June 10: Gernika to Lezama 39,432 steps
The plan was to start early again today to avoid the heat and humidity, however the best laid plans can go awry. First a few alarms didn't go off as scheduled causing a rush of excitement, then the path out of town wasn't clearly marked so the group spent several minutes walking in circles looking for the famous yellow arrow. Unfortunately, by the time we got our acts together it was already pushing eight o'clock. But this group is tough -- no breakfast again in a restaurant, just the usual "in the room banana, water and bread" and off we go. This time Frankie was joining us while Angela took on her assignment very seriously of "duffel bag delivery to next hotel girl" Depending on how things went at the other end, she may walk the Camino backwards and join us on the trail.
Within a few meters of finding the right arrow we spotted a paneria -- a cup of coffee con leche was in sight!!!!!
Now to the walk: After yesterday's grueling day, anything would seem easier, but while the day's heat hadn't hit yet, the incline of the road did. Up and up an gravel pathway at about a 25% incline seemed to go on forever. There were a few bends in the road, so one began to think that the end was near, only to find another hundred meters of stone and dirt facing them. Up and up, sweat pouring out of every pore, heads bent to avoid looking too far ahead -- the pilgrims pushed on. I have no idea how the early pilgrims did it barefoot or in sandals! The town of Besanguiz and Morga Pass were never seen -- well, they were there but only one house each, so we missed both. Coming out of the woods at a T in the road, we realized that we were in Puerto de Arechavalgane, but again, no sign of a town. By this time Jan, Michele, and Nancy were about an hour ahead of Mary, Frankie and me. Reason: Frankie and I got talking and walking -- a dangerous combination -- and walked right pass the turn off going about an half hour out of our way. Mary ran back to get us. As if this Camino isn't hard enough -- now we are adding miles just to enjoy the art of discussion!!
Down the road to Goikologea and then on to Larrabezua following the main state highway all the way. As we approached Larrabezua we could see a town festival happening. Everyone was having such a great time, it was too bad that we still had 5 kilometers -- tipping a few with the locals would have been fun.
Onward and upward, then slightly down all along the state road trudged the weary three. Finally the town of Lezama appeared on the horizon -- our hotel tonight a beautiful quaint village in built outside of town into the countryside. The name is Maseo Rural -- which of course suggests its location.
A shower, a rest, some dinner, and then to bed -- tomorrow comes fast in a land where the sun doesn't set until after 10pm!
Dancers at the Festival