Santander City Hike.

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Santander, the capital of Cantabria, population 178,465, is one of the major cities of Northern Spain. I’ve been a few times, and I was ready to visit it again while on my way to Asturias to renew my visa. It was cheaper to fly Ryan Air to Santander from Valencia and then catch a BlaBlaCar to Oviedo. Santander, la capital de Cantabria, población 178,465, es una de las ciudades más importantes del norte de España. He estado varias veces, y estaba listo visitarla otra vez durante mi viaje a Asturias para renovar el visado. Era más barato volar con Ryan Air a Santander desde Valencia y después coger un BlaBlaCar a Oviedo. 

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I had a few hours to kill, so I decided to do what I call a city-hike. The Magdalena Peninsula is about 3 kilometres from the bus station. The peninsula is home to the Palacio de la Magdalena, the former summer residence of King Alfonso XIII and an open air “zoo” where you can see penguins, sea lions and seals. Tenía unas horas para perder, y decidí hacer lo que llamo una ruta de ciudad, “city hike”. La Península Magdalena esta a unos 3 kilómetros de la estación de autobuses. La península tiene el Palacio de la Magdalena, la residencia de verano del Rey Alfonso XIII y también tiene un zoo de aire libre donde se puede ver pingüinos, leones marinos y focas. 

I was lucky and arrived to the peninsula just as they were feeding the sea lions and stuck around to see the feeding of the penguins. The sea lions and seals are fed at 17.00 every day except Monday, whereas the penguins eat around 12.00 and 17.30. The penguins were being lazy, and a seagull absconded with one of their fish. Tenía suerte y llegué a la península justo cuando estaban alimentando los leones marinos y me quedé para ver la alimentación de los pingüinos. Alimentan a los leones mariono a las 17 todos los días menos lunes, mientras alimentan a los pingüinos dos veces al día, sobre las 12.00 y las 17.30. Los pingüinos eran vagos, y una gaviota les robó un pescado que era su comida. 

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I had an ice cream, probably one of the few I’ll eat this summer (I try to avoid it because I gain weight very easily). I seem to always have an ice cream in Santander. Tomé un helado, que no suelo hacer porque me engordo fácilmente. Siempre tomo helado en Santander, no sé porque.

The walk back seemed to go by quicker. La vuelta me pasó más rápido que la ida.

It’s an easy walk. Just head along the coast of the bay, say “buen Camino” to any peregrinos passing by, and head along Avenida Reina Victoria or along the beach to the peninsula. Es un camino fácil. Caminas por la costa de la bahía, dices “buen Camino” a los peregrinos que puedes ver, y sigues por la Avenida Reina Victora o por la playa hasta la península. 

Hike #20/40 of 2017
Date/Fecha: 1 de junio de 2017
Kilometres hiked:  6. All pavement/sidewalks/todo acera. 
Mountain/Route: Santander Bus Station to Magdalena and back
Difficulty: Easy/Fácil 

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Camino de Santiago (Camino del Norte) Etapa 17. San Vicente de la Barquera-Pendueles.

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Puxa Asturias!

Two comunidades autónomas down, two to go! Three provinces down, three to go! Ya he cruzado dos comunidades autónomas, y me quedan dos más. Tres provincias hechas, y me quedan tres más.

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On my fourth day of the Camino del Norte Adventure 2016, I woke up early, as usual. I had read that the Camino del Norte got off to a later start. This was lies. You were sleeping in if you were still asleep at 7:00 most days. I think I left around 7:15 again and saw a beautiful sunrise. I stopped in for a quick café con leche at a bar that was open, as the albergue didn’t have much, and they didn’t have tostadas, so I had a “corbata” (tie), which is a speciality of this part of Cantabria (even more in Unquera, which I would later pass).  Corbatas are a pastry with a sugary and nutty top in the form of, you guessed it: a tie. I was super sad to say goodbye to San Vicente and vowed to return one day. El cuatro día de mi Aventura del Camino del Norte 2016, me desperté pronto, como siempre. Había leído que por el Camino del Norte, los peregrinos empiezan sus días más tarde, pero era MENTIRA. Estabas durmiendo tarde si todavía estabas durmiendo a las 7 usualmente. Creo que salí sobre las 7.15 otra vez, y vi una alba preciosa. Paré para desayunar (había poca cosa en el albergue) pero no había tostadas. Desayuné una “corbata”, un pastel típica de esta parte de Cantabria (sobretodo en Unquera) con mi café con leche. Tiene un forma de corbata y tiene hojaldre, azúcar y almendres. Estaba triste despedirme a San Vicente y me prometí volver un día.

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As usual, the road went through some country. I got distracted by chatting in Italian with some bike pilgrims and missed an easy-to-miss arrow in the first village past S. Vicente, La Acebosa. It has 184 residents and is part of San Vicente. An older man and his son redirected me, and I saw the first of many hills I would have to climb that day. Como siempre, la carretera fue por el campo. Me distraje charlando con unos peregrinos de bici italianos y perdí una flecha (que no era nada obvia) en el primer pueblo después de S. Vicente, La Acebosa. Tiene 184 residentes y es un aldea de San Vicente. Un señor mayor y su hijo me redirigieron, y vi el primer monte de muchos que tendría que subir este día. 

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It was worth the climb when I saw the beautiful views, and it was off-road hiking! Wooo! The Picos de Europa mountains were all around. I stopped in Serbio for my coffee at a bar that was just opening up. Had I walked on a bit further, I would’ve found a bigger bar with probably friendlier service, but I like the smaller places. I don’t blame her for being in a bad mood first thing in the morning at all. A man at the Torre (Tower) de Estrada stamped my credentials and offered me some cold water for my random act of kindness from strangers for the day. La subida valió la pena cuando vi las vistas bonitas, y no era por la carretera. ¡Olé! Los Picos de Europa estaban por todos los lados. Paré en Serbio para otro café en un bar que apenas había abierto. Si hubiera caminado un poco más, habría encontrado un bar más grande con mejor servicio. Pero bueno, me gustan los sitios más pequeños y entiendo como es ser en mal humor por la mañana. Un hombre en el Torre de Estrada me selló las credenciales y me ofreció agua fría para mi bondad de desconocidos por el día. 

