Days 10 Portugalete – Castro Urdiales
We enjoyed our room picnic last night. We had enough left for breakfast and lunch today. We attempted to see what was on the TV but all we could find was Murder She Wrote in Spanish. We turned in for an early night but our room was just above the hotel lobby and it sounded like a Saga coach holiday was partying all night. They were just the same in the morning… Hey ho. I seemed to sleep regardless.
I’ve woken up with Gerry’s cold. Inevitable I guess. I’d been thinking for a day or two that something was amiss. We’d already decided that 28km was too far for his nibs and planned to take the bus out of town and to La Arena; considering I’d now joined the sick club I was glad too!
La Arena is a beautiful horseshoe shaped bay… A great spot for camper vans and popular with surfers. We stopped for our first (and so far only!) Café con leche before taking a fabulous coastal path for a few kilometres.
We’re surprised by how few other walkers there are. One walked by today, earplugs in, eyes fixed ahead… Determined not to make eye contact or say hello. I have to say that’s not the first time we’ve encountered this… Maybe 50% of pilgrims don’t seem to want to chat. I guess that’s why they chose the quieter path.
On we walked on our coastal path. Rather weirdly we came across two cows and a donkey on the cliff side of the path. One of the cows moo-ed and rushed up to greet us at the gate… Almost as if she hoped we’d open it for her. She moo-ed a lot more when we walked on. I felt sad for them in their steep cliffs edge field. I joked to Gerry that maybe they’d been put in their by the farmer for being naughty;. Poor thing was mooing away a few minutes later as someone else passed. “Let me out” she cried ” I don’t like heights”
On we walked in and out of coves along our cliff path. We came to a section where there were confusing arrows. The grumpy pilgrim was looking at the signs and in the end said we go up away from the coast. We followed for a minute but it felt wrong. I checked the app and we decided to go back. As we returned some local walkers said we should stay on the coastal path… And the app says the original Camino went in but the modern alternative continued straight. Grumpy girl would walk another 8km and I felt sorry for her. Fortunately a bit later on when we’d stopped for our picnic we saw her… She’d obviously had a change of heart too… She still didn’t speak though!
As we looked ahead on the horizon was a large town. It seemed too close to be Castro but Gerry figured that with all the ins and outs and switchbacks it would be about right. He called the ins and outs wibbles. “You made that word up didn’t you?” I said. ” Nope… Weebles wibble but they don’t fall down” he replied. I just looked at him and wondered how anyone could trust him with their tax returns. He looked so shocked that I could think that and not for the first time today I thought about how much I love walking with this man.
The morning had been so beautiful that after our picnic lunch, we skipped off like happy pilgrims expecting more of the same. Sadly not! Our lovely coastal path had been replaced with the N-634. A road that went up and down, winding it’s way into a stunning little place called Miono. I could have happily kicked off my shoes and stayed on that beach but sadly we had kilometres still to go before our stop.
As we walked out of Miono the path splits. We saw an arrow directing cyclists but were unsure if that meant us too. A lady stopped us. She directed us to follow the cycle route… Gerry didn’t undetstand the Spanish but he understood the up up up bit. As it happened it wasn’t as uppy as we’d thought so he was happy. The path led us to a tunnel, almost 400m long. As we were alone I decided to test the acoutics; they were great! So I treated Gerry to a snip of Ave Maria… It sounded amazing in the tunnel!
The tunnel led us to Castro Urdiales. We’ve left The Basque Country and returned to the coast. We wandered along this glorious sea front hoping to find a bar. I suggested a deviation but Gerry said his feet felt like little BBQs and deviations were off. As our hotel came first we decided to forego beer until later.
We’ve checked in, our room is at the top of the house and has a lovely view of the harbour, church and castle. I’ve tried to doze but someone in this house is a bit of a concert pianist. The music is drifting up to our room. And it sounds like we’re on the set on Brief Encounter… Whoever it is they’re very good but it does mean there will be no afternoon napping today!
Whilst Chopin plays Gerry said he fancies a fish supper… I think he maybe in luck!