Thursday, June 12, 2014

Day 44: Güemes to Santander (18 kms)

Pilgrim in the mist
The sun was making a valiant effort to burn off the low hanging morning mist, but as we walked out of the albergue it was into a world of muted light and interesting shadows. It was going to be another warm day (upper 70's). The humidity was already dampening our shirts. It turned out we had about 35 people in the albergue last night. My estimation of 50 was just a bit off. The albergue is run by an interesting man named Ernesto Bustio. He gathered all hands last night at 7:30 to explain his albergue and the spirit behind it. He had a Spanish lady translate his words into English, as all in attendance could understand Spanish or English. This presentation lasted over an hour and a half. He mostly gave a synopsis of his life. He stated he had been ordained as a priest at age eleven (that's correct, 11). He said he was assigned a parish in a remote part of the Pico Europa mountains. After many years of study and work, he took a sabbatical and went on a long journey of personal discovery with three of his friends. It was during this time (in Africa, South, and Central America) he developed his philosophy of peace, justice, and compassion. It is this philosophy that he shares through his work at the albergue. He is not preachy. He is long winded, but not preachy. He seems a genuinely caring person, who truly enjoys the atmosphere he has created, and the work he is doing, in this unusual (in a nice way) albergue.

Ernesto encouraged everyone to walk the scenic route around cliff edges to the Santander ferry at Somo. There are shorter routes that follow main roads and bike paths, but we decided to head to the coast. As has happened to Robin and I before on this trip we got a bit lost. The way marking and the guidebook map seem to agree, and then they don't. We followed yellow arrows right up to point where we were a couple of kms from the town of Loredo (not Laredo), and now on a main road. The guidebook had us out on the edge of a cliff (sort of). We got sorted out, walked into Loredo, had a cold drink, got directions, and carried on without any further problems to the ferry at Somo. Regarding the ferry, it is simply a jetty with stairs going down to the water. No fancy, or even humble terminal, or signage until you are reading the schedule on the side of what looks like a bus shelter. But, the boat turned up, and a bunch of us piled on for the half hour ride into downtown Santander (2.65 euros per person, one way). By the time we reached the dock both Robin and I were ready for a rest. Earlier as we were wandering along the cliffs (no shade) I started to feel a little sense of heat exhaustion coming on. I am not sure why, as it wasn't that hot. But, that is the closest to what I can match the feeling to. As luck would have it the hotel we booked into (for another 2 day break) was just down the street from the ferry dock. A shower, and some rest worked wonders. No lingering issues. Good to go again. We have forced ourselves (not much resistance expressed) to take some days off so we don't arrive in Santiago ahead of our travel schedule. Right now, we are still a few days ahead so we will see where else we can take a break (Oviedo, Lugo). For now we are back in the R & R mode until Saturday. Robin has located a Chinese restaurant so we are happy to give the pintxos a break for tonight. We have been hitting them pretty hard lately as that is basically what you can find in the afternoon, if you don't feel like waiting until 8:30 to eat. No complaints, but my goat cheese and ham level is running a bit high. That's how things shaped up today. Now it's time for my siesta, more later from sunny (and hot) Spain.
Leaving the albergue this morning
Mist burning off
The road to Galizano
Galizano and the cliffs
Sign at a bar
Bike path into Somo
Ferry dock in Somo
Ferry shelter
Somo ferry to Santander
Arriving Santander
First street you hit after stepping off the ferry
Bank of Santander
Robin looking for shade
Our hotel is just beyond the statue

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