Day 15

Well this day was a roller-coaster with a a happy ending 🙂

The day before we had huge amount of food for dinner and the lady was very grandma style: as soon as one part was finished she changed the plates and brought the next dish. Two trays of salad for the 7 of us was already not too little, but OK. The came the 3 trays of pasta and she insisted on us finishing them all.

Quick breakfast, watching the news and the saddening weather forecast.

I left around 8 and had a plan to walk 30k. The rain started soon and although I went the coastal way it only made the path longer and more difficult but the scenery was mostly missing due to the massive fog.

I’ve passed yesterday’s roommates, had some figs and at some point felt that either the massive dinner the day before or some of the figs weren’t sitting well.

To my surprise I’ve met with Maria again who I thought is far ahead of me. Again it was good timing as in the gloomy weather all cheer and motivation was needed to keep going. We didn’t stop until half past eleven when we reached Llanes.

That point, at around 20k I was considering stopping. Fortunately the break and the weather turning nicer gave me some boost. It turned out that well that not only we went further but we didn’t take another break for more than another 2 hours, at around 30k.

With one more smaller break we were heading to Cuerres. Already checked a place on – as there were no known and open albergue close by – we were amazed by a place just from the look of it from the outside.


We went in to check if they are open, still have place, etc. and our amazement only grew. It was an oco, eco, passive house with the most friendly owner ever and a quality of environment that I’d be happy to take as a home. Much to our surprise this all based on donations!

We had dinner together like a family with the 9 of us guest and Kat, the owner. The 3 course meal provided was fantastic.

After dinner we sat outside to sing some songs – well, mostly listen to an Austrian guy playing the guitar and singing.

Aaaand then I had a massage 🙂

Off to sleep afterwards with barely any time to check my blisters 🙂

All of this after a day of 41+km in 11 and half hours that got me past 400km.

Day 14

After breakfast I started around 8. The weather was nice and the sunrise was gorgeous with still fog in the valleys.

Although yesterday I thought that I might even need a day off because of the blisters they were not too bad.

I’ve crossed path with couple of people on the way and shared the cake kinda thing I’ve bought the day before – which I wanted to share in the albergue for breakfast but I forgot…

After around 20k my feet started to hurt.

In Buelna I had my lunch break to give them a rest. However when I wanted to continue t didn’t work. After 25k I had to stop.

In the albergue I’ve met with the now familiar French group as well as a Lithuanian girl and she gave me some special band-aid like thing for the blisters.

The dinner was nothing new: salad, pasta, and some cake for dessert but the amount was unreal. 3 trays of pasta for the 7 of us.

Day 13

Had a good sleep even without the earplugs but woke up around 6 again so given that I planned to start early to do some distance before the rain that was predicted from 8, I left the hostel at 7.

Well, apparently I’m not good at keeping the promises I make to myself: once again it was pitch black dark but now with rain and fog. I couldn’t see more than a few meters far and my eyes got tired from the attempt to hunt for signs.

I only got to turn my lamp off after a good hour. However even then the fog gave limited visibility for quite some time.

Apart from some 1 minute stops for orientation and getting thing out from the bag the first stop I’ve made was around 12:30.

I manage to add a few extra kilometers and hills with the coastal way but it was nice. Lots of surfers everywhere.

Unfortunately I started to feel that I have blisters on both of my feet and also the extra 5k I’ve planned would have had to be at least 7 as an albergue was closed to when I arrived finally in San Vincente I decided to stay.

It has been a good 35k anyways in under 7 hours with which I was quite happy.

Until the albergue opened I’ve checked out the church and had the leftover from my sandwich.

Although I was happy that my heel didn’t hurt today at all my new blisters might cause even more problem.

Day 12

We went together this day with Maria. It was a good thing too as the weather and i the first half the path was quite depressing.

Ate a few figs along the way and had to use the raincoat for the second day. Although after a while I realised that it might not actually help much: since the rain was head-on it fell into it next to my face as well there was a lot of condensation on the inside so all in all I think I got more wet from it than without it ..

We took a break next to a beautiful industrial chemical plant pipe that was actually warm 🙂

In the second half the path went to the countryside away from the busy car roads finally and the misty scenary was a bit better but still depressing.

We arrived in Santillana Del Mar around 2. I was a bit disappointed as I planned to go forward but my shoes were just too wet. I went to the albergue I had a sandwich as it was still closed. Finally I figured out that the municipal albergue was actually more expensive than a hostel a few minutes away so I went there. Apparently Paul, Andre and Maria too.

Since I’ve been postponing doing laundry due to the weather I now had to do it and we shared it with Paul.

The place had a surprise: massage shower 😀

After some streching and settling we went for a dinner where I finally got to eat some paella.

Day 11

Wax earplugs FTW!

Although the previous day I already had them it apparently took me 2 nights to get it right. From the moment I’ve put them in, until my alarm went off there was silence. I actually barely heard my alarm 🙂

I packed before breakfast and we left with the now usual group around half past 8. With some second breakfast break along the coasta way we arrived in Somo in around 4 hours and 15.5k. We had just a little drizzle in the morning but it got a bit chilly so for the first time I actually had to put on my sweater for a while.

I realised that most of the time I was taking pictures with low resolution … note to myself: always check the settings before trips and maybe during from time to time.

We had to wait for the ferry to take us to Santander but after crossing the bushes next to the beach as we didn’t want to walk in the sand and then half the city it was actually useful.

