Stage 3: Arantzazu to Araia

A very good breakfast, where I enjoyed cereal, yoghourt, fruit and cheese, finishing with a slice of gingerbread-like cake made with spelt. It wasn’t served till 8 so we only started walking at 9. A good view of the sanctuary making it look more like a church, with the apse and rounded windows, but alas, the others were moving on before I had time to take a photo.

I had better luck with getting a photo when we came to the spot where, according to legend, a shepherd saw the Virgin Mary in a thorn bush.

A lovely path up through woodland, stopping at a hut at the top for refreshments. Many small groups overtook us on the way up, and after the break we met a lot of families with children coming towards us. Our path joined the Basque Camino (to Santiago) near a remarkable natural tunnel through the mountain. Did we want to go to see it?  After some discussion, we all did, and had our lunch nearby. Suddenly, the sound of bells coming towards us: a herd of goats. Most ran straight past us, but one helped herself to a banana skin from my lunch box.

Back to our Camino, with a scenic detour through the woods to a car park, where most of the group took a taxi to the hotel in Alsasua, while the usual suspects plus Naomi walked down a shaded road to Araia, the official end of the stage.