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I was happy to reach Unquera, which reminded me of a US Western town, stretched out in the mountains. There was little there. I stopped for a croissant to give me energy to reach the next town in Asturias a few kilometres away. One thing I will note for future peregrinos. Unquera is listed as an end of etapa in many guides, including Eroski, but there is no albergue here. There is one in Colombres, the first village in Asturias. Estaba contento llegar a Unquera, que me recordaba de un pueblo del oeste en los EEUU, un pueblo estirado por los montes con poca cosa. Paré para comprar un cruasán para darme energia para llegar al próximo pueblo a unos kilómetros de distancia. Una cosa quiero decir a los peregrinos futuros. Aunque muchos guías (incluso Eroski) pone Unquera como un final de etapa, no hay ningún albergue aquí. Hay uno en Colombres, el primer pueblo en Asturias. 

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I was hoping for a sign between the border between Asturias and Cantabria, but I didn’t see any. What greeted me was a long climb up a mountain that offered incredible views. The clouds were coming in though. I walked with a German couple from Munich for a while before they stopped for groceries in Colombres. I stopped in for a café con leche. A few minutes later, it started raining. Great. By the time the Germans helped me get my backpack poncho on, the rain had stopped. Esperaba ver un marcador entre la frontera de Asturias y Cantabria, pero no vi ninguno. Que me dio el bienvenido a Asturias era una subida grande de un monte que ofreció vistas impresionantes de los Picos de Europa. Sin embargo, los nubes estaban llegando. Caminé con una pareja alemana de Munich un rato antes de ellos paraban en un supermercado en Colombres mientras yo iba a tomar un café con leche. Unos minutos después, empezó a llover. Genial. Cuando los alemanes me ayudaron poner el chubasquero de mochila, la lluvia había parado ya. 

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I wish I had stayed with them a bit longer only because I missed another arrow and walked down a hill right after Colombres. When I saw no arrow and saw them going a different way, I cursed myself, I cursed my unreliable mobile, and I cursed the Camino. Up the hill I went again, but the path walking was so much better than the road. Ojalá hubiera quedado más tiempo con ellos porque perdí otra flecha y bajé un pendiente justo después de Colombres. Cuando no vi ninguna flecha y les vi yendo por otra dirección, me maldije a mi mismo, maldije al móvil con malas direcciones, y maldije al Camino. Otra vez subí el pendiente, pero el sendero era mucho mejor que la carretera. 

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I had a choice between walking a long way around to an ermita (hermitage) or a shorter trip. I went for the shorter one. I saw a lot of beautiful views, but I was really tired and getting a headache and couldn’t care less. I passed La Franca, where they had told me by e-mail was full, I passed Buelna and their albergue with a sauna, and I went to Pendueles, where I had read had a really nice albergue. El Camino me dio la opción entre caminar mucho para ver una ermita o una ruta más corta. Fui con la ruta más corta. Vi muchas vistas bonitas, pero estaba bastante cansado y tenía un dolor de cabeza y no me importaba mucho. Pasé La Franca, donde me dijeron por e-mail que estaba completo. Pasé Buelna y su albergue con una sauna, y fui a Pendueles, un pueblo donde me dicen que había un albergue chulo. 

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It was true. The donativo albergue Aves de Paso was super nice with a log cabin motif. I saw some peregrinos I had seen before and met a really cool French guy and a girl from Madrid, who had the word’s biggest blister. Of course, I would lose the ones I got on super well with and see the ones that got on my nerves every single day. (They were at the same albergue again, what were the odds?) Me dijeron la verdad. El albergue (donativo) Aves de Paso era genial y pareció como una cabaña del bosque. Vi unos peregrinos que había visto antes, y conocí a un peregrino francés y una madrileña, que tenía la ampolla más grande el mundo. Claro, nunca volví a ver los peregrinos con quien me llevaba bastante bien, y vi a los peregrinos pesados todos los días. (Estaban en el mismo albergue otra vez.)

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Pendueles had two bars, and it wasn’t too far from the beach. Even after a siesta and taking a break to write in my travel journal, I was too tired to find the beach. Había dos bares en Pendueles, y no estaba lejos de la playa. Aunque me echaba una siesta y me descansé aún más para escribir en mi diario de viajes, estaba demasiado cansado para buscar la playa. 

That evening, there was a dinner included. I love it when the albergues provide dinner as it gives us peregrinos a chance to connect. After a long day’s walk, it is really nice to sit down to a yummy dinner of lentils, pasta salad, yoghurt and wine. A las 20.00, había una cena incluida. Me encantan los albergues que dan una cena porque nos da a los peregrinos una oportunidad conocernos mejor. Después de un día largo de caminar, es muy bien sentarse a una cena rica de lentejas, ensalada de pasta, yogur y vino.

I went to bed content, ready for the next day’s adventure. Me fui a la cama contento, listo para las aventuras del día siguente. 

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A continuación.

Hike #19/40 of 2016
Date/Fecha: 19-08-2016
Kilometres hiked:  25 
Mountain:  I don’t know the names, but there were two, one after San Vicente (La Acebosa) and the one before Colombres in Asturias.
Difficulty: Moderate-toward-difficult. It was the first day I was absolutely knackered.       DSCN3442

 

 

Camino de Santiago (Camino del Norte) Etapa 16. Cóbreces-San Vicente de la Barquera.

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While I was planning my Camino etapas (which all went to hell when I actually started the Camino, of course), I planned around a night in San Vicente de la Barquera (to be abbreviated S. Vicente). I had heard many good things about this town during my entire northern stay, but I was saving it for the Camino. I’m glad I experienced it for the first time along the Camino del Norte. Cuando estaba planificando mis etapas del Camino (que, claro, después de empezarlo, no hice ningún caso), planificaba todo sobre quedarme una noche en San Vicente de la Barquera (S. Vicente). Todo el mundo me ha hablado bien de este pueblo durante mis años viviendo en el norte, pero quería descubrirlo por el Camino del Norte.

I’m getting ahead of myself. Me adelanto. 

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At breakfast, Raúl the hospitalero took a look at me and told me to take the alternativa route as I looked too tired for the coastal. I was a bit disappointed, but as usual, the Camino gave me what I needed. I headed off about 7:15 and debated on going the official route by the coast. I had seen part of it by the beach, and the idea of walking through a forest was appealing to me for a change. It was also a grey day. En el desayuno, Raúl el hospitalero me miró y me avisó tomar la alternativa al Camino como pensaba que estaba demasiado cansado para hacer la ruta por la costa. Estaba un poco decepcionado escuchar eso, pero como siempre, el Camino me dio lo que me hacía falta. Salí sobre las 7:15 y pensaba en hacer la ruta oficial por la costa. He visto una parte cuando fui a la playa, y me apetecía más caminar por un bosque por un cambio. También era un día gris.

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The first thing I saw was a peregrino monument next to the church. Things were going well already. I had shaken off the depression from the night before. It was a new day. La primera cosa que vi era un monumento de peregrinos a lado de la iglesia. Las cosas ya iban bien. Ya no estaba de bajón como la noche anterior. Era un día nuevo. 

