Day 8: Start of Week 2!

Peter and I worked out our plans for the next few days and celebrated with a dinner of mussel curry, ox-tail risotto and lomo Ibérico with Jack Daniel’s bbq sauce. Peter will take one of the several options for leaving Bilbao and walk to Pobeña. I decided to take the metro train to Portulagete and avoid some of the urban and industrial sprawl of this buoyant city. We will meet up again in Guemes, ahead of our entrance into the great city of Santander, capital of Cantabria. As I left the hotel this morning, I realized this was the start of week #2. My Time Machine keeps lurching into the future! I looked down at my shoes, caked in dry mud from last week’s peregrination, in contrast with the Carlton’s clean carpet. These are a badge of honor, I thought, which will distinguish me from others who may be starting their trek from Bilbao, from those who did not slog it out on those first three viscous, soggy days out of Irun.

I was able to clean my pants at the Hotel but I didn’t dare try to clean my shoes for fear of leaving a mucky mess and likely clogging the drain.

I took the metro to Portulagete, had a coffee and realized I was on the yellow arrows. They led to a very nice asphalted bike and pedestrian trail which led all the way to Pobeña, about 12 km (7.5 m). Just before Pobeña I had a fresh orange juice. (I am going to try to eat and drink better this week). I met three men and a dog in Pobeña and we talked about how far I was from home and how one reaches San Sebastián step by step, day by day. They told me there had been a desprendimiento, or landslide, on the coastal Camino path and I would have to take a desviación.

Un perro grande

It was great to be back on the coast again, even if I missed the bit that the landslide closed, with the waves crashing against the rocky shore, the sweeping views and brisk salty breeze. I grew up close to the ocean and spent much of my career on offshore rigs. We all come from the sea and feel a sense of home when we are near it.

Who is that Boy upon the Beach?
Who is that boy down on the beach,
Daring the waves, his sand to breach?
And when they crash upon his turf
He chases them off into the surf,
And surging through the frothy wall
He claims the deep and rules it all.

And who the girl upon the land
Who writes her name into the sand
And watches as the waters play,
Then retreat and wash it all away?
You’ll not have me, she tells the main
And etches in her name again.

Who the boy, why of course it’s me!
And the girl? My lovely queen to be!

As might benefit the start of a new week, I have left Basque country and entered Cantabria. Now, I find myself in Castro-Urdiales, a pleasant town popular with the tourists. I had a nice meal of anchovies and merluza with some local Cantabrian white wine, while looking over the harbor and shooing pigeons away.

Today was a long but not topographically challenging hike. Tomorrow will be coastal and then inland again but only about 10 miles in total. That’s okay. My feet are already crying for a break.

“Are you Basque?” I asked, trying to make conversation. “No! I am from Santander.” I had just entered Onton, the first village of Cantabria!
My lunch break

2 thoughts on “Day 8: Start of Week 2!

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