Began today at the hostel (albergue) outside Hondarriba. Decent breakfast. but didn’t need to eat it at 630, which is when I got up. Note to travellers: make sure you set your clocks to the right timezone when visiting another country. Two older Irish brothers (of the familial type, not religious) set their clock the wrong way and got up at 5 instead of 7. They were quite quiet, but I still woke up. More sleep, but not a long, solid stretch. Tired and sore today, so hopefully better sleep!
Today was long, and hard. FitBit says 18 miles. I set out with the Irish chap we had met near the train station in I run. We left before the sun broke over the horizon, but when it was still plenty light. The first 600m were mostly very steep and took way longer than I expected. The church at the top was very beautiful and it was lovely to stop in for a moment of quiet and prayer. I love how churches mostly have a similar smell. Very familiar and comforting.
Fitting to stop in at a church before heading to purgatory! No joke, that is what a sign said as it pointed up the trail we were to take. We headed up anyway, as that was our original plan. It was the recommended route as it went well up the mountain and skirted the ridge line, offering awesome views of the ocean and the cities we had seen yesterday. It was beautiful, but also very strenuous. Lots of animals along the way- cows, horses, sheep. We had to keep climbing over or around animal gates as we passed from pasture to pasture.
The weather was cool and damp from the sea. At some point the fog started rolling in, which was nice and refreshing. The sun came out again – or we walked out of the fog bank – as we descended into Pasajes San Juan. Cute town (originally 2 towns now joined) with a river running through that we crossed on a small boat for 70 cents. We then grabbed lunch as at little shop not 2 minutes before it closed for siesta!
Heading out of town we came to steps. Lots of steps. Up to the top of the mountain! Surprisingly, we ran into T, the Australian child from yesterday. As a triad, we continued into San Sebastian, a beautiful beach town. And, if you’ll remember from above, we had headed up some very steep steps, so we were well above sea level and needed to somehow descend again. Yay, more steps!! And some pretty steep hillsides. Praise God I got trekking poles yesterday!! They probably helped save me from eating dirt or hurting an ankle at least 10 times already.
San Sebastian ended up being quite crowded. I would guess that nearly a mile from the pedometer was us trying to find an inexpensive hostel or something. We ended up at a nice pension for 17€ pp. A room for the 4 of us and bathrooms down the hall. Nice place, and at least 8€ cheaper than other, not so nice places.
We wandered around looking for inexpensive food and settled on a kebab place. I had falafel- yum!
Distance today: about 18 miles
Costs: food 9€ (supermarket and falafel), lodging – 17€, total- 26€