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The Camino took me through about 2 kilometres of path walking, and I did see the sea. The morning was very grey, so I didn’t feel bad about missing the coast which I do love. I had been thinking of stopping in Comillas, but I decided along the way that S. Vicente was feasible instead of stopping in La Revilla as I had planned. El Camino me llevó por dos kilometros de sendero, y podía ver el mar. Como era una mañana tan gris, no me sabía mal de perder la costa, que me encanta. He estado pensando en parar en Comillas o La Revilla, pero por el Camino (¡doble sentido!) que sí, podía llegar hasta S. Vicente. 

I had left my walking sticks back at the first albergue, and I found I didn’t need them. I  hope some other peregrino/a found them and could use them. I also forgot to mention about the señora who made me sit down so she could talk for about 10 minutes the day before. I found these notes in my travel journal, and they bear mention here. Today, my random kindness from stranger was a family from Madrid who asked me to take their photo in front of their summer house in the village of Concha (this should get some hits from South America now). They treated me to some cheese from Cóbreces and a nice, cold glass of water. No he mencionando antes, pero cuando me leí mi diario de viaje personal, me acordé que he dejado mis bastones en el primer albergue. Me descubrí que no hacía falta. Espero que un peregrino que los necesitaba los haya encontrado. También no he hablado de la señora que me pidió sentarme un rato y escucharle durante unos 10 minutos de su vida en el pueblo. Hoy, mi bondad de desconocidos vino de una familia madrileña que me pidió sacar su foto enfrente de su casa de verano en el pueblo de Concha (ya va a aumentar mis vistas de América del Sur). Me invitó a queso de Cóbreces y un vaso de agua fría. 

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The village of Concha is smaller and to me, prettier than Santillana del Mar. With only 37 residents and it being technically a part of the bigger Ruiloba, it’s not surprising it doesn’t get the attention as the village of three lies. El pueblo de Concha es mucho más pequeño y menos conocido pero para mi, era más bonito que Santilla del Mar. Solo cuenta con 37 habitantes y como forma parte de Ruiloba, no reciba nada del fama del pueblo de tres mentiras. 

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La Iglesia was another nice village along the way. It is famous for its church (for non-Spanish speakers, “iglesia” means “church”, and Enrique Iglesias is Henry Churches in English. The things lost in translation. La Iglesia era otro pueblo bonito por el Camino, y como ya imagináis, es conocido por su iglesia. 

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I was a bit disappointed in Comillas this time around. I had visited it in 2010 and loved it, but this time, I only found rude people and tourists. The sun was starting to peak out around the corner. I did enjoy seeing Gaudí’s Capricho along the way though. Esta vez, Comillas me decepcionó algo. Lo había visitado antes en 2010 y me encantó, pero esta vez solo encontré gente borde y turistas. Pero el sol estaba apareciendo entre los nubes un poco, y disfruté de ver El Capricho de Gaudí.

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The Camino took me through some cliffs, so I did get some coastal views along the way. Most of the Camino was along a road. I stopped in La Rabia for a bad café con leche and their wifi was broken. Bad day for wifi. El Camino me llevó por unos acantilados, y tenía unas vistas del mar. La mayoría del Camino era de carretera. Paré en La Rabia en su único café y el café con leche estaba mal y el wifi estropeado. Era un mal día por wifi.

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I arrived to S. Vicente and fell in love immediately. The first views were breathtaking, and as I crossed the bridge into town, a golden retriever decided to greet me. A good omen. I dropped my bags off at the albergue, which was horrible. The worst albergue of the journey. The hospitaleras didn’t care about the peregrinos, yelled at us for arriving early (it opens at 15.30) and just was a bad experience. The showers were dingy (only two worked) and the beds were uncomfortable and old. I later would find out that it beat the one in Comillas as at least it didn’t have bed bugs! Llegué a S. Vicente y me encantó de primera vista. Las primeras vistas del pueblo eran impresionantes, y cuando crucé el puente, un golden retriever me dio el bienvenido a su pueblo. Un buen señal. Dejé mi mochila en el albergue, que era horrible y el peor albergue del viaje. A las hospitaleras no les importaban los peregrinos, echándonos la bronca por llegar pronto (se abre a las 15.30) y era una experiencia mala en general. Las duchas eran sucios (y solo dos funcionaban) y las camas incómodos y viejos. ¡Al menos no tenía chinches como el albergue en Comillas!

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I went for a menú del día and wifi to kill time. The dessert was “tarta de sobao”, which is typical in Cantabria. I met someone from Logroño who I saw the day before passing through Cóbreces. We decided that we were friends and took the smaller room within the huge room of bunk beds.  The price is 10€, highway robbery for the services offered. Fuí por un menú del día y wifi para perder tiempo. Para postre había “tarta de sobao”, un postre típico de Cantabria. Conocí un chico de Logroño quien había visto el día anterior cuando él estaba pasando por Cóbreces. Decidimos que éramos amigos para aprovechar de la habitación más pequeña (solo dos literas) dentro de la habitación grande llena de literas.  El precio es 10€, un timo para los servicios ofrecidos. (Nada de nada.)

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I explored the village. The King’s Castle, the sea, the river, the bridge, the village of 4412 residents itself. All are incredible. Exploré el pueblo. El Castillo del Rey, el mar, la ría, el puente, todo el pueblo de 4412 habitantes.

The peregrino from Logroño and I drank wine and watched the sunset. I was starting to make friends on the Camino. El peregrino de Logroño y yo tomamos vino y miramos la puesta del sol. Estaba empezando a hacer buenas migas en el Camino.

It was the best day yet on the Camino de Santiago. I can’t wait to visit San Vicente de la Barquera again. Era el mejor día del Camino de Santiago hasta entonces. Ya no puedo esperar visitar San Vicente de la Barquera otra vez.

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A continación…

Hike #18/40 of 2016
Date/Fecha: 18-08-2016
Kilometres hiked: 21-23. I’m not sure. I didn’t write it down and am relying on Google Maps!
Mountain:  No mountains, but a few pendientes (slopes), especially right before arriving in San Vicente de la Barquera.
Difficulty: Moderate

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Camino de Santiago (Camino del Norte) Etapa 15. Barreda-Cóbreces

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I cheated. Hice trampa. 

