Archives For Camino de Santiago

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I often get asked what sections that a pilgrim may want to bypass during their walk on the Camino del Norte. Although I don’t advise missing any of the Camino, the stretch west of Bilbao has kilometers of urban sprawl and pavement through the suburb of Cruces. You can also skip one morning climb if you stayed at the municipal albergue and two if you stayed downtown.

I left my last post, On the Camino del Norte in Bilbao, Spain, in well…. Bilbao, Spain. I arrived exhausted to the municipal albergue and was lucky to get one of the last beds. After a good dinner with fellow pilgrims, and some much-needed rest, I was off early with our small group.

The Camino was very quiet here as many pilgrims took the bus to Cruces, Portugalete, or even further. I walked the Camino and this first section was actually quite enjoyable….

Euskadi Bilbao camino del norte spain

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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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Although I was happy to be no longer climbing Monte Avril, the long first few days on the Camino del Norte, mostly in the heat, had really taken it’s toll. I was sick and felt like laying in the shade under a tree in the park that the Camino passed through as we began to descend into Bilbao. I kept going, as other members in my group weren’t feeling well either. Similar to other Camino cities, the municipal albergue was still a long walk away.

I left my last post, On the Camino del Norte, Lezama to Bilbao, Spain, overlooking Bilbao. If you’re tired or not feeling well, the climb along the Camino up Monte Avril can be bypassed by either walking along the lower main road or even taking a bus from one of the suburbs. Let’s continue into the city, one I had been looking forward to seeing.

monte avril Bilbao camino del norte spain

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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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After I left Albergue Eskerika in the village of Pepiena, I was greeted by a cute donkey in a field. Well, maybe it wasn’t a greeting, but she looked at me in an inquisitive way. If I only had an apple. I really enjoyed meeting many of the farm animals along the Camino and they helped brighten my days when I wasn’t feeling well!

I left my last post, On the Camino del Norte, Guernica to Pepiena, Spain, at Albergue Eskerika, about 8 kilometers and a steep climb west of Guernica. I had a pleasant sleep but it was very odd having an entire dorm with about 25 beds to myself. I hope more pilgrims utilize the albergue and keep the owner in business (it was open at the time of writing but always check prior to arriving).

Now, let’s visit the donkey. Good morning!

Pepiena donkey basque camino del norte

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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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In January of 1937, the Republican government, then mired in the Spanish Civil War against the Nationalists led by General Francisco Franco, commissioned renowned Spanish artist, Pablo Picasso, to paint a large mural to be displayed at the 1937 World’s Fair in Paris. Picasso, who had left Spain in 1934 and not returned, had toiled with different ideas for the mural, and abandoned his initial project when he heard of a significant Spanish and World history changing-event.

The 26th of April, 1937 was a market day in the Basque town of Guernica (Gernika in Basque and officially Gernika-Lumo) but this day would be like no other in its long history. At 16:30, air forces led by the Condor Legion of the German Luftwaffe with support from Mussolini’s Italian air legion, began an assault that would last three hours, and destroy or severely damage almost every building in Guernica. Although the number of dead has been debated for years, it is now accepted to be between 200 and 300 with many more being injured.

Why did the bombing of Guernica happen? From the perspective of Franco’s Spanish Nationalist government, it intended to demoralized and break the Basque people and the Republicans. It may be arguable, but Hitler and the military of Nazi Germany were not only looking to complete a favour for their ally, General Francisco Franco, but were looking for somewhere to “practice.” Hitler and the Nazis wanted to test and hone their new method of carpet bombing that would later be used in Russia and throughout Europe in World War II.

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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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There are pleasant surprises awaiting for you every day on the Camino de Santiago. They may be another pilgrim who you meet and bond with, even if it’s for a short while. It could be the landscape, a field of flowers, a friendly dog, a tasty meal, or an ancient landmark or building. It could be yourself, as you get stronger, and what would have been a difficult climb at an earlier point in your life or even your Camino, wasn’t so daunting now.

On this day, as I walked through the hills east of Gernika, the surprise was in the form of a ancient structure that I had no idea existed. It was one that without the nearby sign, you could pass by with barely noticing. I’m talking about the Puente Artzubi and we’ll get there very soon.

I left my last post, On the Camino Del Norte in Spain, Zenarruza to Berriondo, past Berriondo as we get closer to the town of Elexalde. Now, lets continue as we travel trough a mix of small communities and forest.

Berriondo Elexalde road basque camino del norte

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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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I left the albergue in Zenarruza still feeling tired and weak after a long, hard walk the previous day from Deba. I didn’t worry about awaking early and was out by 9 AM. Markina-Xemein was a memory now and I wanted to put the experience of almost getting robbed behind me. Still, I couldn’t help feeling uneasy for the days to come.

I left my last post, On the Camino Del Norte in Spain, Bolibar to Zenarruza, at the Colegiata de Zenarruza or Monasterio de Zenarruza. Now, let’s continue with the small town of Munitibar ahead. From Zenarruza, there is a good climb of about 75 meters before a steep drop to Munitibar.

Zenarruza basque Camino signpost norte

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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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