We could have stayed another night at San Sebastian but it turns out this is a holiday weekend in Spain and the place was so packed I could hear the man in the next motorhome snoring last night. A family with multiple children had been playing loudly around the vans until late and we woke up to find a queue of 13 motorhomes waiting to get a place in the Aire. We decided that enough was enough and we moved 15 miles along the coast to a little place called Zarautz. There is a campsite there that is open all the year round and it’s on the Camino de Santiago (Norte route) so pilgrims often use it on their long trek west.
We arrived early, mid morning in fact, and thought that they might tell us to come back after lunch but we were met with hospitable smiles and were led to a pitch under the trees with views over the ocean. The first thing we were aware of was the great atmosphere on this site. Yes it’s busy and there are kids on skateboards on the paths, things we normally don’t appreciate much, but the overall energy in the place is really lovely.
The manager told us that it was only 1km to the beach but warned that it was a very steep walk down with lots of steps. Off we trotted with the dogs down the path, encountered a few steps, scoffed at the man’s obvious lack of understanding of our fitness and then … we got to the real steps. They were steep and there were hundreds of them. We got to the bottom and our knees and legs felt like we had cycled for miles uphill.
We staggered along the sea front and fell into the chairs of an open air café where we ordered a three course lunch with a choice of water or wine for an astonishing 10€ each. We’re not usually the kind of people who take pictures of our food but just this once … here are the starters.
Fully recovered, or so we thought, we paid our bill and wandered back to the hill where our campsite could be seen in the far, high, distance.
By the time we reached the top of the steps we were gasping for breath and begging the dogs to pull us along. They of course just looked at us disdainfully and waited to trot alongside us. That’s what training does for you. No pulling means no pulling, even when you’re on your last legs.
Back at the van, after a shower that felt nothing short of heavenly, we sat down in our chairs and saw, to our amazement, that pitched in front of us were the couple we’d met in Carrefour the other day. Or at least their van was. It turned out later, when we caught up with them, that they too were struggling their way up the steps from the beach.
This is one of the real joys of touring. Meeting people you feel an instant connection with, having a really good chat and a laugh and then waving them a fond farewell. Meeting up twice with the same people is an even rarer treat.
Colin and Rachel were enjoying the last of their bottle of gin and feeling sad that they were going home via Santander on Monday. Listening to talk of their trip and their sadness that it was over reminded us again that we’ve barely begun. Once again we felt a big rush of gratitude.
Next stop was the site bar for a gin and tonic for me and a large beer for Shirley. My G&T was in a big tumbler – I think it was a triple – had to go back to the van for bread and cheese to absorb some of the alcohol. Hic
Sometimes we talk about paying attention to the little notions you get to do small acts of kindness. These are not enormous gestures that have far reaching effects but simple things that make the world a little sunnier. We were thinking about Colin and Rachel driving towards the port tomorrow and we put some gin, a couple of little bottles of tonic and the link to this blog in a bag and dropped it off for them. We don’t know if they’ll ever get to see this but it was really lovely meeting you guys. You brightened up our journey.