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The hospitaleras told me it wasn’t really cheating, especially as I’ve taken all three ways out of Bilbao which more than make up for the missing kilometres, and it was the right decision. I was still going to walk quite a lot that day, and this would give me a better opportunity to see places along the way. I would just be missing industrial road walking. Las hospitaleras me dijieron que no era “hacer trampa”, especialmente como he caminado las tres salidas de Bilbao que más de sobran los kilometros que perdí, y era la decisión correcta. Todavía iba a caminar bastante este día, y me daría una mejor oportunidad para ver sitios por el Camino. Iba a perder la carretera por zonas industriales. 

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But I still feel a bit guilty about taking the train from Boo de Piélagos to Barreda instead of Mogro, the stop on the other side of the non-pedestrian bridge between Boo de Piélagos and Mogro. The other option is to walk way out of my way to Arce, which I know a few people did. Todavía me sabe mal porque cogí el tren de Boo de Piélagos a Barreda en lugar de Mogro, la parada por el otro lado del puente donde los peatones no pueden cruzar entre Boo y Mogro. La otra opción es caminar hasta Arce, que algunas personas hicieron. 

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After the cold coffee and yummy croissant at the albergue, I took my selfie of the day (so I know what day was what on the camera) and caught the 7:40 train with the inglesa. We said goodbye when she got off in Mogro, and 10 minutes later I got off at Barreda. The day before, I hadn’t been caught when I went to Mogro for my café con leche and didn’t pay, but the ticket inspector was on so I gladly paid 1,90€ (I think it was). Después del café frío y cruasán rico del albergue, me hico el selfie del día (para saber cual día es cual en la cámara) y cogí el tren a las 7:40 con la inglesa. Nos despedimos cuando bajó en Mogro, y 10 minutos después bajé yo en Barreda. El día antes, no me pillaron cuando fui a Mogro para tomar un café con leche y no pagué, pero el inspector estaba, y pagué 1,90 sin problema por el billete. 

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I immediately found the bridge and the yellow arrows, and I started walking. The day was still grey. Most of the road walking was on a sidewalk, and I walked through a lot of residential neighbourhoods and backroads. There were more cornfields and cows to make me feel as if I were in Ohio, not Cantabria. Encontré el puente y flechas amarillas sin problemas y empecé a caminar. El día estaba gris todavía. La mayoría del Camino era por acera o carretera, y caminé por zonas residenciales y las carreteras antiguos. Había tantos campos de maíz y vacas para hacerme sentir como si estuviera en Ohio, no Cantabria. 

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Around 9:30, I arrived to Santillana del Mar, the town of three lies, as it is neither named for a saint, is not plain and is not on the sea.  In 2008, the town had 4049 residents. It’s famous throughout Spain for being one of the most beautiful villages. When I visited in 2010, I thought it was a bit overrated. When I arrived this year, it was still opening up. I had to search for an open café. A nice shop owner let me buy my mom some post cards while he was still opening up. Sobre las 9.30, llegué a Santillana del Mar, el pueblo de tres mentiras, como ni hay santo ni es llano ni está por el mar. En 2008, había 4049 habitantes. Es conocido en todo de España como uno de los pueblos más bonitos. Cuando visité en 2010, pensaba que era sobrevalorado. Cuando llegué este año, todo todavía estaba cerrado. Tenía que buscar mucho para encontrar un café abierto. Un dueño de tienda me dejó comprarle a mi madre unos postales aunque no estaba abierto oficialmente. 

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I found the café in Plaza Mayor. 3€ for my café con leche and tostada con tomate. Highway robbery! At least they had wifi. The Camino was better marked than the Eroski web site had warned about, and I found my way out of town before the tourists arrived. Encontré el café en Plaza Mayor. Me costaron 3 € el café con leche y tostada con tomate. Vaya timo. Al menos tenía wifi. El Camino estaba mejor señalado que la página de Eroski me avisó, y encontré la salida antes de los turistas llegaron. 

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I got some path walking as a reward, but not for too long, of course. An hour or so later, I stopped at another bar for another coffee and played with their cute bulldog. I didn’t see that many pilgrims. Había una parte pequeña de ruta como premio después de Santillana, pero el premio era breve, claro. Una hora después, paré para otro café y para conocer un bulldog mono. No vi a muchos peregrinos. 

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After the bar, I saw a beautiful church in the distance (San Pedro). I hoped that I would get to walk by it, and the Camino provided me with a route that went right by it (Hi there The Camino Provides!) Después del bar, vi una iglesia bonita en la distancia (San Pedro). Esperaba que iba a pasar por ella, y el Camino me permitió con una ruta que pasaba a lado de la iglesia. 

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The views were really nice, and there was another beautiful church in Cigüenza, the last village before Cóbreces. I stopped and chatted with a German peregrina for a while by the church. Las vistas eran guapas, y había otra iglesia bonita en Cïguenza, el último pueblo antes de Cóbreces. Paré para charlar un rato con una peregrina alemana a lado de la iglesia.

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An hour or later, I finally arrived to Cóbreces. The first albergue was booked up, so I stayed at Albergue Viejo Lucas, named for a dog. Raúl, the hospitalero, was very nice and welcoming. We talked about the various ways out of Cóbreces, and he told me he would advise me which to take when I woke up the next morning. The showers weren’t the best, but the beds were nice, the wifi worked well and there were lots of plug-ins to recharge. The albergue was 14€ and once was a boarding school. Una hora después, llegué a Cóbreces, por fin. El primer albergue ya estaba a tope, y me alojé en Albergue Viejo Lucas, nombrado por un perro. Raúl, el hospitalero, era muy majo y acogedor. Hablamos de los varios Caminos que salen de Cóbreces, y me dijo que ya me avisará cual camino coger el día siguente. Las duchas no era nada del otro mundo, pero las camas eran cómodas, el wifi funcionaba bien y había muchos enchufes (como si estuviera en Moncloa) El albergue costó 14€ y antes era un internado. 

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I had lunch next door, showered, slept and went to the beach another 1.7 kilometres away to write in my travel journal and wade in the ocean. It was cold. I had to hightail it back to the albergue as the clouds came in. It eventually started raining. Comí en el bar a lado, me duché, eché una siesta y fui a la playa que estaba a 1,7 kilómetros del albergue para escribir en mi diario de viajes y meter los pies en el agua. Estaba muy frío. Tenía que ir con prisa al albergue cuando vi nubes llegando. Después, llovió. 

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That evening, as I had a great plate of patatas bravas, I felt an incredible wave of loneliness wash over me. Everyone seemed to already be in what they called a “Camino Family”, and here I was, alone and eating too many carbs at a restaurant watching the rain outside. The moment would pass, but I went to bed questioning just exactly what I was doing on the Camino in the first place. Por la tarde, cené una ración gigante de patatas bravas, me sentía bastante solo. Todos me parecieron tener su familia del Camino ya, y yo iba solo, comiendo demasiados carbohidratos en un restaurante viendo la lluvia. El momento ya me pasará, pero me fui a la cama preguntándome que estaba haciendo en el Camino. 

