hollowed out like a piggy-bank so that parishioners can drop coins into both his box and him. Of that’s not weird enough, check out the most passive-agressive sign behind him. Hello, Catholic guilt and weirdness!! 

 
Well, not guilt-ridden about this:

 
he tried some local beers: 6 six ounce pours for 4.20€. Maybe the Infinite Monkey Theorem is correct after all. (5hrs and Mikey found great craft beer!)

The rest of the evening proceeded as per a normal Friday night in San Sebastián: namely, dinner was of a progressive nature as Mikey trolled the “Old Part” of San Sebastián looking for the choicest pintxos in town. Below are some of the platess:

 

Blood Sausage and Baby Eels with Prosciutto and Egg. 
Sardines with Relish. 
A typical spread at each bar. 
Well, that about wraps it up for San Sebastián. Walking to a smaller town tomorrow, so let’s chat then!