A bit before 2 I said goodbye to Susanne who ended her Camino here and left the group as they decided to stay.

It was confusing to get out of the city as there were many conflicting signs. It also wasn’t a particularly nice part. So just when I was thinking that I should have stayed in Santander it was a very much of a mood boosting experience when someone shouted buen camino from a car. It gave me some energy.

At a slightly dodgy bit going under a bridge next to the railway I realised that I have complete trust in the signs. Ironically later I learned that next to that spot a guy was pleasuring himself yelling at women walking by …

I planned to walk only until Santa Cruz de Bezana, especially that my left heel started aching again but the albergue I was goig for was closed and the other one I’ve passed already. So for the first time I’ve made a call to check availability in Boo de Pielagos and since they had I went on. It was quite hurtful but finally made it around 5pm with 32k behind me.

The place was not as magical than in Guemes but very clean and friendly. They even provided towel which is a nice touch since there’s one less thing to worry about to get dry. Also breakfast included and dinner offered.

Maria arrived as well so there was at least one friendly to share dinner with which is always nice after a few hours of lonely walking.

Day 10

I’ve slept a bit longer and only left around 8. Went to the beach to check whether I can see the sunrise but the weather was not kind. Rainy, grey morning, clouding the sun.

On the way I had some fig and walnut that made for a delicious second breakfast.

With only a short break in an open building under construction to take shelter from the rain I arrived quite early to the so expected Guemes albergue in just 4 hours. It was a nice short day with only 18k but my legs needed a break anyway.

The place was amazing. Lunch, dinner, breakfast provided, there’s library, fireplace and the whole place looks better than anything else. Lovely people welcoming as well. The only scary this is the 3 level beds but fortunately I got here first so I got a lower one.

This place is not only a pilgrim albergue. It also has other social and humanitarian projects and the legacy of a priest who travelled around the world with a rover to work and help people.

It’s also a meeting point along the Camino I believe as it is recommended in all guidebooks with no alternative close by so lots of people stop here and who met before but were going with slightly different speed see each other here. I’ve met with the Slovenian guy who I had dinner with on day 0, the French and Austrian people I travelled with until two days ago and also a lot more.

However I have to be honest, for what I expected – and maybe needed – from the Camino, it may have been a bit too busy for me.

Pictures from the Guemes albergue:

Day 9

The albergue got quite busy yesterday, all of 25 square meter of it. A few snorers as well of course so I decided to get some earplugs finally.

We left around 7.30 with the same team as yesterday. Planned to do a shortcut in the start to give ourselves time for some longer paths along the coast.

Even though the shortcut was roadside the morning mist in the valley created a nice atmosphere. And the plan was great: the longer, coastal parts were breathtaking.

Took a break around ten on a hill top. Could not resist the view 🙂

After a break in Laredo and crossing the bay with a little boat so Santona I left the others and went ahead. The route went by the beach of Berria and than had to climb a cliff to go to the next beach. From the top both beaches were in view makinb for a perfect place to rest a bit. When the group caught up I continued them on the last few kilometers to the hostel.

Didn’t go back to the beach, rather just finally cut my nails with the €1.20 scissors I’ve bought in Santona … it was a relief because of the boots.

Day 8

Early start at 7 left me with crossing a forest in the dark but also a beautiful sunrise over the coast.

In the morning I mostly walked with Andrew.

Arriving to Castro Urdiales I hit the pharmacy again for a knee support. I have to say it worked well. I left Castro around noon after some food shopping and kept the pace with others: Andrew, Sven and Jen only caught up with me when I took some rest. When we got to Islares – the village I was aiming for after passing Castro – I went on for Guriezo. The albergue is a bit run down but supposedly still better than the one in Islares.

Totalled this day at 28k in 8 and a half hours. It seems I can not stick to having a lighter day 🙂

Planning for the next two days was fun there are so many combinations to pick from …

Day 7

Decided to do the shorter way out from Bilbao on the right side of the river. I didn’t get too far though, after 15 minutes I’ve realised that I’m missing my ring. So with a quite bad mood I turned back and did everything to figure out when and where did it disappear: I’ve asked the receptionist to check the security cam to see whether I still had it at checkout, then since it looked as I didn’t, we went through the hostel. Checked the room, the kitchen the hall, the trash of the cleaning lady who just finished, and also the drain of the tap. Finally I tore apart my bag .. and found it in my sleeping bag. Lesson learned: check the bag first. Also I have to say I saw no hotel or hostel personnel more helpful than them.

So although I wanted an early start, I’ve left finally after 9. Went by the Guggenheim Museum and then along the river side. Well it was quite a sad, industrial and gray environment, especially after the beautiful coast and countryside of the previous days. At least it was flat and 6km less than the original.

Arrived at Portugalete at 13:00 after crossing the river in a quite fun cabin. I thought I say hi in the albergue if there’s anyone I know but it wasn’t even open. So after a quick lunch and chat with two German guys I continued to Pobena.

The way out from Bilbao was hot and boring but the way from Portugalete was worse. It went along a bicycle highway and although it had a bit greener environment it was boring and the sun was burning with nothing to give shade.

I got lost a bit before Pobena so I’ve added a bit to the milage but finally arrived. I was just contemplating whether to do one more bit, for 45 minutes but then the beach and the familiar faces appearing convinced me to stay. By 16:45 I settled in the albergue after 26k.

The weather was perfect and it wasn’t too late so I went to the beach.

I also finally wash a set of clothes but it didn’t dry until after dinner …