On the Camino del Norte, Guernica to Pepiena, Spain

September 18, 2015 — 2 Comments
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It was getting late in the afternoon in the Basque town of Guernica and I had to make a decision. The main albergue was full and I had to choose if I wanted to stay at another that was “packed” with just a bed or two available, or climb the hill to another over 10 kilometers away. There was an albergue in the rural village of Pepiena, but if that was full, I could be in some trouble with a lack of daylight and energy. I’ll make a decision soon, but wait! Our visit to Guernica is not over yet!

I left my last post, On and Off the Camino del Norte in Guernica, Spain, at the Church of Santa Maria after a very touching and inspiring walk around this modern, historically important town. Here is one of the lesser know churches, the Iglesia y Convento de Santa Clara. I can’t seem to find any information online.

Guernica Church iglesia Santa Clara Gernika Bizkaia Basque Spain

 

 

Not far from the Biscayan Assembly House is the Park of the Peoples of Europe, which is also known as the Peace Park. Whether you’re visiting Guernica as a tourist or a pilgrim, you can’t miss it. Let’s take a look around…

Guernica Gernika Park parc Peoples Europe

 

 

You will find sculptures by World-renowned artists in the Park of the Peoples of Europe. This is Monument to the Martyrs of Oradour-sur-Glane by Fenosa. Oradour-sur-Glane is a village in France, known for its destruction and slaughter of most of its men, women, and children in 1944 by the German Waffen-SS.

Guernica park parc Monument Martyrs Oradour Glaneb Fenosa

 

 

Cast in bronze and installed in 1988, this is “Large Figure in Shelter” by Henry Moore. This was Mr. Moore’s last piece of work before he passed away.

Guernica Park parc Peoples Europe Henri Moore Large Figure sculpture

 

 

The Monument to Peace by the Basque sculptor Eduardo Chillida was commissioned by the Basque Government to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Bombing of Guernica. Mr. Chillida is well-known for his work and his sculptures can be found in many European cities including San Sebastián, Barcelona, Berlin, Paris, and Frankfurt. He even has a sculpture outside the Symphony Center in Dallas, Texas.

Guernica Park parc Peoples Europe Chillida sculpture

 

 

After the park, I decided to keep walking and was on my way with a good climb ahead. Good-bye Guernica. I had a wonderful, long-anticipated visit and hope to return one day.

Guernica Gernika Bizkaia Basque Spain espana

 

 

One of the many modern apartment buildings near the edge of the town.

Gernika Bizkaia Basque Spain espana apartment

 

 

The Camino quickly enters a rural area with a hill ahead that we soon have to climb.

Guernica Gernika Bizkaia Basque camino del norte

 

 

Although the trail is rough in many spots, it’s easy to follow.

Gernika espana Basque camino del norte

 

 

There was about 250 meters of elevation gain which was tiring late in the day, especially when I wasn’t feeling well.

Guernica Gernika path camino del norte

 

 

I don’t show any but the trail was popular with hikers and a few trail runners.

Guernica Gernika trail camino del norte

 

 

I’m not sure about ancient, but this is a very old bollard or Camino marker on the left.

Guernica bollard Basque camino del norte

 

 

We shall stay left here.

Gerekiz signpost camino del norte

 

 

Nearing the village of Gerekiz.

Gerekiz path camino del norte

 

 

Gerekiz road camino del norte

 

 

Under the highway in Gerekiz. With 2.2 kilometers left to the albergue, I was getting very tired.

Gerekiz tunnel camino del norte

 

 

Gerekiz bollard camino del norte

 

 

The tiny Ermita de San Esteban de Gerekiz.

San Esteban de Gerekiz camino del norte

 

 

San Esteban de Gerekiz camino basque espana

 

 

Finally, I made it to Pepiena. However, the Camino went left and there was a 250 meter walk to the albergue. Usually, I wouldn’t consider walking so far off the Camino unless there was a monument. In this case, being so late into the evening, I didn’t have a choice.

Gerekiz camino del norte

 

 

With the albergue just ahead, I really hoped there was a bed available…

Gerekiz basque camino del norte

 

 

Not only was there a bed available, I had the entire room to myself. The place was clean and the owner was very friendly.

Eskerika camino del norte alberque hostel

 

The Albergue Eskerika is 10.3 kilometers from Guernica and it is an alternative if you want a quiet place to stay. Just remember, there is a good climb out of Guernica and you certainly don’t want to arrive if the albergue is full or closed (check a current guide). Please join me on my next post, On the Camino del Norte, Pepiena to Lezama, Spain, as we continue walking in the hills west of Guernica on the way to another important Camino town, Bilbao.

If you have my book, Camino de Santiago In 20 Days, or have ordered it, I really appreciate your support. It’s also out on Kindle and Kobo. My Goodreads and Amazon pages have reviews and more information. Please share this post, and thanks for your time.




About Randall St. Germain

Randall St. Germain, author of Camino de Santiago In 20 Days, is a middle-aged Canadian Boy who is passionate about nature, photography, hiking, music, and self-improvement. After the death of his mother, he chose to walk the famous pilgrimage, the Camino de Santiago, across the north of Spain, despite knowing little about it. He certainly didn’t plan to write a book until the latter days of his Camino. Similar to walking the Camino, writing and publishing a book was a learning experience. It was also very rewarding, and part of his ongoing journey. Please join him as he takes you along on his journey in Camino de Santiago In 20 Days, and on his blog Camino My Way.

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2 responses to On the Camino del Norte, Guernica to Pepiena, Spain

  1. I’m trying to get a good guidebook (English, preferably!) for the Camino del Norte, but there aren’t many options… which did you use? Thanks! I’ve followed your way from Irun to Lezama, and am hoping you walk us through the rest of the way!

  2. Hi Virginia. There were probably less options when I walked. I took photocopies of the Confraternity of Saint James guidebooks. They don’t have maps so I printed maps and elevation profiles from another website. They were not very good so I won’t recommend them. Since then, I found the Eroski Camino website which is very good http://caminodesantiago.consumer.es/ Elevation profiles are very important on the del Norte and I would recommend taking these or another that show the finer changes. There is a guidebook that many of the Germans were carrying. It showed the “modern” Camino also that was usually bypassing difficult sections or walking through more scenic areas. As for guidebooks, it depends how much info you need. I don’t need every detail beforehand as I like to “discover” much of the Camino for myself. When I walked, there was a current albergue guide at the San Sebastian municipal albergue that I carried for the entire walk. They also had various publications to purchase. That was a few years ago. I hope this helps. Please contact me for anymore info. As for my website, I may be stopping at Lezama. I have trouble keeping up here right now. I wish you a safe and pleasant walk. Buen Camino 🙂

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