Camino del Norte 2018 – Day 7/8

Camino del Norte

Day 7&8

Sept 9,10

Hola from Santoña,
In my last instalment we were staying the night in Bilbao. 
We left the Bilbao municipal Albergue at 7:00 and walked along the riverbank back past the Guggenheim toward the sea. Twelve km and we paid a few euros to take the historic hanging bridge thingy across to Portogalete. The bridge was built 125 years ago and is one of a very few still in operation.

Not really a bridge but rather a steel construction like the Eiffel Tower with a truss very high above the water from which hangs a car on cables close to the water. This car goes back and forth continuously and carries both automobiles and passengers while allowing large ships to transit well clear of the overhead truss assembly. Fun!

It was a very long day…we elected to follow the short route instead of the traditional Way…this route promised better views of the ocean. Unfortunately the ocean views meant many steep climbs and a lot of the way was walking on the shoulder of the busy highway. This was literally on the narrow paved edge of the road… mile after mile… when we left the road it was to climb. I was tired and sore…after so many hours of walking with a pack in the sunshine my feet started to blister and the walking became more painful. We arrived at our overnight stop at 5:00pm … a 10 hour day of walking with only a few short breaks!
With our late arrival we were in the overflow room with mattresses on the floor…the usual shower, relax then we walked to the nearby pub for the ‘Menu del Dia’ dinner. Usually 2 choices of 1st course and 2 choices of 2nd course plus dessert and sometimes a drink included for 10-12 €. I had the pigs feet option which was not so good. Donna had the cow meat. We walked well over 30km yesterday to the town of Castro-Urialis. During the day we watched a large fleet of sailboats tacking around in front of the distant town, the wind was strong. The town has a substantial harbour protected by a large breakwater. Unfortunately with our late arrival and general lack of energy we weren’t able to explore much of Castro-Urialis. 

Donna was up before 6:00, I slept longer then just packed up and we were underway by 7:15. Another long trek today…over 30 km…again with many uphill/ downhill parts but today mostly away from pavement. The sun was strong so we sweat and drink a lot of water. We walked with a number of other pilgrims for a time as we pass them or they overtake us. Donna had a long conversation with a young doctor from Milan then later we walked with a woman from Holland who we seem to see most nights on the same schedule. We arrived in the seaside town of Laredo and decided to take the ferry across the Bay entrance. We walked about 4km in bare feet along the sandy beach. The wind was blowing and the kite boards were zooming along. We took the ferry across… this was well worth the 2€ price as it saves 12 km of walking around and it is an adventure in itself. The boat picks up passengers right from the sandy beach- no dock- and delivers us to the seawall at the town of Sontaña. This was the home town of Juan de la Cosa…who’s he???. He captained one of the ships alongside Columbus and created the first map of the New World. 

We found a very nice Albergue here and after our shower and a load of laundry we walked along the malecon and inspected the docks and harbour. The town is busy and beautiful, we are in an old building overlooking the town square where children run around and play soccer while the adults enjoy their coffee or cocktails at the multitude of cafés offering seating under umbrellas around the perimeter. There are big trees and benches and it is a hive of activity. Another long day..a few more blisters for my poor feet…Donna seems immune to blisters..!
I’ll try to attach a few of the photos I took. Donna posts many more pictures on Facebook if you want to see some of what I describe here. 


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