Cycling the Atlantic coast of Europe from north to south during the summer of 2017. View the archive, the route so far, or donate to MSF.

Camino

By Stuart Lowe on

I had breakfast thanks to the kind French lady I met at the hostel last night. It was nice to have a high calorie pastry and an espresso. She told me she was visiting San Juan de Gaztelugatxe which she had wanted to do for years but was worried it was going to be very busy as it had been in a recent season of Game Of Thrones.

I visited the little supermarket in Mundaka to get supplies. I need to make the best of my budget now that accommodation is more expensive.

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Bermeo

To start my morning I was given a 300+ metre hill to climb in the hot sun. At the top I saw the island the French lady had mentioned.

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San Juan de Gaztelugatxe from up high

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San Juan de Gaztelugatxe

Although I hadn't planned to - and didn't even know about it until this morning - I decided I would detour to visit. It certainly was popular. It took a while to climb down mostly because of the slow crowds. But it was good to visit and I even rang the church bell.

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San Juan de Gaztelugatxe

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The coast to come

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Cross

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The steps to San Juan de Gaztelugatxe

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Northern coast of Spain

After climbing back up I got back on my bike and headed down to Bakio where I stopped to have lunch by the beach. Lunch consisted of baguette, jambon cru, and some cake I'd bought earlier. There appeared to be some kind of surfing event or competition going on.

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Bakio beach

After fuelling up in the shade, I began the climb up the next hill. It waa hard going in the heat of the sun. Thankfully I was able to frequently refill my water bottles at the regular water points; the Camino de Santiago route provides well for the walkers.

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Looking back to Bakio as I head uphill again.

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Heading round towards Getxo.

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Getxo

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Bilbao port

When I had originally planned my route, back at home, I had been worried about navigating Bilbao. Yesterday I realised there was a Transporter Bridge that would save me going into Bilbao. Thanks to a couple of people on Twitter, I'd found out it ran regularly and should be inexpensive. The Transporter Bridge was really good value. It was only 70 cents to cross with a bike. It is fast and leaves every 8 minutes.

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The Transporter Bridge at Getxo

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Transporter Bridge vertical panorama

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Excellent bike lanes (and separate footpath) north west of Bilbao.

I have had trouble finding non-extortionate camping sites. They are getting more expensive as I go along the coast.

In PobeƱa I stopped to look at my phone to track down a site. A Spanish couple gestured to my left and said albergue.

So, thanks to a lack of any affordable options 20-30 km further on, I finished today much earlier than normal.

The price at the albergue is by donation. That helps my stretched budget.

It seems I caused confusion at the Albergue. You can only use the albergue if you have a Camino passport. The nice people sorted me out with one.

I now have to get it stamped every day. But apparently that can be done in shops and pubs as well as albergues.