On the Camino Del Norte in Spain, Olatz to Markina-Xemein

March 22, 2015 — 6 Comments
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As I continued to walk the Camino del Norte from Olatz, I realized that I was getting progressively weaker during the hot Summer afternoon. The steep climb and heat zapped my energy. My periods of walking were getting shorter and my breaks longer. At one point, I laid on a nice, soft patch of grass under shade in the forest. Many pilgrims stopped to see if I was okay, and it was here I befriended an Italian pilgrim. Although he was much older than I was, he was also among the pilgrims in the best shape that I had seen. We would walk together at times over the days ahead.

I left my last post, On the Camino Del Norte in Spain, Ermita del Calvario to Olatz, outside the bar in Olatz. Now, let’s continue as the Camino leaves Olatz with about 300 meters of sometimes steep climbing ahead. Please make sure you carry water past Olatz, as when I walked, there was only one drinkable fountain along the way.

Olatz road Camino del Norte Gipuzkoa

 

We’ll go left here. Not quite sure if “Isasi-Mendi” refers to a village.

Olatz sign post Camino del Norte Gipuzkoa

 

Although I was very tired, I enjoyed the walk through the forest.

Olatz road Camino del Norte Basque

 

 

Olatz path Camino del Norte Basque

 

 

Path Olatz Camino del Norte Basque

 

 

 There were many roads and trails but the Camino del Norte is well-marked and easy to follow!

Olatz sign post Camino del Norte Basque

 

 

 Climbing past another homestead…

Olatz farm Camino del Norte Basque

 

 

 A fine view over the farm and countryside.

Olatz farm home Camino del Norte Basque

 

 

Olatz sign Camino del Norte Basque

 

 

On days like this when I wasn’t feeling well, I would take advantage of any available shade for a break. There were long stretches in the open later on the del Norte, and I welcomed the shade from every tree.

Markina road Camino del Norte Basque

 

 

Olatz Markina sign Camino del Norte Basque

 

 

Off the road onto another path through a young pine forest.

Olatz Markina roads Camino del Norte Basque

 

 

 A Basque house in the forest. There were tiny communities in this area; some that were long abandoned.

Markina farmhouse Camino del Norte Basque

 

 

Markina path Camino del Norte Basque

 

 

 Looking back.

Markina house trees Camino del Norte Basque

 

 

Pilgrims were much fewer than on the Camino Francés.

Markina road Camino del Norte Gipuzkoa

 

 

 Starting to descend gradually into Markina.

Markina road forest Camino del Norte Basque

 

 

I remember this dog crawling through a hole in the fence to greet me. Initially, I was startled , but thankfully, this guy or gal was very friendly.

Markina dog Camino del Norte Gipuzkoa

 

 

Markina road path Camino del Norte Gipuzkoa

 

 

Okay, maybe the climbing wasn’t over…

Markina hillside Camino del Norte Gipuzkoa

 

 

 I hope someone didn’t get to Markina and realize they were missing a shoe.

Markina signpost shoe Camino del Norte

 

 

One path that I would not want to walk on when it’s wet!

Markina path Camino del Norte

 

 

The final descent into Markina-Xemein was along the country road ahead.

Markina farm road Camino del Norte

 

I’ll leave my post on the outskirts of Markina-Xemein where I arrived in the late afternoon. I didn’t know at this point that, but just ahead, would be a very unsettling experience. Please join me on my next post, On the Camino Del Norte in Spain, Markina-Xemein to Bolibar, for more.

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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6 responses to On the Camino Del Norte in Spain, Olatz to Markina-Xemein

  1. Hi, Randall
    Have really been enjoying your posts. I plan to start at Irun next month, walk for 9 days and then find my way back to Biarritz to return home. I will be looking for bus service to get back but when I checked into the ALSA (bus company) website, it doesn’t show any service to Irun beyond Bilbao. Can you suggest any alternative?
    Mel

    • Sorry Mel. I can’t help much. I walked all the way to Santiago so it wasn’t a consideration. I’m sure there is a long, indirect service somehow. A taxi is another option. It’s always difficult stopping anywhere in the middle of the Camino, especially in the smaller communities, and having to return to your starting point. I wish you all the best. Buen Camino 🙂

  2. When are we going to see the next installment of the Camino Norte and find out what the unsettling experience was. I will be walking the Norte in September of this year. Thanks, enjoying the posts.
    Andy

    • Andy, I am very sorry. I have hit a busy time in my life so I haven’t published any blog posts lately. My next post should be published this weekend and will feature a castle in France. I’m also rewriting an early Camino Francés post with new photos. The del Norte is always on my mind and I had hoped to get further along by now. Just lots going on currently that I have to concentrate on. Please keep checking back, as I value your viewing and input. Buen Camino 🙂

  3. We hiked the Camino in October 2015 starting in San Sebastian and had a similar experience on this leg of the journey. The hike from Deba to Markina was very desolate and lacking in services, so it’s good that you emphasize the need for water. Very true! Also, the day before, we had to walk about 21 miles (Orio to Deba) because the albergue in Zumaia was closed and the hostel was full. We weren’t expecting to walk that many miles and weren’t conditioned for it yet, especially given how challenging the Basque Country terrain is, and so that long walk left us wiped out. So even though it was beautiful, we were both pretty miserable on the hike to Markina. Fortunately, the walk got better in the days and weeks to come, and we made it to Santiago!

    Thanks for the ample pictures of each leg of the hike. We didn’t take as many pictures, and so it’s lovely to look through your photos and remember our challenging but wonderful journey.

  4. You’re welcome. I remember the heat that you wouldn’t have noticed in October. Thankfully, I started to feel better. I had a few unhappy days too early on. I am slow with the del Norte on this blog but hope to go at a quicker pace soon. I have a long ways to go with many photos. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

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