It was a lazy day today, but I’ve arrived to the Capital of the World, Bilbao.
I slept about an hour and a half after my alarm went off, and I wasn’t sure I was going to go ahead and walk those 8 kilometres or so from Zamudio to Bilbao, where I live. After checking the weather forecast, I decided to go ahead and go for it as who knows when time and weather will coincide again.
I had my token pintxo de tortilla y café con leche before catching the Euskotren to Zamudio. The grey skies matched my rather blah mood today, which I still haven’t been able to completely shake. It didn’t rain, though. Thank God for small favours.
There are two ways to conquer Mount Avril. I took the one from the center of Zamudio (population 3263) and walked through the streets and past the building I had been seeing from my workplace of the past two years a few kilometres away. The walk was not the finest point of the Camino as it’s a rather industrial area.
There were some nice views of the Txorierri valley and the Bilbao airport as I climbed Avril, a mountain I’ve been saving for the Camino. I saw more angry dogs than people, and I didn’t see a single pilgrim. Granted, I also took off as the Zamudio church bells were chiming noon.
There was a nice little information plaque where people had written messages to motivate peregrinos. I signed the guest book (¡Hola! if anyone found this through the guest book :)) and felt a bit more encouraged.
The arrows took off, perhaps by joke, through a small trail to the top of Mount Avril when I thought it was time to be descending. There was barely any room to move through the plants. I should’ve stuck to the Gran Recorrido trail, but I reached the destination all the same.
I crossed the pedestrian bridge over the motorway and admired Bilbao, where I’ve been living for two years. I tried to stick to the Camino, but as I tend to explore random streets when I’m bored, I may have misstepped a bit. I arrived at the Basilica de Begoña that officially welcomed me to El Botxo, Bilbao, Capital of the World.
I thought I would be feeling excited, or something, to have reached the city where I have lived for two years on the Camino. I didn’t really feel anything. I’ve descended those steps down to Plaza de Unamuno so many times that perhaps that’s why it didn’t feel real.
I’m going to take a few days to regroup and recharge and remind myself why I’m doing the Camino. It was a short day, June 7, 2015, only two hours and about 7-8 kilometres. There are two ways to leave the Capital of the World, and I think I’m going to take the prettier, less travel one that goes along the river, as I can leave from my house that way instead of having to go through Bilbao’s ugliest street (Autonomia) and pass the same street I pass every Tuesday to teach a class (yes, some of my students live right on the Camino.)
So…while I have been having a blah day, I am excited about having walked from Irún to Bilbao since last August.
Etapa 9…a continuación…¿cuándo?