Thursday, 15 February 2018 07:49

Zumaia, beyond the Flysch

Lately, the work has me quite tied, but I do not want to lose the link that I have achieved with the Urola valley and having already made enough visits between Azkoitia and Zestoa I wanted to know the end of the river. When I made the Touring trip, I missed reaching Zumaia because the fatigue of the day made me head home, but today, remembering that trip, I decided to reach the coast following the river. Therefore, I have started the trip in Aizarnazabal and I have taken the road to Oikina.

 

I have arrived taking the road GI-2633. Oikina is a neighbourhood located in the east of Zumaia.

 

oikia iglesia

 

Its 310 inhabitants live under the parish of San Bartolomé, a church that contains a 16th-century altarpiece, but the solar houses of Etxabe, Goiburu Azpikoa or Kondekua are also noteworthy. For years he wanted to become independent from Zumaia but today it is still a neighbourhood of this town.

 

arco oikia

  

Following the path, I have found Bedua. A restaurant in this neighbourhood became very famous for having appeared in a famous movie, but to me, what has fascinated me is the fauna found.

 

pajaro bedua

 

I had heard that eels could be found in this area of the Urola River, but in this meander, you can find more things.

 

bedua

 

Long ago this area was mostly a marsh, but humans dried the soil to use it for both agriculture and industry. In the history of Zumaia, the different industries have had a lot of weight. Among others, the shipyards, the cement factories or the machine tool have been very important in the development of the town. The point is that here a very special ecosystem is formed since the salt water brought by the tides join here with the river water. After being born to the skirts of the Aizkorri and to cross 60 kilometres it is here where the Urola takes its first salty drops as if it began to cry seeing its end so close.

 

bedua paisaje

 

I will try not to cry, although once past the industrial zone, anyone who sees the entrance to the town can be fascinated. Zumaia has become famous thanks to his Flysch and the recordings of the series "Games of Thrones", but I think that in this town I will find something more than that. For that reason, I have decided to approach the tourist office.

 

turismo cartel zumaia

 

There they have recommended me some places. The first one I found when I left the office door.

 

zumaia exterior

 

The old freight train station and the rails make clear that where today the locals walk under the trees, at the time, they did coal, stones or iron.

 

carril zumaia

 

This is where the Urola takes its last steps, joining the Narrondo to get lost in the sea.

 

canon zumaia

 

I have gone through a small bridge, but my feet take me in parallel with the river as if they did not want to get away from it.

 

zumaia ciudad

 

I was struck by a lonely house on the other side of the road. It is at the end of the street (or at the beginning depending on how you look) and unlike the other houses, this building is not linked to anything. Well, the truth is that yes, because in its low we will find a society: The Octopus society concretely. Will it have any relationship with Galicia?

 

olagarro zumaia

 

In front of the door, we will find a small square and on the other side another singular building with a large balcony.

 

cofradia zumaia

 

Then I learned that this was the Fishermen's Guild. The "Brotherhood San Telmo" apparently no longer exists, but the building that sheltered it is still called brotherhood this is usually the place where at parties the flag of the town is raised and lowered and also where the local athletes are welcomed. They have achieved great achievements. But these two houses are small before the building that we will find next. The nowadays house of culture totally reformed was in its moment an alhóndiga.

 

edificio zumaia

 

A large building to store the raw material that went to or came from the sea. It is clear that the boats reached the doors of the building where today all the cultural events of the town are projected. And so, I confirmed a photo that I could see in a nearby park, that of Amaia.

 

cartel plaza

 

The human being is capable of doing great things, even taking land from the sea, changing the landscape of a town and making it so normal in the day to day of the locals that they are able to forget even how this landscape used to be.

From the park the parish of San Pedro is impressive. Its tower looks like a defensive castle as if besides being the patron saint of sailors, Saint Peter would also like to be the guardian of the town.

 

zumaia plaza presente

 

Located in the northeast of the old part of the town, it is a Gothic church of the XIII century and inside that casket of the castle, it has one of the most beautiful unique gothic spaces of Euskal Herria. After having a coffee, I lost myself through the streets of Zumaia until I reached another square. Here I have come across another building that has caught my attention. It seems one of those convents that appear in cowboy movies, in which I could read "Algorri Interpretation Centre". What could this be? A theatre? Because if not, what is a centre to interpret?

