Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Camino de Santiago del Norte: Day 4 and First Rest/Work Day

Note: This is a camino of gratitude for me. Each day, I choose something I am grateful for in my life and think and journal about it throughout the day. I will share an exerpt from my journal entries at the end of each day's post.
Day 4: Liendo to Santoña  – 6.9  miles

This was a lovely and interesting day’s walk, shorter than the last two days. In the early morning I walked up and over a cliff to a lovely view of the seaside town of Laredo. Entering the city through the old gate was magical. At the end of the promenade I walked out onto the beach to catch the ferry to Santoña.

Laredo is below me. We walked all the way along the seashore way out
to that point to catch the ferry. 

Entering Laredo
You catch the ferry right on the beach!

Rest and Work Day in Santoña 
Occasionally I have to stop for a day to rest my bones and to catch up on the work I do while traveling: designing book interiors for clients back home. Right now I am working on a hiking book. How appropriate! I feel so grateful that I can do this work from just about anywhere in the world!
I fell in love with this town across the bay from Laredo. I was lucky. This was a fiesta weekend in Laredo and I walked through the town on Friday early afternoon before the festivities started and thus avoided all the weekend crowds. Instead I had a room on the second floor of the albergue with a tiny balcony overlooking the plaza of Santoña. The families gather here in the evenings, especially on the weekends, and the chatter that I hear below late into the night reminds me that I am definitely not at home. The chatter provides a comfortable backdrop to my sleep for some reason.

The food here was stupendous—really amazing! For 11 Euros, a friend and I got the menu del dia at the restaurant next door (2 courses, a pitcher of wine, and dessert). My grilled red tuna was absolutely divine and it was followed by a dessert that was like just the custard part of cheesecake. We both had to take a siesta after that. 

Both evenings in Santoña , Marieanne (from Germany) and I visited an excellent tapas bar. The food was a work of art. It was so hard to decide what to try and they had different things each night. 

How, you ask, was I able to eat anything after that full lunch?

I managed...

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Camino de Santiago del Norte: Days 1—3

Note: This is a camino of gratitude for me. Each day, I choose something I am grateful for in my life and think and journal about it throughout the day. I will share an exerpt from my journal entries at the end of each day's post 
Day 1: Portugalete to Pobena—7 miles

My first day was an easy one—learning how to look for the arrows, shells and signs that point the way to Santiago…and just coming to terms with the fact that I am here on the Camino…Really!

I passed many gardens and lots of fruit trees. Look at these beautiful peppers!

At the end of the day, I found myself on a beautiful beach—the first of many—where I just sat and contemplated for a long time before crossing the bridge to Porbeno and my first pilgrim’s albergue.

Day 2: Pobena to Castro Urdiales – 10.5 miles
Sunrise over the beautiful beach at Pobena .

It was a long day, at least for me. At about the 8-mile mark, I got lost after faithfully following the yellow arrows through some old tunnels; I ended up in a bunch of weeds and had to slog through them until I found a viable trail.  Luckily, you cannot get truly lost when the vast sea is at your right side all day. My albergue was on the far side of Castro-Urdiales, so there was a lot of concrete and busy streets to walk through right at the end. 

Thanks for your hospitality AND the
 boiled eggs, Carolos!
Behind a small bull ring, I found my resting place; and right down the street a great little bar where I had about the best grilled chicken and friendliest cook/ bartender/ server you could ask for at ElChiringuito de Castro. I had six eggs that I had wanted to boil, but none of the hostels I had stayed in had a way for me to cook them. When I offered them to Carlos, he offered to cook them for me! What hospitality. He also made the best pollo a la plancha I have had so far.

Day 3: Castro-Urdiales – Liendo – 14.5 miles
Sunrise over Castro-Uridales
This was a long and challenging day. Much of it was on pavement, which is so hard on your feet. But from a lovely sunrise to the monastery at El Puente to the eucalyptus forest near the end of the day—it was a good day, especially since I did not get lost one time! 
The La Magdalena Monastery

Ahhh...finally off the pavement...but at a cost.
It was almost all uphill in this tranquil forest.

And when we arrived at the Albergue de Peregrinos in Liendo, they let us wash our clothes for free! Such little things that can mean so much…

I am quite far behind in my blog posts. I apologize for that. Internet access is spotty on the Camino del Norte, but I will do my best to continue to keep you updated. I promise more indepth stories in the future!