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A continuación…

PS: Something I forgot to mention. It was my two-year anniversary of my first day on the Camino del Norte.
PD: Se me ha ido mencionar que era el segundo aniversario de mi primer día en el Camino del Norte.

Hike #17/40 of 2016
Date/Fecha: 17-08-2016
Kilometres hiked: 18
Mountain:  No mountains, but a few pendientes (slopes), especially out of Santillana del Mar
Difficulty: Easy-moderate (for being Camino)

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The Road to Santander.

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It seems all summer I’ve been crisscrossing Spain, back and forth between the North and Valencia. On Sunday, August 14, I woke up with butterflies in my stomach. I grabbed my backpack and went to meet my BlaBlaCar driver at 10:30 for the drive to Santander, once again travelling across The Greatest Peninsula in the World to the North. But this time was different. Parece que todo el verano estaba cruzando España, yendo y viniendo desde el Norte y Valencia. Un domingo, el 14 de agosto, me desperté nervioso y emocionado. Cogí mi mochila y fui al punto de encuentro con el conductor de BlaBlaCar a las 10.30 para el viaje a Santander, otra vez cruzando la mejor península del mundo al Norte. Pero esta vez era diferente.

I was headed to begin my Camino del Norte Adventure 2016. Estaba al punto del embarque de mi Aventura del Camino del Norte 2016.

The drive was entertaining. The driver was friendly I read The Life and Death of Charlie St. Cloud and started Wild by Cheryl Strayed.  (I read quickly) We stopped at a village north of Madrid for a nice lunch, and we arrived to Santander an hour early. I stopped for a café so I could grab wifi to let my AirBNB host know I arrived early. No problem! Lo pasé bien durante el viaje. El conductor era majo. Leí La vida y muerte de Charlie St. Cloud y empecé Wild (Alma Salvaje) de Cheryl Strayed. (Leo rápido). Paramos en un pueblo en el norte de Madrid para una buena comida, y llegamos a Santander una hora antes de la hora anticipada. Me paré en un café para usar su wifi para avisar mi anfitriona que he llegado pronto. ¡No problema!

The AirBNB was very welcoming (if anyone is going to Santander, let me know and I’ll pass you the link so you can stay). I walked along the Maritime Path to the Raqueros, the famous statues jumping into the bay, and enjoyed the sunset. La anfitriona era muy acogedora (si alguien va a visitar Santander, avísame y te pasaré el enlace para que puedas alojarte con ella). Paseé por el Paseo Marítimo hasta los Raqueros, los estatuas famosas saltando a la bahía, y disfruté de la puesta del sol. 

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Monday morning. I wanted time to explore Santander a bit more. I had been to the Cantabrian capital of 178,465 (2013 figures)  a few times, but I wanted to return to the Magdalena Peninsula again. My host told me how to get to the Cabo Mayor lighthouse, and I caught the bus to the Sardinero beach, had my café con leche and went on my way walking along the coast to reach the lighthouse. Lunes por la mañana. Quería más tiempo para explorar Santander. Había visitado la capital de Cantabria (178,456 personas) algunas veces pero quería volver a la península Magdalena otra vez. La anfitriona me dijo como llegar al faro de Cabo Mayor, y cogí el autobus hasta la playa Sardinero, tomé un café con leche y fui a pasar por la costa hasta el faro. 

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It’s not a long hike, but as I’m not even halfway to my goal of 40 hikes in 2016, I’m counting it! I cut through a beautiful park as I wanted to try to rest before my big Camino the next day. About three kilometres later, I arrived to the lighthouse. I was going to have another coffee (I know I have a problem, but I also get glasses of water with them to keep hydrated), but a tour bus arrived, so I went along the coast back to the Sardinero, amazed by the views of the Cantabrian Sea and the Cantabrian Capital. No es una ruta muy larga, pero como todavía no he llegado a la mitad de mi reto de 40 rutas en 2016, cuenta. Tomé un atajo por un parque precioso porque quería descansar algo antes de empezar el Camino el día siguente. Unos tres kilometros después, llegué al faro. Iba a tomar otro café con leche (sé que tengo un problema, pero oye, también pido un vasito de agua para no deshidratar), pero un autobús de turistas llegó, y volví por la costa hasta el Sardinero, asombrado por las vistas del Mar Cantábrico y la capital Cantábrico. 

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Next was the Magdalena peninsula. I caught a bus to save a kilometre or two (the horror), and I went to the zoo, hoping to see the penguins. It was 30ºC (86ºF), which for the North of Spain, is a burning inferno, so all the penguins and sea lions were hiding. Grrrr. The peninsula is as beautiful as I remembered. Después, fui a la Península Magdalena. Cogí un autobús para ahorrar un kilometro o dos (que horror) y fui al zoo, esperando ver los pingüinos. Hizo unos 30 grados, y para el Norte de España, es un infierno, entonces todos los pingüinos y leones de mar estaban escondiendo. La península era tan bonita como recordaba. 

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I had a cheap menú del día in the centre of the city and tried to rest a bit. There’s no rest for the wicked. I went to visit the Barrio Pesquero (Fishing District) and roamed the streets for a bit. I tried picking up a new credential for the Camino as mine is getting to be filled up with stamps, but as it was a Spanish holiday, they were always in mass. Comí un menú del día barato en el centro y intenté descansar un rato. No hay descanso para los malvados. Fui a pasear por el Barrio Pesquero y las calles. Iba a coger credenciales nuevas como las mías están llenas de sellos, pero como era un festivo español, siempre estaban en misa. 

I capped the evening off with another visit to the Raqueros and writing in my travel journal, excited but nervous for the next day to arrive. Terminé la tarde con otra visita a los Raqueros y escribiendo en mi diario de viajes, emocionado pero nervios para el próximo día.

I barely slept a wink that night. Apenas dormí esta noche. 

Hike #15/40 of 2016
Date/Fecha: 15-08-2016
Kilometres hiked: Around 6. Short hike!
Mountain: No Mountain. Cabo Mayor (Major Cape).
Difficulty: Easy

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My last morning in Castro.

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I’ve been to Castro a few times before, and I wanted to go one last time before leaving the Bilbao area at the end of June. It’s an amazingly beautiful Cantabrian village (32,000 residentes so technically a city!) that doubles in size in the summer located closer to Bilbao than province capital Santander. He estado en Castro muchas veces antes, y quería ir una última vez antes de marcharme de Gran Bilbao al finales de junio. Es un pueblo precioso (32.000 habitantes, entonces ciudad) que doble en población en el verano. Está más cerca a Bilbao que la capital de la provincia, Santander.

