Day 10.

Cantabria is nestled between Euskadi, the Basque country, and Asturias on the north coast of Spain and is named after the Cantabri, a Celtic people who settled the region during the Iron Age more than 1000 years BC. They fought as mercenaries for the Carthaginians against Rome during the second Punic Wars which ended about 20 BC. After the fall of Rome four hundred years later, the Cantabri fell under the rule of the Visigoths. On 714, the Moors conquered that part of Cantabria, forcing them to unite with their Asturiana neighbors. Cantabria is the richest region in the world for archaeological sites from the Upper Paleolithic period (Cro-Magnons), ranging from 50,000 to 10,000 years ago. The most significant site for cave paintings is that in the cave of Altamira, dating from about 37,000 BCE and declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO, along with nine other Cantabrian caves. (Thanks to Eupedia for this history lesson. Hope you found it of interest.)

Today, I walked through some of the beautiful farming and horse country of Cantabria, and along some incredible coastal cliffs where the mountains meet the sea.

The first person I saw this morning was a horseman out for a ride on his arab.
The valleys between the rocky limestone mountains make good cattle country. Sheep and goats graze the mountainsides.
After about 2 hours of hiking, I came across Liendo. Many young people who left the countryside for the cities like Bilbao back in the 80s are returning and building country homes.
A friendly descendant of the Cantabri was walking his dogs and told me where I could find a coffee. Many people have dogs around here.
Back on the coast, I had an apple and the last of my Trader Joe’s almonds for lunch.
After lunch, I met Rafa who was keen to show me the sights at the top of the mountain, including an old mine that collapsed several years ago after 100 years or so of disuse. He has a YouTube channel called TeleLiendo.

I arrived in Laredo and checked into the Hotel Cosmopol. I decided to wait for Peter who had a much longer walk than I did at the Pescador, a seafood restaurant just up the street. By the time he arrived, I had put away a plate of anchovies in olive oil and a bowl of steaming clams a la marinera.

View from hotel balcony at about sunset.

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