Information about stage 5: Stage from Markina Xemein to Gernika Lumo
It take 6 to 7:30 hours if you walk it in one day
Km 0. Markina
Next to the hostel is the Kai cafeteria, where we turn until we cross the Artibai river , which together with the Lea river , which we will visit during the stage, give this Biscayan region its name. We continue linked to a park to finally come out on the shoulder of the BI-633, which we follow as far as the hermitage of Nuestra Señora de Erdotza , probably from the 16th century. In this place we say goodbye to the road on the right and cross one of the neighborhoods of Markina. We take a bidegorri, the red bike lane, hence its name in Basque, which progresses between a polygon and the river. Here we have a source . Then we cross the river by a footbridge next to the Kareaga bridge, with a single arch and half hidden by ivy. After the river we turn left, passing a gate, and we enter a pretty riverside path, with some encrusted stones and roots, which reaches the outskirts of Iruzubieta .
km 3.8. Iruzubieta
In this town there are a couple of bars, although they are probably closed first thing in the morning. Taking a slight detour we come out next to the BI-2224 road and take a path next to the Armola restaurant. Go up to the Altzaga neighborhood . Next to the access to a farmhouse we turn to the right and between pine trees and gates we soon arrive at the Arta neighborhood , now corresponding to the municipality of Ziortza Bolibar . We dropped off as far as the BI-2224 and entered Bolibar, where the family of the Venezuelan liberator Simón Bolívar came from . We pass by the museum dedicated to his figure and arrive at the square, where the town hall is located and a well-loved bar in its arcades.
km 6.2. Bolibar
(Bar. Shop. Lodging Baketxe Baserria 1.9 km away)
Next to the church of Santo Tomás , with a marked defensive face with its two attached towers, we momentarily exit the road to enter a street and follow the Way of the Cross and the medieval road that ascends to the Cistercian monastery of Zenarruza. A few meters from reaching this monastery is the Ziortza Beitia hostel , reopened in June 2014. We enter Zenarruza under an arch (next to the upper window shows the shield of the eagle with the skull , whose legend is explained on the panel informative) and we crossed the garden. The old collegiate church is Gothic and you can also visit the cloister.
km 7.5. Zenarruza Monastery
A path watered by several streams leads to the Gontzagarigana hill (Km 9) . The main road remains to the right and we continue to the left, going down the paved track to the Uriona neighborhood (Km 9.8). We resume the descent to Munitibar and the Lea river basin along a slope and later along a dark path through scrub, complicated by the slope and with the risk of falls, which ends next to a beautiful rural house. A track brings us to Gerrikaitz , the neoclassical church of Santa María , restored in 1847, is on the left, and after crossing the river Lea we enter Munitibar. Almost at the halfway point of the day, the square is another good place to take a breather, with a hostel, bar and shop.
km 11.7. Munitibar
(Hostel. Bar. Shop)
The parish church of San Vicente de Arbaztegi , which could have taken the place of a hermitage dedicated to San Miguel, and again the Lea river mark the annoying slope to the Aldaka neighborhood . Up here, 50 meters from the Camino, there is an 18th century hermitage of Santiago . Then the track continues to the right and as soon as we pass the high voltage line, without going out onto the BI-2224, we take the local track to the left and go down next to the Urnatei farmhouse . At this point we take a path that runs under thousands of volts and over a muddy area that is fed by several streams. Also further on, if they haven’t cleaned it, there is a section where we will remove brush to make our way. The route ends next to the Berriondo neighborhood, of the municipality of Mendata. Like many others, its founding origin was an ante -iglesia , in this case that of San Miguel Arcángel in the 10th century, which is nothing more than a dispersed community of neighbors that met in assembly around the parish church.
km 16.2. Berriondo
(Detour to the Mendata hostel a little further on. Nearby restaurant)
A local track leads to the BI-3224, which we follow to the Zarra neighborhood (Olabe). On the left is the detour to the Idazte Etxea de Mendata hostel! At this crossroads, ours turns to the right towards the Zarrabenta restaurant . Be careful because we do not continue along the road that is recommended for bikes. We cross the neighborhood, visiting the hermitage of San Pedro and San Cristóbal , rebuilt at the end of the 18th century and rehabilitated in 1878. We leave the nucleus, where we find the detour to the Montalbán tower , with a pentagonal plan, and we take the path that goes down and crosses the ancient oak grove shared between the municipalities of Mendata and Arratzu,one of the intact jewels of the Urdaibai Reserve . Further on, a well-recovered stretch of road passes over the medieval Artzubi bridge , which serves as a border between the two town councils. After crossing the river Gola we enter the neighborhood of Elexalde . Here we can see the church of Santo Tomás , which dominates the landscape of Arratzu. This temple, where the medieval road passed, stands out for its choir.
km 19.1. elexalde
Following the Way of the Cross we descend to the Gola River, with an old ironworks already in disuse since the 19th century, and we begin the steep climb to the Marmiz neighborhood (Km 20.3) . At the same entrance, instead of taking the BI-3224, we turn right next to a house and resume the climb, much more contained. We will leave the town behind to continue along a path that runs along the slopes of the Burgogana , between famous pine and eucalyptus, two fast-growing species that were introduced to the peninsula to the detriment of the native forests. This beautiful route falls to the municipality of Ajangiz , specifically to its neighborhood of Mendieta. It has been independent of Gernika since 1991. The impressiveNeoclassical Church of the Ascension is a work by Juan Bautista de Belaunzaran that his son finished in 1860.
