Day 4 – Deba to Markina-Xemein

5/14/17 – 29km/18mi from Deba to Markina-Xemein, with 1830m/6004ft total ascent and descent.

After yesterday’s relentlessness, today was much more manageable, with peaceful strolls through rolling farms, forests, and green spaces. But we still had two major climbs and then a final descent so steep that it was more appropriate for street luge than hiking with a backpack!

But unlike yesterday, we arrived at our destination with plenty of time left in the day and also unlike yesterday, we didn’t get THE last 2 beds in the entire town. We got in early enough to have time to (hand)wash clothes, relax a bit, stretch, and have a leisurely and DELICIOUS “pilgrim meal” at Restaurante Pitis, which also owns the place where we stayed for the night. Three years ago on the Camino Frances, I swore off “pilgrim meals” after a few bad experiences. They are 3-course meals but in our experience, they were hastily-cooked, poor quality, and unappetizing. Filling for the money for sure – especially for exhausted hikers – but always hit-and-miss on taste and quality. But this meal was excellent, and Dave, Joe and I savored every bite. A few card games later and it was time to call it a night at 9:30pm – we were wiped out even though there was still daylight.