The Chapel on the Biscay Coast.

Some time between the 4th and 5th day in Spain, I came down with a cold. I think it was the sudden drop in temperature that got me. Le Boyfriend is used to the weather, so he just finds it ‘refreshing’. I blame it on my tropical upbringing.

Nevertheless, I trudged on the best as I could. No illness will make me waste my precious week. I even climbed the 230+ steps to Gaztelugatxeko Doniene. 230+ steps one-way.


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The road to the Gaztelugatxe, in summer. Reposted from the Wikipedia page for your viewing pleasure.

Besides being a Catholic monument, the Gaztelugatxe is also the Basque Country’s equivalent of Botanic Gardens or Fort Canning in Singapore – engaged couples go there to get their bridal pictures taken. It is also a very romantic walk for couples. *shy*

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The Gaztelugatxeko Doniene(in Euskara) or San Juan de Gaztelugatxe (Spanish). When I took this picture, I wondered if I could make it at all. It looked very far away.

The Gaztelugatxeko Doniene is a 10th century hermitage dedicated to St John the Baptist. There are 14 crosses along the way to the top. It reminds me of the Stations of the Cross, since there are also 14 Stations of the Cross. Maybe pilgrims did pause at each cross to meditate. We paused at each cross so I could catch my breath. I would have enjoyed the view more if I wasn’t feeling like crap. Nevertheless, here are some pictures.

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The 6th cross. And the water crashing against the stones.

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Where the water has made a hole in the cliff to the other side.

After much groaning from my end, we reached the hermitage. And the 14th cross.


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Oh, blessed sight!

There was a little chapel and a little house at the top of this cliff.

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Le Boyfriend. And my bag.

After getting to the top, visitors were apparently supposed to ring the bell of the chapel 3 times and make a wish. We didn’t know. But Le Boyfriend rang it a couple of times, but didn’t make any wish. I learnt about the ringing bell part after I got back to Singapore. I guess this means I should study more before a trip.

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A word of warning: there is no toilet at the top of this cliff. There is only a hole in some wall which serves as a ‘toilet’. The hole empties directly into the sea. i.e: standing room only. So, do all businesses in the blue portable toilet before the ascent.

What goes up must come down.
We had to go back to the car. Snow was starting to fall.

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I… can… do this. *grunt* But, so gorgeous.

We managed to get back to a nearby eating establishment before we froze.
I was craving some hot chocolate and warmth.

The Gaztelugatxeko Doniene (click here for map!) is located along the Biscay Coast.

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