This was our day 7 of Camino del Norte when we hiked through the mountains from the village of Mutriku to Markina Xemein.
That night was a hell, it was raining almost all the night and the morning and we slept only for a couple of hours. So we woke up very late at 9 am and then all day long we were feeling sleepy.
We finally found the camping gas that we needed so badly already while we were paying for the night at the reception.
We came down to the village Mutriku to go to the tourist office for the stamp and decided not to buy any food to go lightweight cause we knew we had to do 20 plus kms that day.
We had a dillema in front of us. As we realized that the Camino wasn’t going along the ocean coast and was going away from it in the mountains but we planned our route and the camping spots to stay in close to the coast. And now had to decide whether to follow our plans but go on the unknown car road or follow the Camino and stay in the hostels or stealth camping. Because there wasn’t any camping sites in that places to our dissapointment all the way to Bilbao. And that would take us around 3 days to accomplish.
And so hesitating which way to go we took the Camino and realized that it goes in different direction from the car road so we have no chance to check whether it was possible to walk there.
But soon we were glad with our decision to take the Camino. We walked through the beautiful rural areas which looked like the eco farms with peaceful pastures and green eternal meadows. Mountains were everywhere and we met a lot of natural springs on our way that day. It was reminiscent to our home in the mountains and the route was very similar to the ones we take regularly while living in Eastern Pyrenees.
The route was constantly going up and down giving the scenic views over the mountain peaks and the ocean mingling between the mountain ranges. The roads were quite dirty and slippery after the rainy days in some places so we had to walk carefully and watch the step.
All that distance you pass by the farm houses, pastures and couple of restaurants and only at the end of the day you get to the city. So it’s important to keep in mind that this day is quite long and challenging.
The first uphill was the hardest though the rest of the way was quite gentle except for the entrance way to the city – that downhill was an absolute killer.
We met the first bike pilgrims that were carring their bikes uphill but we must say it is a difficult trail if doing it by bike. Overall we met less pilgrims than the previous days.
The weather was great that day sunny and warm with the clouds passing by and most of the route was going through the forest so walking was an absolute pleasure. But still at the end of the day we felt like we did too many kms from the soreness in the muscles and overall fatigue but for the most part it was because we didn’t slept well the night before.
So we got to the Markina Xemein city quite late at 7pm so we were rushing to buy some food and then to find a place to camp. We knew that all the places in hostels would be occupied so not to lose any time we headed out of the city searching for some dirt road to lead us to the field or the forest. Finally we found a place above the highway on the meadow close to the forest and almost at complete dark were ready to go to sleep.
We understood that every day we can’t do the same kind of distance for the long time. If not we would be fired up and couldn’t continue our way. And as we didn’t want to stop our Camino we decided to slow it down whenever it’s possible. And also try to start hike early to come to the places earlier so that we have more time to recover. So with all these thoughts we were falling asleep.
Here is the link to Google map to follow the hike: