I slept really deeply last night but had a number of very vivid nightmares which I can’t say I’ve had for a long time. Maybe it was the canned meatballs I ate for dinner last night. I hunted down a bar with wifi tonight and sat next to a group of 7 older men playing cards who were obviously poking fun at one another because there was a lot of scowling followed by laughter going on. Here’s the video I took of the Albergue in Islares last night…
I was on the road by 8am this morning as I wasn’t exactly sure how long this stage was going to be, and I wanted to get a head start on the rain. The forecast said the rain would begin at 10am which would give me a pleasant two hours of walking along the coast and 200m up to the Chapel of San Mames. Almost on cue, just after 10 the rain hit.
I was confused by distances today as I walked 4km to El Pontarron and then saw a sign that said 24km to Laredo which was only meant to be 17 according to my notes. I had plenty of time regardless so I stopped for a coffee in a cute bar in Guriezo where the woman miraculously spoke English. I had so many things I wanted to talk about but she was busy with other things, hence my starvation of conversation continues.
The trail was grossly muddy in sections and for the first time I was actually praying for more road walking. I think my feet and legs have really got used to the hard surfaces which is a blessing because the vast majority of walking since Bilbao has been on large and small roads. I took off all my layers except my t-shirt to go up the 200m climb in my rain jacket, but by the top the rain was hammering down, and once the wind picked up it was bitterly cold. Unfortunately I didn’t have ANY cover for another hour to even put an extra layer on as it would have got drenched had I stopped. Thoughts of the PCT in Washington came flooding back and I could only be thankful that a town with a cosy warm bar was only hours away, rather than days!
Eventually I reached the outskirts of Liendo where I took shelter in an open garage where I found a man chopping wood. I was going to see if he minded me putting on a few extra layers but he jumped in and told me there was an Albergue 1km up the road. I moved at a pace halfway between power walking and jogging and reached the town centre with the kind of cosy warm bar I’d been dreaming about. I tried to dry off a little but still entered dripping wet with all eyes at the bar staring at me. I pointed at the hot chocolate packets and ordered tortilla de patatas even though I’m officially sick of it now.
When I left the bar it was still raining but I put on my long shirt and vest and felt a lot better during the stretch to Laredo. The trail took a detour to a small town called Tarrueza which I think a car on the national route stopped to tell me to avoid, but I was already down the hill when they whistled at me. I wasn’t sure if they were trying to warn me of danger but like the theory of most hikers, backtracking is always the last option.
The trail also took a long windy way into Laredo, but the views were beautiful and there was a monument for the Camino right at the top of the hill. On the way down the hill I passed a sign for a restaurant called Cantabria with a Camino symbol on it. I thought they might have a Peregrino special, but when I arrived I found it was quite a fancy establishment. It was too late to make a quick exit as everyone’s attention was on the hiker with a dripping wet pack still attached to her back. I was shown to a table complete with white table cloth and cotton napkin and ordered the mushroom crepes and some kind of incredibly tasty fish which has changed my idea of Spanish cuisine completely.
I drank a bottle of still water from a wine glass and ended the meal with the best coffee I’ve had yet. I thought I would feel completely lethargic, but I actually bounced out of the restaurant ready to tackle the last 5km to Colindres. I decided to go this route rather than worry about the ferry to Santona which was a great choice as I later discovered the ferry wasn’t running which would have been devastating. Instead I walked in the thunder and lighting for another hour, a little concerned my aluminium hiking poles might act as conductors, so I kept them as low to the ground as possible. When I reached the Albergue the door was locked but I had the number to call in my notes. The woman didn’t speak English but I managed to take down another phone number which she read out in Spanish to call. The second number was for the local police who also didn’t speak English. Somehow I managed to communicate that I was at the front door to the Albergue and about a minute later a police car showed up to escort me to the bar which had the key. It felt incredibly odd being driven in a cop car to a random bar to pay 5 euros for a key and get another stamp in my passport. They then drove me back again and wished me well. Gracias Carlos and the other guy whose name I couldn’t pronounce.
It’s a bit weird being the only person in these Albergues which have beds for at least 18 people and must be bustling in summer. Even stranger is that this one has two doors which are locked and I think one must be the toilet. I’ve tried the key 100 times with no luck. I went to a pub close by to use the bathroom but I’m not exactly sure what I’m going to do if I have to go in the middle of the night. You don’t even want to know the creative options which have been floating through my head!
14 thoughts on “Day 10: Islares to Colindres”
I guess you could say those “creative options” are on your bucket list.
Glad to see some of your previous stress levels have ebbed away a bit. Are you able to take any time to look at the various sites in any detail? It seems like there really are a lot of places to wander, but would probably throw your schedule off if you did.
It’s a bit like the PCT, you wish you could spend the whole day by a beautiful lake but there’s that voice in your head telling you to keep moving. I’m making a long list of all the places I want to revisit!
Those guys in the bar weren’t staring at you because you were wet.
Surely you’re used to that by now…
You certainly appear renewed and happy again; even in the rain. It’s good to see things have picked up and your feet have recovered. Are you still using the inserts?
Inserts are golden! Yes I’ll be using them the whole way if they survive that long.
You look so happy! Even in the rain and wind! I am glad things turned around, and I am glad you had such a great warm meal. Your posts make me miss the Camino, and hiking in general. I have to do some this year, definitely!
I hope you get a few days without rain soon, so that you can choose if you want to stop at some nice places and have a break to take in the views and such…
I love what Bill just commented…”those guys weren’t staring at you because you were dripping wet”….You are so pretty that their eyes were on your beauty….take that in, Rozanne….you are, you know….I am also glad to hear you giggle a bit and smiling….from Barbie here!
I would not like staying in an Albergue by myself. Noooooo. Would be so eerie. Brave soul you are Muk!
If you come across a China shop (like a Dollar store in the US), get yourself an umbrella. My last Camino, a couple from Avila shared their umbrellas with me and it changed my life! 🙂 They’re a couple euro and totally worth their weight when it’s pouring down.
Loving your posts!
I guess the rain in Spain doesn’t fall mainly in the plain.
Thank you for sharing!
Hey Muk. Not sure if you saw, but the PCT Association posted an interview with Bad Seed. Thought you’d enjoy.
Thanks Ian just read it! I’m so excited she’s off to hike the CDT. One day maybe I’ll tackle that one too!
Ha ha…Come stay with us in for a time and see how creative Alaskans can be regarding no bathroom (key)
And …I absolutly LOVE the giggles during the stormy walk up the mountain!
Haha I just watched that clip again!! I forgot how rainy it was… and muddy!!
Hi Muk Muk,
I just got my first chance to see some of these very touching videos ! it is a little weird commenting on issues from a year ago.
But…this is what I signed up for, so here goes.
I find myself on the edge of my chair as you make your way through these strange surroundings. Comparing The Way to the PCT is inevitable. All our past experiences are laying just under the surface of our memory. How could you help but compare ?
Having said that, I love the way you turned it around and reminded yourself and us that the Way has it’s own special charms and I hope you find your Spanish groove soon. i bet it’s just around the next corner.
We all have baggage we carry through out our lives. maybe you needed to look through some of it this day. Maybe tomorrow a shurpa will carry it for you.
Gotta get back to my binge viewing… more later !