The hostel bar was open early, so we managed breakfast before we left, always a luxury on a camino. It is never any great shakes though, coffee and a pastry of some sort is all you will ever get. Although in a lot of bars you can get fresh squeezed orange, they did not have it here.
We had done some exploring the night before, but getting out of any big town is never easy. We followed the directions in the book and somehow ended up in allotments. Some guy took a break from his digging and pointed us at a footpath. So we thanked him and took it.
There were still no waymarkings though and whirly roads passing above and below only added to the confusion. I decided that instead of using the GPS to guide us I would check the mapping. There clearly marked (at this point anyway) was El Norte. It took some turns but we soon found ourselves on a long straight path that was not only in agreement with the GPS but had waymarkings on it as well.
We were soon joined by a Swiss lady, who had done this before and was now here with a bus party. It seems that one of her number was missing, so although light of pack and long of leg, she did not gain on us and we kept meeting up with her all day.
We spent a long time in woodland with some steep climbing then some steep steps down into a port area. This was Pasajes De San Juan, not the most friendly of places. We tried to get some refreshment, but had to make do with just a beer. The place was flooded with Germans, who were not loaded down with rucksack’s and had enough money to satisfy the bar owners.
From here we took a ferry across the estuary to Pasaja Donibane. We met a few pilgrims on the ferry who we were to meet up with more in the days to come. There were two (we think) German women and a couple who we christened long and short. She was strikingly beautiful and about five two or three, he was huge well over six-foot maybe six six. I decided that they must be eastern block, I was not far out as I found out later. He seemed to be carrying most of the gear and by the amount possibly camping.
We lost sight of them as we tried another bar. We ordered food, but were then told that all the tables were reserved. Not so easily put off I re arranged the outside furniture for our benefit. We saw several people come in find no tables and then leave again. It must be some sort of madness peculiar to this port, that they do not want custom, because when we left the reserved tables were still empty.
We climbed steeply up hill on the cliffs. It seems that this was the first of many splits in the camino, we had taken the scenic route but when we reached the summit we rejoined the road that was the other route. So we had done no more climbing, just done it in a shorter time.
After more coastal walking we finally hit the outskirts of San Sebastian. Time for a beer and some tortilla.
Further along the front we stopped to enquire at a Hostel 90e a night, too steep for pilgrims. You simply cannot afford to spend that every night for two months or more. We walked on.
I remembered we had stayed somewhere on the motorbike all those years ago so we went looking for the place. It looked a bit rich now, so we carried on. Now there is a peninsula here filled with seaside tat and cheap hotels and soon enough we found a pension. 35e a night and a 5e laundry service. We shared a bathroom but it was clean and everything worked fine. This place was so good for the price, it deserves a mention Pension Loinaz, Calle San Lorenzo 17.
I also remembered a cheap diner here somewhere. We filled up with bacon egg chips and beer, left quite stuffed.