it so happened to be that i only found out about the Saint James Way a several years ago while i was still studying in Bochum. with my rather narrow nature travel imagination i could imagine how the way would look like. but after a dusty straight on way and a hill alongside, the arise of pictures in my head had stopped. i simply couldn't imagine more - i had never been hiking, rarely camping (i can actually count it up right now: twice on church trips in my puberty, and a few times while on music festivals), this habit wasn't in my family and i didn't have 'that kind of friends' i guess, or so i thought. during years my curiosity grew into a passive will to discover whats it like to just be walking for hours, for days, for nights, lets even think wilder - to sleep on a random beach after walking all day long. no hotels, now suitcases, no comfort zone. my curiosity and imagination was starting to go that far already. yet still no friends of 'that kind' around. then i heard more about this St. James Way a.k.a. Jakobsweg (germ.) - a very popular path between german people. In fact, statistically seen the germans are after the spanish in second place to most frequently walk the Way. and every one knows what this Way is, or has walked a certain distance, or at least has always wanted to get on her or hist way. after a very passive research, meaning that i simply let the information about the Way reach my ear somehow, my arising will to go hiking and explore nature didn't really correlate with what i've heard about it - it seemed too overcrowded, too popular and in general - too much of a drunken party. but once i actually said it out loud "i would never want to walk the St. James Way" the coin has flipped and i started to actively be researching for stories, blogs or documentaries.
i'll be honest here - i simply wanted to go hiking, be closer to nature, cross forests and meditatively linger on costal cliffs. the more i thought the more practical the St. James Way appeared to be perfect for my purpose. it is marked, there are maps, there's a guarantee for an affordable accommodation possibility all along the path. moreover all of a sudden i appeared to have 'those friends' who actually had been walking the Way and gave me some advisable instruction. it all just happened within a few months time. moreover - i found out that there are alternative and not that frequently chosen routes, which led me to choosing a little part in the middle of the North Path, a walk with an ocean view.
to sum up: i simply wanted a good kick off for a start-up-hiker, to lay my focus on the fact that i am actually walking and doing this for a week on my own for the first time in my life, preferred the infrastructure to be taken care of. this is why i chose the St. James Way to be my first hiker trekker experience of my life. and instantly it happened - i got hooked.
This is it - a photo story of the first day and night, Bilbao, Castro Urdiales, getting out of the cities and starting the week of walk.
the journey began with the first stamp in the Credencial stamp book at the Bilbao Central Hostel.
my first day of walking was rain and fog. oh great, i thought.. welcome. but all next days were filled with unusual sunshine and t-shirt temperatures, very unusual for a north Spain November. next day i left to Germany, it started raining again. how lucky i was!
first night in an albergue - i was the only person sleeping there. for a first time experience thats a weird start. not even the host was there. natural swimming pools along the way - i love. i'll come back and swim when it's summer time warm again. oh my boots, pretty much beloved accessory for my every day life before and after the trip. it just reminds me of how many more paths there are to walk yet.. keeps me imagining and secretly planing in my head. sometimes before going to sleep i look up for future routes in my guide and there's one in head already that i'm intending to walk, this time far more than one week. we'll see.
A little side note: all photos were taken with my new Fuji x-t1 and a Fujinon 18 mm f2 lens. i wanted something light and durably built, prepared for any weather surprises along the north spain paths. I'm still figuring out, how the heck to edit the raw files, it's very different from what i'm used from Nikon. Any advice? please let me know!
I will write more about my thoughts on the way and advice for those who intend to walk it in the next two posts.