We needed a map and schedule for the race tomorrow so headed towards Hernani to get some groceries and try to find a map. We passed a van with guys putting up the yellow arrows for the route so stopped and asked them if they had a map, but they didn’t so we continued on.
Hernani is larger than we thought it would be, and is full of narrow one-way streets with weird sharp turns. We managed to find a parking space in front of a fairly rough-looking taverna, and walked up the hill a bit to a bank. I saw a sign for a tourist info place so while Colin was in the bank I took Mo up to see what they had.
I walked into the large building that had the info sign on it and didn’t know which way to turn – it looked like it had some offices, and a large hall of some sort but no info desk that I could see. I went into one of the small offices that had its door open and as soon as I asked the lady at the desk if she spoke English she indicated to follow her. She took me out the front door and pointed across the square to a small booth – that was where I was meant to go.
The girl at the booth was extremely helpful – I told her I needed a detailed map of northern Spain, as well as info on the race. She was super happy to help – she had a really good map of the local area – not all of Spain, but it covers Pai Vasco which is just what we need right now. Then she said she would check something on the computer about the race – Colin arrived just before she said she was printing something for us and would be right back. She went inside the big building and came out shortly with a paper for us – it had the list of places, including the road numbers that the race was passing through, the estimated time of arrival at each place, and the elevation chart. It was exactly what we were looking for.
We had a look at what she’d given us, and decided to drive along the last part of the route, as it had a couple of good climbs and the riders actually go around it twice so we’d get to see them two times. We navigated to the road we had chosen and drove in the opposite direction that the race would be taking. We came upon a church that had some parking so pulled in to have lunch in a small park across the road. There are fantastic views of Irun and Hondarribia and part of the ocean below.
Once again it’s right on the Camino trail – there are scallop shells (not clam shells – ha ha) on the church itself, as well as on route markers for the hikers. There’s a much larger parking lot beyond the church and we considered if that might be a good place to plant ourselves tomorrow.
As we drove down towards San Sebastian we saw several more possible places to watch from, and figured that if we arrived early enough in the morning we could likely have our choice of spots.
We took a very circuitous route back to Zarautz, but eventually got there. We relaxed and read outside the tents for a couple of hours, then headed down into the town to have another look around.
We found some underground parking at the far end of the beach then started walking along the nice wide boardwalk. The beach is great, and along the boardwalk are lots and lots of cafes and tavernas. There are hundreds of sunbathers, swimmers and surfers and the general atmosphere is just great.
We stopped at a cafe on the boardwalk and had a drink, then decided to stay there and have dinner. It was very nice – we stayed until the sun was starting to go down – most of the beach-goers had left by then but the boardwalk was still busy. We walked down it almost the end other end, then back – there are art displays/sculptures here and there.
As we drove back thru the town we saw that the main street and all of the side streets were packed with people – cafes and bars all had tables outside and it was bustling.