Km 23. Ajangiz
From Ajangiz, all you have to do is continue along the road, cutting off one of the curves, and letting yourself go to Gernika. At the entrance, next to the stop on San Bartolomé street, we turn right and take Kortezubi bidea, the first one that comes out on our left. The youth hostel is 100 meters away.
Km 25. Gernika
(All services) In 2017, from August 1 to 31, the municipal shelter managed by the Association of Volunteer Hospitallers of the Camino de Santiago for Bizkaia opens!
Leg- breaker stage
Without being like the previous one, at this point no one is surprised by saw blade profiles. Except for the slopes to Aldaka and Marmiz, the second part is more bearable and we will also enjoy the descents.
Between Aldaka and Berriondo there is a good section where several streams flow and usually flood the Camino. Especially in spring and autumn, a pair of leggings, as in the Primitivo, are not superfluous in the backpack.
- The descent to Munitibar was conditioned, making it more beautiful and bearable.
Today we have restaurant services in all towns up to Munitibar, then in Olabe there is the Zarrabenta tavern with a large terrace, a good place to regain strength, and from there to Gernika practically nothing. 1.9 kilometers from Bolibar is the Baketxe Baserria lodging . They come to pick up the pilgrim at Bolibar itself or to Iruzubieta (price to be agreed). It has double rooms with two beds or a double bed. Check availability and prices on the Telephones: 639 76 00 51 or 659 72 01 37. The stage can be extended 5 kilometers to the Pozueta hostel, telephone 696 56 53 18, or another 5 kilometers to the Eskerika hostel, telephone 696 45 35 82. These options are interesting, especially if the next day you intend to go to Bilbao.
What to see, what to do
The municipality of Gernika-Lumo, with almost 17,000 inhabitants, results from the union in 1882 between the Villa and the Lumo parish church . It is well located at an important crossroads, forming part of the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve , the most important wetland in the Basque Country formed by the Oka River estuary . The town of Gernika was founded in 1366 by Count Don Tello and since then it has had the privilege of organizing a weekly market. It is celebrated on Mondays and its old festive character left a saying for posterity: “Gernikés Monday, golparik ez”. The villa is associated with one of Pablo Picasso’s best-known works, his Guernica, in which he depicted the brutal bombardment that German and Italian aviation inflicted on the town in April 1937.
Parish Church of Santa María
Located in the highest part of the town, construction began in 1418, in the Gothic style, and although they continued their work until 1625, it was not completed until 1715, the Renaissance period.
Convent of Santa Clara
The foundation as a beguinage of this Convent dates from time immemorial. It was established for the first time in the year 1422, taking its occupants the habit of the Third Order of San Francisco. In 1618 they made the closing vow and petition for an Abbess of the Order of Santa Clara as founder and reformer. The official act of Foundation was held on September 16, 1619. The building that currently houses the community of nuns of Santa Clara was built in 1880. This community has deep roots and tradition in the town of Gernika and throughout Vizcaya .
Old Hospital del Señorío
Connected to the Convent of Santa Clara by a semicircular arch . It was ordered to be built by the Corregidor D. Gonzalo Moro. In 1636, the Señorío ceded it to the nuns of Santa Clara for lodging of their vicar, although conserving the patronage. Today only the very renovated building remains.
Palacio de Alegría
It was completely rebuilt in the middle of the s. XVIII, on the old site, of which only an arrow slit and a window remain. It develops the characteristics of the Baroque style in the urban environment : ashlar stone façade, lattice balconies and the Allende Salazar family coat of arms.
Old House of Meetings
Built in the 19th century (1826-33) by D. Antonio de Echevarría in the purest neoclassical style, the building has as its nucleus the Church of Sta. María la Antigua, current Plenary Hall of the Meetings Generals of Vizcaya.
Park of the Peoples of Europe
It houses the sculptures of Chillida (“Gure Aitaren Etxea”), Henry Moore (“Great figure in a Refuge”) and the bust of Humboldt. This park, inaugurated in October 1991, houses an interesting variety of trees and shrubs in its four clearly differentiated sectors in terms of structure and composition.
Peace Monument. “Gure Aitaren Etxea”
by the sculptor Eduardo Chillida: It was inaugurated on April 27, 1988, commissioned by the Basque Government, to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Bombing of Gernika. The title of the work means “The House of Our Father”, it is a monument to peace and is oriented towards the Tree, a symbol of tradition and our history.
Gernika Peace Museum Foundation
Museum on the history of Gernika. The exhibitions on display give us a vision of what Gernika represents throughout its history for all Basques (Democracy, Fueros, Libertad) and what it symbolizes today worldwide (Human Rights, Peace,…).
“Guernica” (P. Picasso)
It is a handmade reproduction that faithfully represents the composition made by Pablo Picasso after learning of the bombing of Gernika on April 26, 1937. The inscription “Guernica Gernikara” has been added to the Picassian work on the lower edge. His presence has a testimonial value of a popular social request.
. After the rest and the cultural visit there is still time, it would be more, to correspond to a needy stomach. The sweetest palates can find solace in a Gernika cake , with frangipani and grilled puff pastry, or in the dark chocolate and white chocolate pastries known as Ori-Baltzak .