I apologize that I don’t have many photos of Markina-Xemein, but I had a rather unsettling experience as I entered the Basque town. The first three days on the Camino del Norte had already worn me down, and I was sick and very tired. All I could think of was finding a bed for the night.
While walking alone besides a farm just before the town, I was approached by a very large man (I don’t mean tall) who came right into my face. He demanded money and my phone. He wasn’t armed that I could tell, and although I was in shock, I said no and started walking away. He then got right in my face again, so I yelled and the farmer up the road looked our way. The would-be thief then went along the path toward the town. I didn’t want to go backwards so I cautiously went ahead, hoping he had disappeared. Instead, he was waiting around the curve and walked toward me again. This time, I picked up my speed to a jog, got around him, and even with my backpack on, the burley thief could not keep up. I kept checking back, but was lucky he quit following me. Or so I hoped…
I left my last post, On the Camino Del Norte in Spain, Olatz to Markina-Xemein, just before this spot. The aforementioned incident took place below the farmhouse.
When I reached the downtown, I told a resident who spoke English about the incident and she promised that she would report it to the police. Markina was having a festival, and she said that he was likely a gypsy. I don’t know if the man who had confronted me was a gypsy and wasn’t about to find out. I grabbed some energy food, filled up my water, and headed out of town. This was the only photo I took in Markina. I believe it is the town hall.
Leaving Markina was through a park that was very quiet in the late afternoon.
What? “You’ll never walk alone!” What does that mean? After what had happened earlier, I was unnerved when I saw this writing on the wall of the dark tunnel that travels under the highway. I walked as fast as I could to the other side! I hope the writing is covered up by now.
After the tunnel, there is a long walk along the highway, BI-2224. Thankfully, the shoulder is wide enough here, but please always be careful of cars. As I mentioned, I was getting sick and would be doubled over at times trying to recuperate. I was stopped on three occasions by nice people seeing if I wanted a ride. I declined but was grateful for their concern.
After a couple of kilometers or so of flat walking along the highway, the Camino follows along this path with a park on the right and an industrial area on the left.
This is the village of Iruzubieta where I finally took a much-needed break. Again, a resident was concerned for me but I mentioned I was okay.
Time to start climbing along this pleasant path.
The town of Bolibar is somewhere on top of the hill in the center. I wasn’t looking forward to the climb!
After a good, tiring climb, the home we saw from the bottom of the hill was just ahead.
By now, it was late in the day and Bolibar was very quiet. I enjoyed these fences with the shell on the Camino Francés and was glad to see them again.
Bolibar as a settlement has origins to the 11th century. In recent years, it was part of Markina-Xemein, but became independent in 2004.
I’m not sure who this monument is for.
This is the monument for famed Venezuelan, Simón Bolívar, also know as the “Liberator.” Interesting that this is in Spain, because Mr. Bolívar is noted in history for his work in establishing Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru and Colombia as sovereign states and independent of Spanish rule. I would presume a local government that supports Basque independence erected this monument.
At this point in the late evening, I was getting concerned because there wasn’t a place to stay in Bolibar, and I didn’t know of one close by. I was now dead tired from the long day and all the energy I had expelled leaving Markina. Thankfully, shelter was not far ahead in a very interesting area of Zenarruza. By the way, I hope I didn’t alarm anyone as I’m sure my incident at the beginning of this post was isolated. It was the only time during my Camino del Norte or Camino Francés that I was concerned for my safety. It certainly could have been worse. It’s always a good idea to be alert and aware of your surroundings. Please join me on my next post, On the Camino Del Norte in Spain, Bolibar to Zenarruza, as we visit Zenarruza, on the way to another town that I had long anticipated, Gernika.
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