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It’s a half hour bus ride from Bilbao, and I went one Wednesday morning with a friend to go exploring. I’m glad I went with him, because he showed me a part of the town I had never seen before. Está a una media hora desde Bilbao, y fui un miércoles por la mañana con un amigo para explorar. Me alegro haber ido con él porque me enseñó una parte del pueblo que no había visto antes. 

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We got off in the centre of town and went walking west. I saw part of it on my Camino last year. My friend took me past the beach to where there was an old Roman bridge and beautiful views of Castro. We climbed some stairs to follow the path along the cliffs. The Camino heads to the interior for a while, so I hadn’t seen this part before. Bajamos del autobús (hay uno cada media hora desde Bilbao) y caminamos hacía el oeste. Había visto un poco antes cuando hice el Camino el año pasado. Mi amigo me llevó por la playa hasta un puente romano y vistas bonitas de Castro. Subimos las escaleras para seguir una ruta por los acantilados. El Camino va por el interior, y por eso no había visto esta parte antes. 

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The views were spectacular. I was impressed. We walked for a while, admiring the cliffs and the Cantabrian morning vistas before heading back to town. We stopped on the beach for a while and had a relaxing iced café con leche on a terrace overlooking the sea. Las vistas eran espectaculares e impresionantes. Caminamos un rato, mirando los acantilados y las vistas del Mar Cantábrico antes de volver al pueblo. Paramos en la playa un rato y tomamos un relaxing café con leche con hielo en una terraza por el mar. 

It was a great farewell to such a beautiful town.  Era una buena despedida a un pueblo precioso. 
Hike #11/40
Date: 8-junio-2016
Kilometres: 6-8 in total.
Location: Castro Urdiales, Cantabria

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Laredo in November. Spain is different.

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When it suddenly is 27º C (80ºF) in the middle of November, one forgets about their quest for beautiful fall foliage and heads to the beach. Ever since stumbling back into Laredo on the Camino de Santiago del Norte in July, I’ve been wanting to spend some time in this quaint Cantabrian costal village, and on a beautiful November Sunday, I seized my opportunity. Cuando de repente hace 27 grados en pleno noviembre, uno se olvida sobre su misión para ver las hojas bonitas del otoño y va a la playa. Desde que he llegado a Laredo en el Camino de Santiago del Norte en julio, he querido pasar más tiempo en este pueblo pintoresco en el mar Cantábrico, y una tarde dominguera de noviembre, aproveché.

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Located 43 kilometres from Bilbao (60 by highway) and 31 from Santander (48 by highway and two days for most Camino pilgrims), Laredo is popular in the summer with the citizens of Bilbao due to its 5 kilometre long beach and cheaper housing than Bilbao. Buses run several times a day from Bilbao and Santander to the town of 12, 700 inhabitants. It has a charming historic centre and is surrounded by mountains. In the year 1200, it was the third population in Cantabria to receive the distinction “villa”. It is also the namesake for that town in Texas. Ubicado unos 43 kilometros de Bilbao (60 por carretera) y 31 de Santander (48 por carretera/dos días para la mayoria de peregrinos del Camino), Laredo es popular con los bilbaínos en el verano por su playa de 5 kilometros y casas más baratas que Bilbao. Hay varios autobuses de Bilbao y Santander al pueblo de 12.700 habitantes. Tiene un casco viejo encantandor y montes al alrededor. En el año 1200, era la tercera población cantábrica para recibir la distinción “villa”.  También tiene su tocayo Laredo en Texas.

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My first time visiting Laredo, I didn’t leave with a very good impression. The November 2013 rain was coming in (it rained the entire month of November, I remember), so I escaped right before a downpour. I walked to the church and onto the top of the mountain to appreciate the views of the beach, which were nice, and went through a tunnel to a cove.  La primera vez que visité Laredo, no me dio una buena impresión. La lluvia del noviembre 2013 estaba a punto de llegar (llovió todo el mes de noviembre, recuerdo muy bien), y me escapé justo antes de un chapparón. Caminé a una iglesia y al cima del monte a lado para admirar las vistas bonitas de la playa, y pasé por un tunel hasta una cala.

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My second time, coming in from the Camino, I appreciated the town much more. My third  visit (not counting the Camino along the La Salve beach) on this amazing autumn afternoon, I fell in love. I was having a rough weekend emotionally, and walking along two of the four trails (one of them being the Camino) and seeing the views did a lot of emotional healing. I spent a lot of time just watching the waves from that cove at the end of the tunnel. I took advantage of a cheap chorizo and fries/chips lunch in the Old Town and did a lot of people watching. It was a short day, and it was weird to see late afternoon colours at only 3 in the afternoon (the sun is setting around six at the moment in northern Spain). La segunda vez, entrando el pueblo por el Camino, me dio una mejor impresión. La tercera vista (no cuenta el Camino por la playa de La Salve) en esta tarde estupenda de otoño, me enamoré. Estaba pasando un mal fin de semana y una mala racha gigante, y caminando por dos de las cuatro rutas (uno siendo el Camino) y mirando las vistas me ayudó tranquilizar bastante. Pasé un largo rato mirando las olas de la cala al final del tunel. Aproveché un plato de chorizo y patatas barato para comer en el Casco Viejo y miré la gente. Era un día corto, y es un poco extraño ver los colores de la tarde a las 3 de la tarde (atardece sobre las 18:00 ahora mismo en el norte de España).

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Laredo impresses me more and more, and anyone passing through Cantabria would be well-advised to spend some time in this lovely sea town. Cada vez más Laredo me impresiona, y cualquier que pasa por Cantabria debería pasar un rato en este pueblo precioso por el mar.

 

Albergue de Güemes: La Cabaña del Abuelo Peuto

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 In the world of Camino del Norte pilgrims, the Albergue de Güemes (officially named La Cabaña del Abuelo Peuto) has a reputation for hospitality and being one of the best (if not the best) albergue on the Camino del Norte.

Located 15 coastal kilometres from Santander, the Güemes albergue is perched high on a hill in touch with nature and with incredible views of the Cantabrian countryside.

As pilgrims who have stayed here know, Father Ernesto, who runs the albergue, was born in the house that would later become the albergue. After becoming a priest and working on a village on top of a very high and steep Picos de Europa mountain, he went to South America in a green Land Rover to work with the third-world culture there. He still gives mass at two churches every Sunday and officiates the occasional marriage or other liturgical ceremony. For the most part, he’s retired and spends his time giving to the pilgrims on the Camino.

