Backpacking,  Camino del Norte,  Camping,  Hiking in Europe

First meeting with the ocean and getting the pilgrim credentials in Irún | Day 3 of Camino del Norte

That day started on another beautiful sunny and warm morning on the coast. When we started walking the first thing we saw was the spectacular beach with the rocks in the water that in the morning light looked even greater. The waves were crushing into the shore creating lots of foam and it was truly mesmerizing.

We were learning more and more about ocean and getting to know it better and better. We haven’t seen such kind of waves before and now we were definitely realizing that it was something bigger and stronger than a sea. There were lots of surfers enjoying this kind of weather.

We walked into the French border city of Hendaye and did a huge round because of the big bay of water that mostly is formed by the river and some port facilities. There is even the bird life that is frequently seen in the ponds and rivers like the herons and ducks.

We walked along the city in the peaceful route by the water and got to the bridge where the actual border is. So we crossed the border and got into the city of Irun from the Spanish side and that’s where we started seeing the indicators of the official Camino del Norte that we are taking.

We were having a plan of getting into city and doing lots of things like going in the bank, buying groceries, printing some documents etc. But the most important thing that happened was receiving the pilgrim credentials.

The couple that was from South Korea helped us to get them because it was a siesta time and the church was closed so they had to knock on doors of the building nearby for the Padre to came out. He was very kind and gave us several papers to fill out with identification information and wished us a good luck in completing the Camino. From now on we have the official proof of going through all the stages of the Way.

When we were done in the city we finally started to get out of it and it wasn’t very fast until the route started to go between the field lands. The weather was super hot and it was kind of annoying to walk uphill on the road with cars (even though it wasn’t very busy) but in addition to all of that my right knee started to hurt, throwback to childhood trauma, the timing couldn’t be worse. Cause we still had to walk 9 km as planned.

Finally we got out of pavement and walked into the forest. Here we decided to get away from official Camino del Norte trail and hike along the ocean side. Because we wanted to get some epic ocean views and enjoy the scenery that we are here for and the weather was very favorable with no wind. And we were a bit tired from pavement routes with cars and wanted to get away from it.

In order to do so we had to go quite a steep downhill to get to the shore and then the route started twisting along the water. Soon we realized that this Way is much longer and harder than the official one and this way we won’t get to our destination as planned. But we didn’t regret it at all because of the stunning scenery, the nature at all its best and we even met the horses pasturing and that made it even more special. So it was 100 percent worth it. And we got our first real uphills and downhills and really put into test our backpacks set up and overall the physical form.

At the end of the day we knew we are going to be stealth camping and had to search for the spot. It was very challenging because the ground was very uneven and covered with needle bushes and hard strong grass.

Finally we found the spot in the trees probably flattened out by horses pasturing(thank you horses) without any vegetation and covered in dry pine needles. It was close to some dirt road which we were afraid of the people and even cars passing by but we were good camouflaged surrounded by forest and our tent is grey so you’ll never see it from the side in the dark.

So we decided to cook and have dinner first and then start to set up a tent in the dusk. And we did so accompanied by another beautiful sunset and the red sun dissapearing in the water painting everything around in beautiful colors.

Here is the link to Google map to follow the hike:

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