Day 8: Portugalete to Kobaron

I got all philosophical over breakfast this morning and started writing about searching for contentment and a few other things, but mysteriously the draft has disappeared, so I’ll have to save these thoughts for another day. There’s been a few strange occurrences today that have tested my patience like deleting all my favourite PCT videos and a host of others off my phone by mistake this morning, spending two hours trying to add data to my phone which ended with me making the purchase, only to discover that I may have accidentally bought a new SIM card that will be shipped to an old address in Australia, and being rained on so heavily I couldn’t even get my phone out to film because of the latex gloves I needed to wear over my fleece gloves and freezing cold hands.


The day was short (maybe less than 15km from Ortuella), and flat, so I’m counting this day as a nero (near zero kilometres). I was in a strange head space for a while, which made the endless walking on a cycling path a little arduous. There were also so many conflicting arrows pointing in three different directions at times that I started losing my mind and became verbally abusive at the trail, ranting out loud and stamping my poles in disgust. Luckily a kind man who may have seen my outburst walked just ahead of me and got me back on track. He even waited at the top of a steep climb for me to catch up so he could point me in the right direction.



Everyone I’ve met has raved about Pobena, so when I arrived as the sun came out I had high hopes about finding a cute little cafe I could drink a hot chocolate and relax in. Because it was Sunday, the town was absolutely bustling, and all the bars were spilling out onto the pavement which meant there was little space for a dripping wet backpacker. I felt self conscious the whole time, and hid away in the corner of one bar with my chocolate a la taza.


When I left Pobena the trail wound around the cliffs of the Cantabrian Sea once again with breathtaking views. The powerful crashing sound of the waves was so rhythmic I fell deep into thought, and despite the bitter cold wind, the rain held off making the whole experience magical. I passed many people taking a leisurely stroll plus a Shetland pony I mistook for a large dog.




The trail continued along the cliffs until it swung into Kobaron, where as stated in the notes, there was no accommodation. I ended up having to cross over the provincial border into Cantabria to El Haya where I found a hotel with wifi and rooms for 35 euros. Not only that, this room has a bathtub which I’ve already soaked my legs and back in for a couple of hours. Now I’m waiting until 8:30pm to eat a proper meal downstairs for dinner.




7 thoughts on “Day 8: Portugalete to Kobaron”

  1. If you’re not feeling the isolation of early season on Camino del Norte, you can probably train down to Burgos or León and transition to the via Francés pretty easily – there’s sure to be more peregrinos there, but not so many this time of year that you can’t find some quiet time when you need it. Just a thought. The coastal segments look great though! The suburban city entry/exits on tarmac were always a bit of a bummer for me too – the pics from the countryside are definitely giving me the walkin itch though. Buen Camino! 🙂

    Billy Echapa

  2. Ooh, that looks like a really pretty route! When I started thinking about doing the Camino in 2006, my original plan was to do the coastal route to Santiago and the Camino Frances back to the Pyrenees – or vice versa. I ended up doing the Camino only one way, but from my home instead, and via the Camino Frances through Spain. Your images from today really make me wanna do the northern route, too some day.
    Glad to hear and see that things took a turn for the better after all the roadwalking and rain!
    Buenas noches, y buen camino!

  3. I can relate to the need to talk to someone, hence the numerous videos. My daughter moved out last year to go to college and I took a year off from work to recuperate and train for the 2014 PCT. I never realized how hard it is to not talk to people all day. I find myself talking to my computer out loud, which always seems eerie. Lately, I’ve considered getting a volleyball with a bloody hand print on it to talk to… 🙂

    If you download the Skype app (free) on your phone, you can call friends and family at home each day and do a video chat. Seems that would help satisfy the need. They would also have to download the app.

    Clearly, hiking alone in a foreign country without knowing the language is a lonely experience. I feel for you.


  4. Talk about feeling like I don’t fit in…that’s how I feel when I watch your videos…’cause I wish really HARD to be able to do what you are doing…making life an adventure…I did backpack when I was in my late 30’s…and I loved it….Being 80, with creeky joints, is the YUK….Now you know why I don’t fit in…just lovin’ your videos anyway…and wish I was there to make you laugh and help you find an English speaking person to help you find your way….I must say, I am amazed how someone suddenly helps you…wonderful….makes me happy for you….From your California friend, Barbie….(Imagine an 80 year old being called Barbie!!!)

  5. I totally get it, I was traveling on the Camino with someone that spoke English , thankfully, but was amazed that no one else spoke English at all! In most of my European travels English was the second language and commonly spoken for most countries, but not so in Spain! Crazy that none of the locals and many of the pligrims speak very little English! It can be very isolating …

    Hang in there , love your post…

  6. Sounds like ‘different country, different challenges’. I use to like to travel in Europe alone where I didn’t know the language. There was a feeling of anonymity that was refreshing. However, I was never alone for more than five days and I was in big cities. I’m sure I would also miss having someone to talk to if I was in the countryside. However, it is nice to get all the posts and videos that you are sending. The country is beautiful and not something I will get to see otherwise. You will probably know a lot more Spanish by day 32. It is reassuring that the people seem to be so helpful

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