I arrived, not sure what to think as I’ve never stayed in a Camino albergue. I’ve had some nightmarish experiences in youth hostels during my first year in the Greatest Peninsula in the World. I was welcomed with a glass of water and a bench to sit on and rest. I filled in my information and was shown my bed. (It was a top bunk, but it was already 17:00!) I met a few other pilgrims, but my social anxious self was tired after working 30 kilometres and losing a mobile phone.

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After a quick shower, I felt better. I played with the albergue dog for a while, as I always prefer the company of dogs to people. I was lucky, as there were free massages being offered from a massage school located coincidentally enough in the Capital of the World, Bilbao. Turns out that my right leg is having some problems with the calf muscles, which can be traced back to my 2-month limp after spraining my ankle in 2014. They taped it up taught me how to self-massage it. Eskerrik asko.

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Dog selfie!

Then everyone was gathered to listen to the story of the albergue, and as they had figured out I was fully bilingual…they called on me to be the translator! I was the translator for the entire evening. (I sat at the table full of Spanish speakers so I didn’t have to translate during dinner.)

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For whoever walks there is always a sun rising. Walking is to go through the night full of hope and discover every day the truth of utopia and the life of love.

Despite being a teacher, I have quite the stage fright of speaking in front of strangers or adults. I’m also not used to translating on the spot. I was nervous, but everyone told me I did a great job and thanked me for my translations.

Over dinner (sopa de ajo (garlic soup) and pasta), I listened to some stories from other pilgrims. I met a couple of young Basques from Plentzia who had been camping out since leaving Gran Bilbao a few days prior. I met someone from the greater Toledo, Ohio area who was interested in how someone from the greater Sandusky area immigrated to Spain. I met a pilgrim from Luxembourg, a few Germans and Swiss, and some Irish folks too. The Camino brings people from all over the world.

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Camino del Norte

After dinner, I played translator again as Father Ernesto told the story of the ermita (hermitage/place of worship connected with nature) he had had built near the albergue and the paintings of the Camino of Life. I was very tired and too busy translating the story to properly reproduce the story here. Fellow peregrinos del Norte and future peregrinos del Norte will know it. But the story is the Camino of Life, el Camino de la Vida. We’re all slaves to money, religion, corrupt politicians (not naming countries) and other things that tie us down, and we must look for our freedom. This is the Camino de la Vida, the Camino of life.

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Camino de la vida

Father Ernesto definitely tells it better than me.

It was a fantastic first albergue experience, and it helped me get over my fears of the albergues somewhat. I know that there are few like this one, but it is a night I will always remember.

Buen camino de la vida a todos, a tothom, a tutti, to everyone.

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Camino de Santiago (Camino del Norte) Etapa 13: Güemes-Santander.

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I have reached my Camino goal for 2015. I have arrived to Santander.

On Sunday morning, after a restless night’s sleep in the famed Albergue of Güemes (entry to come soon. Stay tuned!), I had a quick breakfast and was out the door. I was wanting to walk alone as I needed solitude to process some emotions I was going through, and so I was one of the first to leave. However, as I was having some problems with my calf muscles due to the post AnkleGate (my 2014 sprain ankle), I had to take it slow and many amazing pilgrims I met in Güemes passed me. I let them, saying “¡hola!” with a smile.

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Buenos días

I loved the mist being evaporated by the rising sun.

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Buenos días

I passed some literally empty houses. I wish I knew the story behind them.

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Literally an empty house! Literally! 😉

I was hoping to have a second breakfast, my tostada con tomate that Euskadi seems to run from, but everything in Galizano was still closed at 9 in the morning.

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Galizano

I began to limp my way to the beach, and I realised I had forgotten to take my selfie of the day. I took out the camera to snap myself with the mountains, mist and still rising sun in the background. While doing this, I dropped my camera.

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The things we do for a selfie. Adéu, camera.

So far on this weekend on the Camino, I lost my mobile and broke my camera. Good going.

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The iPad takes good pics, right?

At least I have my trusty iPad Cesc, who snaps photos for me when my camera is tired. The camera lasted its average 15 months, and I’m sure I’ll have a new one coming at Christmas. Cesc was busy as the Camino arrived to the coast (of course I took the coastal way). I ran into some surfers, and the fields had been harvested. One photo I snapped was the contrast of the fields (which remind me of Ohio), the Camino, and the cliffs leading to some beautiful beaches.

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Cows.

Around one corner, Santander appears in the distance. I had already taken the ferry from Somo to Santander last June. I stopped to take off my hoodie and apply sunscreen, admiring the Cantabrian Sea in all its glory.

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Santander in the distance

A few runners came along, wishing me a “buen Camino”. The Cantabrians seem really open to pilgrims and friendlier than their Basque neighbours. Of course, I think the Basques are walking these trails themselves and don’t really differentiate between a pilgrim and a day hiker with no destination. But the Cantabrians also were taking advantage of these beautiful trails and a beautiful early autumn day.

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Who wouldn’t want to take advantage of this beautiful day?

I arrived to the beach, which I was hoping to avoid walking on the beach to help my muscles a bit more. No such luck. The beach was beautiful with some amazing views of Santander.

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More beach walking!

I saw fellow pilgrims from Güemes enjoying the beach. I remember thinking as some of them had passed me, “Am I doing this wrong? Am I pausing for too many photos?” I let this thought evaporate into the mist. My right calf muscles needed a slower pace, and as a writer with anxiety, I am more prone to contemplate the sea for longer periods of time.

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Fields…Camino…Cliffs…Beach…Cantabrian Sea…one photo.

I left the beach a bit too early, trying to remember where I had left it the year before. This lead me through a very residential section of Loredo and Somo and not the Camino. Oh well, it was a different sort of scenic route.

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I took too many photos of the sunrise, so sharing more of them.

I arrived to Somo, had an expensive tostada con tomate at 11:40 (typical Spanish breakfast ends at 12) and waited for the ferry with a German pilgrim I had met on the albergue. A few more from Güemes caught the 12:25 ferry with me, and I explained what little I new about Santander (Palacio Magdalena, the story about how it was the last province capital (or one of the last ones) to take down their statue of Franco and you can feel the conservative atmosphere in the air today). It was a bit hard to say goodbye to them and wish them a buen camino. A few of them stayed in Santander, and the German one was going on to…somewhere.

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Another sunrise pic

I was lucky as I arrived to the bus station at 13:10, and I bought the last bus ticket to Bilbao for the entire day. There are buses nearly every hour from Santander to Bilbao, but Sunday is a popular day for travel. I had a pintxo de tortilla at a Chinese-ran bar, and the Chinese man wished me a “buen Camino.” It’s the small things like that make me smile.

