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Mike loses his beret.

Our first night in an Auberge results in a fitful sleep. Although there are only three in the room the strangeness of the surroundings and the adrenalin that follows our first day of walking conspire to keep me awake half the night. It is a fairly late start once we have had breakfast and we hit the steep ascent out of St. Sebastienne just after nine o’clock. A kind local has left out some refreshments for passing pilgrims and a reminder that we have broken through the 800km mark.

welcome refreshments

welcome refreshments

We are rewarded with some gentle woodland walking that opens out into rolling green upland farmland and some fine views of the sea along the way. We have walked a few miles when Mike realises that he has lost his Basque beret that he bought yesterday to replace the hat he left on the bus from Biaritz. While he retraces his steps in the hope of finding it, I continue along the path that takes me through small valleys that cut into the coastal cliffs.

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It is very reminiscent of some of the Cornish Coastal Path at this point and the sound of the sea is very welcome. I chose a secluded spot with views back along the path and over the sea to wait for Mike who eventually turns up with his beret and a satisfied smile on his face.

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There is a steep descent into the fishing port of Orio where we have lunch by the harbour before heading upwards again through vineyards and a gentler more tamed landscape. Zaurutz is suddenly upon us,its wild beach sweeping round towards Guetania at the far end of the bay.

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Another steep descent and soon we are in the ancient square where we find the Pension that mike has booked for us. We are reminded of the fierce pride that is felt for their region by many of the Basques. The little hotel next to ours is boldly advertises the common demand for independence.

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After the ritual washing of the  walking gear that is to become a daily feature of the next five weeks, we have time to explore the seafront. The sea is full of surfers enjoying the considerable swell and the promenade is busy with locals and holiday makers enjoying a setting sun which still has some warmth in it.

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We enjoy a small tapas in a bar before going back to our room where we wash down a homemade salad  with a rather tasty Rioja.

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