Today’s route: Pamplona to San Sebastián
Today’s distance: 106 kilometers / 66 miles
Today’s elevation gain: 1,887 meters / 6,194 feet
TOTAL DISTANCE: 587 kilometers / 365 miles
TOTAL ELEVATION GAIN: 8,764 meters / 28,759 feet
Our journey through the region of Navarra (Pamplona is its capital) was quick and today we’re moving into the Basque Country. It’s truly like crossing a border into a whole new land. Out here the hillsides are dotted with an ancient breed of ponies called pottoks.
The language is changing and town names begin to have an inordinate number of K’s, X’s and Z’s. Pro-independence political posters and murals blanket walls in every village.
We do a ton of climbing at the beginning of the day and then, for eleven delicious miles, we coast uninterrupted through a fairyland of waterfalls. All the rain from the past few days is making its way down to the sea. Water cascades towards us from every angle as if the entire mountain is weeping. It seeps through the muddy walls of moss on our right, crosses the street under our tires, and flows into the massive gush of the Urumea Ibaia River on our left.
The Eden-like experience feels like a joyful daydream.
In a village called Goizueta, the world’s happiest dog races through the streets.
And by the end of the day we’ve left the snow covered Pyrenees behind us and followed the river all the way to the Bay of Biscay and the Atlantic Ocean. San Sebastián greets us with warmth, sun, and a hopping tourist scene unlike anything we’ve seen so far.
From the beach I have a chance to video chat with my mom and my sister. My dog Banjo is still in rough shape but definitely on the mend. He had his entire back shaved so the topical solutions for his awful rash can seep directly into his skin. It breaks my heart to see him but they swear he’s in great spirits. His iron coated intestinal tract has even started expelling the Gu gel packets he swallowed fourteen days ago. After two weeks of nonstop worry, it seems like we’re finally moving away from the possibility of a blockage and emergency surgery.
They also report on my other dog Tobi, who remains totally and blissfully fine (as usual) and has not considered eating anything that could kill him or contracted a noxious disease. Once again I can’t believe how unimaginably lucky I am to have them there taking care of my pack so that I get to be here in the land of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza.
Anyone on the lookout for a unique and unforgettable travel destination should add this place to their list! Sending wild, enamored love all the way from San Sebastián ❤ ❤ ❤