 

algorri edificio

 

But what I found inside has completely changed my "interpretation". This is the ideal place to take a trip through the history of nature and geology. This centre is a great opportunity to get to know the ecosystem of this environment and thanks to its audio-visual documentary and its exhibition you will be able to see first-hand the natural treasure that this municipality has. In Zumaia is one of the most spectacular tidal flats in Europe, with more than 200 different species living in it, representing one of the most complex, beautiful and rich ecosystems of the Euskal Herria coast. Will the octopus be among those 200 species?

I left the interpretation centre and, as if the river wanted to take me with it, I continued forward parallel to its waters until it reached the beginning of the jetty.

 

zumaia barco

 

barco mar zumaia

 

There I found a house in the shape of a farmhouse surrounded by a large hedge. It's the Julio Beobide museum. The sculptor stood out above all for working religious sculpture and the traditional Basque model and nowadays you can see his sketches and works of art in what was his workshop, now converted into a museum.

 

museo zumaia

 

Above this house, we will find the lighthouse. They built it in 1870 because entering the port of Zumaia had become quite dangerous. Today the lighthouse keeper who lives here (cannot visit) guides the boats that want to enter the marina from its 12-meter tower while spotting land from Bizkaia to Lapurdi.

 

faro zumaia

 

And I say, will a kitchen like that of our houses have in that tower? Ummm, it seems that I have begun to go hungry. I have travelled the town from side to side and have arrived at the restaurant Beheko Plaza.

Grilled pods with native octopus and Salbera (fish that lives under the sand). A menu difficult to find in other places. But, what about the octopus has me on fire! I have asked and it seems that Zumaia is very close to the octopus. It is usually fished in the Flysch and it is left to dry until it is dehydrated to make it with the octopus soup or "Olarru-zopa", a traditional local dish. I'll have to try it someday! The truth is that I have eaten of fable and I have returned to fill energy to face the second part of the day visiting more places of this wonderful town.

Another of the places that I have recommended in the tourist office is the Artadi neighbourhood, probably one of the most charming neighbourhoods in the town. Located in a small elevation the views from its church of San Miguel are unpayable.

 

artadi iglesia 

 

Any lover of the sea has to see these views. The truth is that anyone would fall in love with these views. It is also a neighbourhood that is surrounded by a holm oak forest that leads us to think of a warmer climate.

 

paisaje artadi

 

zumaia paisaje

 

I've come down from the neighbourhood and landed at the marina.

 

puerto zumaia

 

The centre of the town is seen wide and in front, we can find the walk to the lighthouse. The traveller will find a tremendously attractive place to rest, but any citizen also has here a beautiful place to walk and enjoy leisure in a very special environment.

 

paseo puerto zumaia

 

Being in the port, if you look to the right you will find the marshes of Santiago and with a little luck, you will find there some of the migratory birds that habitually live there.

 

dunas zumaia

 

In this same marsh, we will find the home of the painter from Eibar Ignacio Zuloaga, and the museum full of works of art from Zuloaga and other famous artists. The painter is famous because it reflected mainly the Spanish costumbrismo, between which they emphasize the bullfights of bulls.

 

zuloaga casa

 

Further on is the beach of Santiago (or as they say in the town of "Santiyo"). At the top of it, we can find another curious phenomenon: dunes. Yes, little mountains piled with sand. It is true that the plants have been acclimated to the impulses of wind and water, to saltpetre, to the little stability of the earth ... and in many places, they cover the dunes. But as true as this is that I would never have believed that I would find such a phenomenon here.

 

santiyo playa 

 

By the time I realized it has already begun to get dark and after taking a look at the clock I realized that it is time to go home. And I have not seen the Flysch!! I have to go back, of course; I cannot stay if I visit a site with so much recognition and such fame. Arriving at the car I came across a person and I could not do anything but stop and listen to what he was singing:

"Zumaia has at its entrance, junction with two roads,

Getaria San Sebastián and Bilbao by Deba.

It is an industrial, commercial and commercial town,

It has a port with its estuary, a railway line.

COME, COME, COME, COME,

COME, COME, COME, COME,

COME, ARRIVE that the town of Zumaiaaaaaaaaa

It's a little San Sebastian! "

 

It is clear that Zumaia goes beyond the Flysch.

 

inaki dedo

 

 

Iñaki Sare

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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