We left Deba around 7 a.m. on Tuesday. Our trek took us up two intense climbs and down a long and often steep descent into Markina – Xemein.
It was a fabulous hiking day with beautiful weather, spectacular views, and all the challenges promised by the elevation gain. In all, we walked 16 miles in 8.75 hours with 3,098 feet elevation gain. Whew! Be sure to take a look at Barry’s Relive video (here or below) if you’d like to see a reconstruction of the route we walked.
The most memorable part of the day was not the breathtaking views or the sense of accomplishment that came with completing a difficult hike. It was Albergue Intxauspe, where hospitalero Joaquín offered the warmest of welcomes, and our community of about a dozen pilgrims gathered together for dinner.
There were German and Spanish pilgrims who started with us at the albergue in Irun, a Mexican couple we met on our first day and have crossed paths with several times since. There was also Yolanda, a young Basque woman hiking from San Sebastián to her home in Bilbao and who we walked into Markina with. And two Australian women – Ellen and Ginny – who we met for the first time.
For dinner, Joaquín served a freshly prepared and delicious dinner accompanied by water and wine (vegetarian diet graciously accommodated). We talked and laughed in multiple languages and with multiple conversations going at once. Couldn’t have asked for a better end to a lovely day or an evening more in the spirit of the Camino.