Sept 19 and 20-
For the past two days we have been trekking through an extraordinary geological part of Spain. The area which has been designated a world heritage site is called a Geopark. We were fortunate that the Camino del Norte goes right through a large section of the park.
As we walked from Getaria to Zumaia and on to Deba we were struck by the interesting rock formations. It was only later that we learned we were walking along land masses of flysch and karst that were formed 60 million years ago and are very famous in the scientific world.
Here follows are very simple non scientific explanation of both terms .
Flysch are thin layers of shale which were formed when the Pyrenee mountains shifted and pushed against the coral reefs at the edge of the ocean.
Karst are limestone formations, mainly caves and underground rivers that are found higher up in the mountains, much softer rock changed over time by water.
For two days we alternated between the flysch cliffs and the karst hills. Always up and down, whether on the cliffs or in the mountains. A real workout that lived up to its 5 boot designation.
As we walked along the edge of steep cliffs we were in awe. We hauled ourselves and our packs up and down over and over. A steep up, a steep down, a little beach, repeat until it was time to turn away from the coast and head up into the mountains.But flysch was only half of the story. There was also karst up in the hills and our path took us there too.
The hills are dotted with caves which are famous for the ancient cave paintings. We will see one of theses sites in several days further down the path as most are closed to the public.
So we walked up our flysch path to get to our karst mountains. It was even steeper, even slower and very hard on the feet, requiring total concentration to stay vertical! Periodically we’d stop to breathe and marvel at the beauty of the landscape around us.sAfter two days of up and down, 300 plus “flights of stairs” and forty miles we rewarded ourselves with a night in a wonderful agrotourism. ( a B and B on a working farm). There we were treated to more incredible views and a gourmet dinner with every speck of food and drink produced on the premises.
And on our quiet mountain top we fell into our beds under a sky full of stars.