A beautiful blue sky welcomes us on our way. Gernika is mainly a modern city of course, but we walk out past the Gothic cathedral and older houses and squares. Then up a steep hill into the woods with glimpses out into the mountains. Today I'm walking with the my two German friends, Claudia and Julie and we then catch up with the Frenchman from Casa Rural in Markina-Xemein.
The sun is hot and it's definitely sun tan lotion weather. The terrain has several steep climbs and is very muddy and slippery in parts from previous rain - my trusty poles to the rescue! We stop a couple of times in the shady canopies of churches. As we've got nearer Bilbao the houses get bigger and smarter, so perhaps we've reached the commuter belt?
We have a late lunch in a very nice town called Larrabetzu - a tortilla and beer for €3! Claudia and Julie decide to take a bus into Bilbao- I decide to walk to the Youth Hostel. So we say our fond farewells and off I go.
It's a long slog and the nearest Albergue doesn't open till June, so I then try a Casa Rural- which is full. I'm now walking along huge wide roads in an industrial landscape. So I head for the Youth Hostel Atapetaxea which has 90 beds and is housed in a huge, sinister looking ex-seminary, on the outskirts of town. It's full and I can't walk another step after 10 hours on the road!!! So I book myself into the Hotel Seminaria next door. Grim Post-Modern nowhere-ville but.... I have a hot bath. The soles of my feet feel bruised. I can't walk any further, so I have a very nasty plate of pasta in the hotel and I'm so hungry it tastes delicious! Bed in clean sheets with lots of foot cream.