I am ready for more Camino action, and I may tackle another weekend if the good weather holds and I have money and energy for it. If not, there is always next year.

A continuación…

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Date of Etapa: 27 de septiembre de 2015
Kilometres walked: Around 15-16 according to the guide.

Camino Día 1 
Camino Día 2
Camino Día 3
Camino Día 4
Camino Día 5
Camino Día 6
Camino Día 7
Camino Día 8
Camino Día 9
Camino Día 10
Camino Día 11
Camino Día 12

Camino de Santiago (Camino del Norte) Etapa 12: Laredo-Güemes. (29 km)

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It was the best of days, it was the worst of days.

It had been a long 2.5 months since my last day on the Camino in July, and I was ready to hit the road again.  My goal for 2015 was to arrive to Santander, and thankfully, the cranky Cantabrian Sea (perhaps jealous of nearby cousin Mediterranean Sea?) decided to bless me with an opportunity before I headed back to work on Oct. 1st.

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Morning selfie

On Saturday morning, I awoke at 6 in the morning, was out the door at 6:30 to catch a taxi…who told me “I’ll be right back.” 10 minutes later, he came back, and I was a bit worried about catching the bus on time. I should know that Alsa has not once been on time at Termibus in Bilbao (they are usually pretty punctual elsewhere in the peninsula, but the Ruta del Cantábrico runs into traffic problems or something all the time). I found someone in my seat. It was still dark out, which I hadn’t realised being on holidays and not having to get up so early.

At 7:45 the bus arrived to Laredo, and I made my way to the beach. They were having a medieval festival, which I wish I had known about as I would’ve spent the night there. Everything was closed, so I couldn’t get my café con leche before hitting the road.

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Laredo

The Camino I chose (there are two that leave from Laredo) went along 4 km of beach. About 1 kilometre into it, I realised that my mobile phone was missing. I searched my backpack to no avail. I wondered if it had fallen out when I put in new batteries in my camera, so I went back to the beginning of the beach. No luck.

I tried to put it at the back of my mind and not worry. I mainly have my phone for Whatsapp (a texting app popular in Spain), Facebook and Twitter, but I have a lot of important contacts via Whatsapp. I eventually found the Zen of the Camino. I can’t change it, and I can accept that I can’t change it. Wherever my phone is, I hope it’s enjoying itself.

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Cantabrian morning.

I had a café con leche at the end of the beach 4 kilometres later before catching the ferry to Santoña (2 Euros). The ferry was quick, and when I arrived to Santoña, it was instant like.

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Ferry to Santoña

The town of 11,000 is quite nice, and I had my breakfast of tostada con tomate with a second café con leche. They gave me a shot of orange juice and a small piece of cake to go with it. 2 Euro. I love Cantabria!

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Santoña

I took off my hoodie and applied sunscren before continuing on my way.

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The day is warming up.

The Camino passes the wildlife reserve park…and a prison. I knew the building was quite big and strange, but when I found out it was a prison, I was kind of shocked.

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The Camino passes between this…and a prison.

I arrived to another beach, and I admired it. I took the sidewalk/pavement along the road instead of doing more beach walking, and before I knew it, the Camino turned. It was hard to know where the Camino went on the beach, and two very nice strangers pointed out the way to climb Brusco (which had red sandy paths!)

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El Brusco

The mountain wasn’t so hard, and as I was climbing I saw an arrow painted on a rock that I should’ve been able to see from the beach.

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That missing arrow

Before I knew it, I was descending from Brusco to the endless Noja beach. I have several Basque acquaintences that go to Noja often, so I was expecting a bit more. The beach was lovely, but outside of a nice Plaza Mayor and church, the town left a bit to be desired in my opinion.

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Playa (Beach) de Noja

It’s been warned that it was easy to get lost, and after a small lunch of a pintxo de tortilla (it was too early for Spanish lunch, being 13:00), I indeed got lost. I went back to the tourist office, where they pointed me in the right direction. “Sigue recto recto recto” (Continue straight ahead, straight ahead, straight ahead.)

The next arrow was quite a blessed sight, needless to say.

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Iglesia (church) de Noja

After leaving the residential areas of Noja that never end, I passed a church and a lot of fields. The fields reminded me a lot of my old home Ohio, although Ohio does not have mountains in the distance. Some cornfields had recently been harvested, and I got that feeling of autumn that I love so much. Ohio also doesn’t have the church of San Pedro in Castillo in the distance either.

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Ohio with a medieval church or Cantabria? You be the judge.

I saw a lot of peregrinos, but as I like to walk in solitude, listening to the Camino and nature, I let them pass ahead. Some of them I would later meet at the albergue, but that’s a different entry.

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Barato means “cheap”, so…Bar Ato…barato? It was closed.

I stopped for a quick refreshing drink at the albergue in San Miguel de Meruelo, and I was so thankful to see only an hour more awaited me to the famed albergue de Güemes. I’m going to say I arrived at a bad time, as they were serving lunch to the pilgrims staying there, but I really didn’t feel welcomed there. So thankful I had planned to stay in the albergue in Güemes and was on my way after finishing a cold drink and checking wifi/emailing about my phone/uploading pictures to Instagram. (No mobile for 4G ahhh!)

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Waterfalls

Another six kilometres later. I tried finding a Roman church that was advertised to be 400 metres away, but after 400 metres and mean barking dogs…I turned around and missed it. I did see some beautiful views and more and more cows.

I was dying to rest, but I soldiered on to Güemes. I was excited when I checked Google Maps and it gave an estimated 15 minutes. I wasn’t sure I was following the right arrows, but I had been. The Camino was going along a road, and I was ready to leave the road behind. Asphalt walking is ugh.

When I saw the turn off for the albergue 800 metres away, I was ecstastic. It had been a long 29 plus kilometres, and I was ready for a rest.

I was also nervous about staying in an albergue, even if it is one of the most famous albergues on any Camino. With that said, I’ve decided to give an entire entry (look for it next Thursday) dedicated to my experience at this albergue, as it was also my first Camino albergue. This experience has been a fantastic one.

A continuación….

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Día del Camino: 26-septiembre-2015
Kilometres walked: Officially 29, but definitely more with the backtracking.
Book I was reading: Pues, me largo by Hape Kerkeling (a German (translated to Spanish) account of the Camino Frances.

Previously on:

Camino Día 1 
Camino Día 2
Camino Día 3
Camino Día 4
Camino Día 5
Camino Día 6
Camino Día 7
Camino Día 8
Camino Día 9
Camino Día 10
Camino Día 11