Camino Day 3: Getaria to Deba

Following a mostly restless night, Mikey was happy to get on the trail this morning. Although early departures have thus far resulted in more free time in the afternoon to explore, he’s identified two major drawbacks to this strategy. 1) There are no cafés open at 6am, so this means no morning coffee. 2) It’s harder to see the trail markers before sunrise. Almost took a wrong turn 20m from the albergue this morning!

Still, the fog remained a bit thick in the mountains for most of the morning, so he was more vigilant today.

While most of the early stage was through farmland and meadows, there were some pretty cool eucalyptus forests.


And LOTS of vineyards today.


Then, out of nowhere the town of Zumaia appeared.


Naturally, that meant selfie time.


Zumaia is a picturesque fishing town that sports a church began in the 13th century.


The Church of Saint Peter is massive and sits atop the highest part of the town. One can only imagine how much more impressive it must have looked before the surrounding buildings grew to more than a medieval max of two stories.
The path out of town was straight uphil for almost 25 minutes.
But, Mikey stopped a few times to admire fauna and flora. (Just don’t tell him that Mikey feasted on a plateful of his cousins last night!)


A whole section of the trail led through a wooded area of a private farm. It was kind of strange letting oneself through a gate onto someone’s property. But, Mikey discovered why closing the gates was important:

​OK, seriously want to take this hungry guy home with me! Wait, I can only imagine what he’d do to the furniture…never-mind.
Here’s another shot of one of the vistas. Note the vineyard in the foreground.


Built in the 16th century, the Church of Saint Mary of Itziar is situated on top of an ancient Roman temple. Take that, you pagans!


While they have literally raised the roof a few times to accommodate a growing altarpiece, many of the fixtures are original. Note the ever present model ship hanging grom the ceiling.


Outside in the church courtyard is a curious 900kg stone. During the village’s annual festival, farmers bring their best oxen and have a stone dragging competition. Peculiar bragging rights, indeed, but it’s a tradition that has remained for as long as the village.

At long last, we descended into the town of Deba. Once the heart of the Basque whaling industry, the town also grew rich by exporting untaxed Spanish goods to Flanders and England.

This 15th century late-Romanesque church is pretty ordinary from the outside.
But, the statues of the apostles at the entrance to Saint Mary’s demonstrate the parish’s wealth and regional prestige.


Upon entering the church, one is immediately dwarfed by the massive columns and high, vaulted ceiling.


Even the hymnals were huge! (Actually, this was a medieval tactic of making them large enough for the whole choir to share one book. Hey, I mean you gotta be creative in a pre-Gutenberg world!


As pretty as the church interior was, Mikey has found that the Spanish – and especially the Basques – live most of their lives out of doors. From sipping a glass of wine at a restaurant in the town square to taking an afternoon stroll in the park, this behavior is common to yound and old alike.


Seriously, with beautiful beaches like this, why would you stay inside? Hmm…on that note, please excuse me – Mikey’s going to walk on the beach! We’ll chat more later.

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