Sunday, June 8, 2014

Day 40: Potugalete to Pobeña (12 kms)

Shell in Portugalete
Just to keep the record straight, Robin and I skipped the stage from Guernica to Bilbao. We then spent two days in Bilbao on R&R. This morning we took the Bilbao metro to Portugalete, and then walked to Pobeña. The walk from Portugalete is pretty straightforward. You follow the yellow arrows and shells in the sidewalks, until you are led to a combination bicycle and pedestrian path. This path takes you to the parking area for the beach at La Arena. Once there you are supposed to be able to walk the beach to a pedestrian bridge that crosses an inlet from the beach into the village of Pobeña. As we approached the beach a Spanish guy offered that the pedestrian bridge was closed and we needed to follow the Camino arrows to another bridge beyond the highway bridge. Sure enough the arrows led us away from the beach under, and beyond, the highway bridge to another bridge that crossed the inlet. We then followed the road back to Pobeña. As we approached the village, and could see the beach, and we could see people walking across the beach pedestrian bridge. I am not sure what is going on, but the detour probably added 1.5 kms to the walk. Once you arrive in Pobeña it quickly becomes obvious that this village exists mainly to provide food and drink to people going to the beach (and lodging for pilgrims). If the pedestrian bridge was closed, my guess is that the local bar/restaurant owners would howl until it was fixed. Nonetheless, it was a beautiful day. The temperatures topped out close to 80 F, but cooled once we got close to the beach. Robin and I are now enjoying a glass of white wine, and wearing our down jackets against the cool sea breeze. The albergue here is full (22 beds). The only other accommodation in town is a bar that rents apartments that can accommodate 2-4 people. Two people costs 60 euros. Four people costs 90. Three more pilgrims just passed by also looking for an apartment. It looks like they found one. This village is very quiet except for lunch, when it is brimming with beachgoers. The lunch crowd has now thinned, and the waiters seem to be breathing easier. We asked about dinner, and it seems there is only one bar that stays open for dinner (maybe that is just because it is Sunday). I am sure the entire pilgrim contingent will be there. It was a good day. We met up with some friends along the way, and the walk was easy. We are happy to be back on the pilgrim road again. More tomorrow.
Path to follow
Sharing the road
Pedestrian bridge in Pobeña
Beach at Pobeña
The bridge that was broken but wasn't
Sign once you cross the pedestrian bridge

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