Camino Day 4: Deba to Markina-Xemein

According to the Eroski “Northern Camino Guide” (Eroski is like a Basque Super Target), today’s trek is one of if not the hardest of the entire Northern Camino. As the blisters and calluses have begun, Mikey took an afternoon nap after the beach yesterday and got up extra early this morning. 

 

Oh, and that weird sound he couldn’t place during the night? Rain. A lot of rain. Ergo, he bundled up as best he could and hit the road before first light. Forgive us, but perhaps this explains the absence of many pictures taken today. (In fact, for several hours, the visibility was only about 30ft.)

 

First picture of the day (illuminated by headlamp.) We exited Deba and began an all out climb through a forest, slogging in the mud, and getting soaked from both rain and wet vegetation that crowded the narrow path. Thinking that the rain would dissipate, Mikey stubbornly refused to put on a rain jacket. Dork. 

  

So there was a pretty neat hermitage and lots of ascents and descents in the rain. Mikey has decided that his “spirit animal” for today must be a salmon. I mean, it was a constant upstream struggle and he might as well have been in a river – nothing stayed dry! 

 

After a few hours of rain, it finally stopped and Mikey took out his camera to capture this:

 

It never fails to amaze how truly isolated and beautiful the Basque countryside is. Just imagine living in this house, perched high above a magnificently green valley. 

  
Oh, and you’re right around the corner from the Basque JL – Bovine chapter. OK, that’s a joke, but Mikey did feel like he was interrupting a pretty serious meeting. 

 

Following an all day walk through the woods, this was the first sight of civilization in over 17 miles. Sure, there were a handful of houses and a couple of potable springs to refill water bottles, but food and any other necessities had to be pre-purchased and carried today. 

  

So, after a day of subsisting on granola bars, Mikey met up with two Irish pilgrims for a seafood feast. The 10€ Pilgrim’s Menu consisted of sopa de mariscos y bacalao with vino blanco y pan (seafood soup and cod with white wine and bread.) Oh, and ice cream for dessert.

 

This is the seafood soup. It had clams, octopus, and fish in a broth that had clearly been simmering all day to perfection. What you probably can’t see is how big The portion is. Just look in the background – that’s a full-sized bread basket. (Mikey had three helpings from his cauldron!) Unfortunately, good conversation and hunger outweighed photographic diligence and that’s the only picture we have to prove an amazing meal. 

 

Well, time to check on laundry and head to bed. Tomorrow we walk to Gernika, the site of the massacre depicted in Picasso’s opus magnum of the same name. 

 

As the Basques would say, Gau ona! (Goodnight!)