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  • Writer's pictureJessie Kretzer

GR11 - The Atlantic Coast

Landing in Bilbao and immediately taking the bus to San Sebastián, we dove straight into soaking up Spanish culture with tapas, cervezas and cafes. San Sebastián is a beautiful city with just the right amount of bussle, authenticity, and tourism. Our first night was a bit overwhelming, but in a good way.

The next morning, we promptly headed to Hondarribia, a beach town on the outskirts of Irún. Our Airbnb host, Luis was gracious, providing helpful recommendations and not judging our broken Spanish. He suggested that Grace and I speak to each other in Spanish as much as possible to improve our linguistic prowess and it’s been working! The couple months I’ve spent learning with Duolingo we’re helpful, but I’ve already learned so much by immersing myself in the culture and am picking up new phrases every day (or todos los días as they say 😉).

Anyways…Hondarribia. What a beautiful historic town. The ancient, artistic architecture is nothing like what we see in the States, especially out west. Everything is ornate, and made with the finest resources. No matter your spiritual outlook, you cannot deny the reverence for the divine that went into building their magnificent churches.

We spent our day in Hondarribia walking to Cape de Higuer (the lighthouse that marks the traditional starting point of the GR11), then back to our apartment. A solid greasing up of the old legs for the miles ahead. Afterwards we of course had more tapas, cervezas, vino, and an 8 o’ clock dinner. All before sunset at 10:30pm! This may be our last schedule in true Spanish style for a while as hiker midnight is at 9:00 and we simply can’t keep up with the late nights.

By the way, it’s crazy how cheap the necessities are here! You can easily get two alcoholic drinks and several tapas for under 15USD. Or two coffees with a small breakfast for about 7USD.

Life is good on the coast. Tomorrow we begin our first real day of hiking.

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