Saturday, January 28, 2017

Good friends

Our evening spent in Agurain with our amigos Zazpi and his wife Esther was a perfect cap to a great day's walk from Zegama. Zazpi organized a special dinner the main course of which was chuleton, which is a piece of beef about the size of a spare tire. Being in the Basque Country for our wine selection we went with the ubiquitous Basque white wine called Txakoli. A platter of grilled prawns and a salad rounded out the menu. The curious part of the evening is that neither Robin nor I can hold a conversation in Spanish (let alone Basque), and neither Zazpi nor Esther speak a word of English. Yet, for two hours we ate, talked and somehow communicated. It was great fun. In the early morning hours of the following day, as I lay half awake, I could hear the wind sweeping the streets of Agurain, and rain pelting the cottage where we were encamped. Dawn thankfully broke with a brief respite from the worst of the weather. Last night we had arranged with Zazpi to get a ride out of Agurain to a place somewhere down the Camino to make the day's walk a bit shorter. At 9:30 we were off in Zazpi's car going right down the Camino. He dropped us off at a location that left us a 16 km walk to Vitoria-Gasteiz where we arrived at 2:00 pm. At 4:15 our other Basque amigo Jose Mari Lizarazu picked us up in the city center on his way back from a business trip to Pamplona. He brought us back to his nearby home where together with his wife Isabel we cooked and enjoyed a simple but very tasty Basque meal of potatoes and chorizo. But, this was also accompanied by a number of other treats and a great selection of wines. Fine dining indeed, and more importantly, a nice time to reconnect with good friends. 

The following morning as we gathered around the breakfast table Jose Mari offered to drop us off on the Camino outside of Vitoria. This sounded like top thinking so in due course we set out for Gometxa about 7 kms from Vitoria and resumed our walk from there. The weather was much improved over yesterday as we ambled along under sunny skies to La Puebla de Arganzón where we arrived at 2:00 pm. We are happily and warmly ensconced in the Hotel Arganzón Plaza where the heat is always on. Things are looking up indeed. Tomorrow our destination is Briñas and after that Santo Domingo de la Calzada, where this journey will end, and another will begin. Time is slipping by but we are making the most of it. 

Agurain to Vitoria

Eastern outskirts of Vitoria

The path into Vitoria

The next day in Gometxa

La Puebla de la Arganzón

Our hotel for the night

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