From the cold container Albergue this morning we walked back to the town bar for breakfast at 7:30 am. At least we can have a big breakfast with ham and eggs to prepare for the day's climb in addition to packing a big sandwich for lunch as we have no ration left and there will not be any facilities until we come down the mountain on the side. We are just happy we can at least get good so early on Sunday.
Unfortunately the weather is bad raining most of the morning and intermittent rain in the afternoon. It is a 900 meters climb out of which over 700 hundred is to the San Adrian tunnel (an ancient trade pass through the mountain). It was tough but surprisingly not as bad as we thought. A nice view looking back at Zegama and by late morning the tunnel was in sight. We thought we are going to have the trail all to ourselves but no, there were actually quite a number of people around. Despite the steep incline in many places we have trail runner (sometime with their dog), couples, solo and even families hiking all around. The Basque people are probably the mos active group of people in Spain. Still remember on the early stages of the Camino del Norte a few years back I see more hikers than pilgrim on that route. It is even more impressive here seeing that many people along the trail to the San Adrian pass and also on the other side.
Inside the short tunnel is the St. James chapel (obviously). Some kids got in the way of the photo, prove that it many locals (even young ones) do enjoy hiking or even running on their mountains.
Coming down on the other side was also slow with trails muddy and slippery in some areas (less so on the way up). In any case the river is now moving downstream instead of upstream. After the descend another view backwards to look back at the pass.
Although only 22 km today, due to the climb/descend and a further flat 6 km we finally got to the albergue in Salvatierra-Agurain at 3:30 pm (the albergue is not easy to find). At the door are three numbers. One is the tourist office and the other two we assumed are the hospitaleros. Every number we got voice mail (even the assumed hospitaleros numbers). I know it's Sunday but still...
A lady appears and helped us by making some phone calls including those on the door again. No success. A second lady appear also try to do the same thing and we think that is enough. We just need to know the nearest hostal as we are really tired. We got the direction back to the historic center and a bar there has rooms above. That's where we ended up now at 17 per person for the room with shared bathroom. By then it is already 4:30 pm.
Dinner at the bar was great again. The food in the Basque region is fantastic. Somehow I don't feel like a full course meal tonight so I got the hamburger complete (with veg, bacon, eggs) instead. Even this simple dish is excellent, probably the best burger I ever had. Plus the cider here is so good we have them with our dinner all the time. Tonight we were given gratis local dessert from this Alava region. Called Goshua, theonly thing I picked up is caramel, soaked biscuit, cream. Whatever it is, it is bloody good.
Despite the rain, the climb, time/effort wasted on finding the albergue today the mini heavens more than made up for it.
Heavenly view, Heavenly hot shower, heavenly food and drinks and to top it at the end, heavenly coffee.