My second greatest decision ever was to sign up for a guided hike along the Camino de Santiago, also known as the Way of St. James. This is a pilgrimage that can begin in Portugal, Spain, or France, with several paths within each starting country, and ends in the town of Santiago de Compostela. Our guide told us the pilgrimage takes anywhere from a few weeks to a few months depending on the pilgrim’s starting point and pace.
The French Way is the most popular, but we walked along the Northern Way, which runs from Irún (in France) to Santiago de Compostela, with stops in, where else, San Sebastián, Bilbao and smaller towns. We actually walked the camino backwards (towards Irún) and then deviated slightly to hike down into the inlet town of Pasaia to get a light lunch and a bus back into town.
Our guide (the indefatigable Tomasz once again, who told us that he’s pretty much a one-man show for tours in San Sebastián) said that the Northern Way is not as straightforward as it goes along the coast, thus, the hiking is harder. Let me be the first to tell you that my legs definitely felt that by the end.
We ended up hiking about 6km high up on the cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. It was gorgeous and slightly terrifying at times. But worth it.