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Breakfast at the Albergue was a shambles. Not much to eat or drink unless we pressed the only chap available and he exploded into a Spanish diatribe which roughly translates as this is not a ****** hotel!
There followed an exchange about payment and luggage which was unnecessarily aggressive. I was allowed to buy a loaf of bread for 3€ for our lunch. This is a new Albergue run by an inexperienced couple and it comes across as predominantly a money making venture. Anna thinks the Señora may be all fur coat and no knickers!

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It is cooler today but uphill nearly all the way. There is not much opportunity to stop but we were lucky to find an isolated taberna open for café con leche. There a lamb roasting slowly over hot coals.

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So it’s onwards and ever upwards.

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Views were few and far between because we walked mainly through managed forest but there were occasionally some gems.

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Apple and nuts stop in an old Lavanderia – see picture below.

We arrive at Markina-Xemein about 3pm and have instructions to ring our hospitelero on arrival at the outskirts. He arrived in 5 mins and very grateful we were too. We are getting very tired now and 4 of us have blister issues. It is a strenuous walk and in the Ciccerone Guide today is marked as 5 – very challenging!

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It is a lovely Albergue and the hospitalero attends our every need while preparing an amazing smelling dinner – we recognise garlic and mushrooms. This is SO different from last night. The ambiance is palpable. So relaxing. All showered. Clothes washed. Cup of tea and cake. Red wine.

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The name of the place we are staying is Casa Rural INTXAUSPE.

The hospitalero is joined by his wife and young son. Lovely family. Lovely meal. We are joined by a Swedish female walker. Later by young Americans. This is how it should be. So relaxed. No sense of each man out for himself. If you get the chance come visit.

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