Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Day 42: Castro-Urdiales to Laredo (33kms)

The path out of Castro-Urdiales

Today Robin and I are back to a good pilgrim day's work. We are off to Laredo, and by following the marked route it will be a 33 km day. We set out, from our pension, and walked out of town until we came upon a bar that was open. There we stopped for coffee. I dashed across the street to a bakery looking for something to go with the coffee. There was a bit of confusion at the counter when the owner thought I wanted some chicken and butter. I thought I was ordering a roll, and butter. In the end, I left with the roll. The chicken, well, who knows. We stopped by the albergue that still had some stragglers trying to get underway. I heard it was full, and the hospitalero put out some mattresses for late comers. It looked pretty small, as many albergues on this route do. We walked along quiet roads, for the most part, to Islares where we stopped for coffee. Islares has a bar at a campground that was open and quite sufficient. Several other pilgrims were also there taking a break. The weather was warm, and pleasant, and the walk to Islares was wonderful. We had many unobstructed sea views along the way that helped ease us into the day's walk. After leaving Islares, we walked the road for a couple of kms until we picked up the yellow arrows leading us up and off the road. Things immediately quieted down and we pushed off into the countryside, happy that speeding cars were no longer a threat. The path stayed flat until we left La Magdalena. Here we started climbing up through the forest onto a dirt (and rock) path, and then onto a logging road. We climbed for perhaps 1.5 kms before we transitioned back onto pavement. The way, today, was dry, and fine, but in rainy conditions this section could be slow to traverse, and very unpleasant. Everyone has to decide what their personal mud threshold is. This section just looked perfect for problems in wet weather. Once we topped the hill, we walked the flat for a bit and the were deposited in front of some of the most spectacular scenery we have seen on the Norte. It was a picture perfect valley, that unfortunately my camera could not do justice to. If you walk the waymarked route this is part of your reward for the extra five kms you are walking. Robin and I lingered at the top of the valley unwilling to let it go, but alas all things must pass and we started down the road that led us through the valley and into the village of Liendo. We stopped by the local albergue, which was very clean and modern, met a few chums, had a chat, and then set out for the final 5 kms into Laredo. BTW, we did here at the albergue that a pilgrim had fallen, on her way out of town, and broken her arm. The road leaving Liendo is a clear road, so I am not sure what caused her fall. I do remember a few times when I was fiddling with my camera and somehow got a trekking pole threaded between my legs. So a spill can happen even in benign conditions. Hope she is doing well. I just took a short break to chat with a group of four Irish motorcyclists who roared into our pension courtyard. They have been on a ten day round trip from Ireland down the French coast and now into northern Spain. It seems a great distance to cover in ten days, but then there were the motorcycles. I am now staring at my boots, airing outside our front door, realizing that low technology has a place as well. It will take a bit longer, but those boots will carry us to Santiago (God willing). A lot cheaper than a Harley as well. Late addition, six Sicilian motorcyclists have just arrived. They are on their way to Santiago as well.

So, here we are in Laredo. We had a very good 33 km day, saw some wonderful scenery, avoided 12-13 kms of road walking, met some nice people, and are now sitting in front of our hanging laundry sipping some Ribera del Duero red wine. Things are looking up.

Turn left at the bull ring for the Camino
The albergue in Castro-Urdiales
Pretty well,waymarked
Fellow travelers
Follow me
Pilgrim reunion
Alan and Janet from Toronto
Entering Liares
Just when you need an arrow
My home is my castle
Up into the forest
We heard some bells
The Spanish love flowers
Laredo at last
That new marina was empty
Entering Laredo
The church in Laredo
Entering the city
Robin loves her churros



  1. That route does look very beautiful!
    - Clare

  2. "It's a Small World" just keeps on churning......we met Alan and Janet in Estella in '11 when we were hospitaleros. Great couple. Give them our best regards. Tell them Tom also says hi. Karen's jealous of those churros. Hope for continued good weather and health. Loving those photos. Dayton and Karen