San Sebastian to Pasaia…Our first Basque Country Hike Adventuriety


We spent two weeks in beautiful San Sebastian, Spain, the perfect mix of mountains, city and sea.  This is La Concha  beach, minutes from our apartment and very cold, but Ashley couldn’t stay out of the water.  She actually swam twice in the Bay of La Concha and the first time came out of the water before her allotted half hour was up (I was freezing jogging in place on the beach).  It surprised me that she would come out of the water voluntarily and I told her so.  She replied that she had become a little worried when she realized that she couldn’t feel her feet anymore and thought that frost bite might ruin our trip, so she responsibly removed herself from the icy water.   The hill to the right with the statue on top is called Mt. Urgull and has walking paths over the top and also around the base.




Our first hike of the area was about 10 miles and an impromptu and half-researched adventure from our apartment.  Our plan was to get in the car and drive to a hike that Scott had researched, but as soon as we were out of our apartment and on our way to the parking garage, it became evident that the marathon taking place on our street had our car trapped for the day and so like the great planners that we are, Plan B  was set into motion.  I was in charge!  Scott puts a lot of effort into researching and planning and navigating to our hikes and occasionally I feel like I should help out a little bit so in an attempt to look helpful, I had been reading about hikes that one could enjoy from the city and I had kind of been reading parts of hiking blogs about these said hikes.  Simultaneously and silently, Scott was getting tired of the responsibility of actually knowing where we were going and getting us there, so all of the sudden with the surprise marathon,  it was my turn. Like all good women, I was up for the challenge, even if I only kind of had a vague idea of where the hike began, what it entailed, or how we would get back to our apartment.  I was just hoping that Scott would get tired of me navigating before I really needed to navigate.  I must say, although irritating, his stubbornness impressed me.  We began by walking along La Concha Beach and then up and over Mt. Urgull.  We stopped to watch some interesting characters on the beach.  There was the woman in the green bathrobe, the man writing in the sand to protest a kind of inheritance tax and the patient kayaker.


We hiked up and down Mt. Urgull and then along Zurriola, the surfer’s beach below.  The hill in the background is where our hike began.


Along the base of Mt. Urgull heading towards Zurriola Beach.


Mt. Urgull in the background as we make our way along the surfer’s beach. There was a storm a few days earlier and the waves were still impressive.


After a few wrong turns and a silent Scott, I finally found the trail head.  One of the great things about the trails in Spain is the signage (as long as you can find the trail head!).  We were hiking to Pasaia, so we looked for red and white trail markers.  The best part though is if you come upon a “a fork in the road” there will be an “X” painted in the trail colors on the trail you should not use.  Hiking in Spain is for people like me!


It was a steep uphill start.


Finally onto the correct trail!  You can see the surfer’s beach, Mt. Urgull and behind that, La Concha beach near our apartment.


The trail was well maintained and although it was busy with other hikers, the views of the ocean were impressive.


Lots of signs for me.


Like many trails we have encountered on this trip, there were stairs and cobblestones.  Steps are one thing, but whoever decided that cobblestones would be a good idea for a hiking trail must not have been a hiker.


This part of the Spanish coast reminded me of our Central California coast.


I had stopped following them by this point and just figured that I would take pictures of their bushwhacking and rock climbing from a safe distance.  I watched a runner try and coax his dog over the rocks and down the trail that I was hoping to avoid.  The dog didn’t want to rock hop either and I truly empathized.


They sat down and looked cute and sporty and I happily snapped away from my comfortable perch on a warm rock.


Looking north towards France.


The family waved and called to me from their rock perch.  They had decided that the rock was a perfect picnicking spot.  Yes, of course it was.  At least there was chocolate waiting for me.


The view was nice.  This is looking south down the coast from whence we had come.


Ruins of something along the path.


These signs were a little confusing but at least there was a map.  This is the end of the nature trail but the hike continued along a road.


We walked down the road for about 1/4 of a mile.


Then the trail intercepted the road again and we followed it down steep steps towards the water.


We met this cute little fellow along the way.


Scott and Ashley had gone ahead.


The steps led to this sea wall, a lighthouse and what looked like a treacherous walk to me.  The walkway was it’s own little tide pool microcosm with crabs waiting patiently in their puddles for the tide and waves to refresh the water in their puddles.  I was watching Ashley and didn’t notice the graffiti on the wall when I took the picture.  I tried to understand the meaning of the words and learned that it is political and translates literally to “prisoners home amnesty” but I couldn’t quite figure out the context.


We all walked to the lighthouse at the end of the wall.


It felt dangerous and daring to be out on the wall with the waves crashing all around us.  I felt like a salty sea captain.


Just around the corner from the lighthouse sea wall walk was the town and  a large commercial marina.


Grant was happy to find a Basque restroom and I got to learn the komunak means “common” in Basque.  Scott finally took pity on me and navigated back to our apartment.  It was about an hour walk along city streets and we were all tired but it was a nice first hike in Basque Country.











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