I had a slow morning today, wanting to spend as much time in this Guemes haven as possible. The group had breakfast at 8am and then people started to leave for the trail. I decided to stick around and explore the place a little more.
Ernesto showed those who remained the hermitage and explained the history of the paintings inside and who helped him build it. He then showed us through the museum which contains the jeep he travelled in for 2 years alongside all of the photos from his adventures more than 30 years ago. I’ve never seen anyone’s life documented in such a way.
I sat in a quiet room with my feet up, enjoying the warmth of the sun streaming in through the window and catching up on my writing. The place was so silent except for the quiet conversation of Agnes who was giving Ali a fresh trail haircut. Part of me wanted to spend days at this place, but another part of me knew this adventure must continue moving forward.
Agnes and I chatted to Ernesto about the small village up on the mountain called Tresviso where he used to be the priest. He showed us a picture of the trail heading up the 900m climb and we excitedly decided we were going to take a side trip and visit there after reaching Santander.
At around 2:30pm, after making the plan with both Ali and Agnes to visit Tresviso tomorrow, I set off for the 15km coastal walk to Santander. The trail wound itself right alongside the cliffs past many secluded beaches, and then led down to the sand for the last few kilometres.
I made some pretty firm conclusions about the direction I want my life to head this year while I walked along the cliffs. More accurately I made a firm decision about where I don’t want it to go. I’ve spent many years hopping from one opportunity to the other, never really questioning if the proposition is actually something I want to do. I’ve decided to take full control of the reins and go with my gut on this one. What it has provided me with is freedom of time, and flexibility during this trip to head off the beaten track if the opportunity beckons.
Once on the beach I met a woman walking her five dogs who I thought was going to tell me off for walking on the rickety walkway which had been fenced off. Instead she approached me as she recognised I was a pilgrim and spoke perfect English. She told me stories about her life in Africa, her first husband who she met at 16 at a barn dance in Ireland, politics in Spain, and about pilgrims she’s met along the Camino. This was all in a 2km beach stretch. It was a bit sad to say goodbye when we reached the end of the beach as I’d really enjoyed the company and conversation.
After the cute little boat ride across the bay to Santander, Carlos, a Spanish hiker who was at the Albergue in Guemes, met me at the dock to guide me to the Albergue where Ali and Agnes who had left earlier were waiting. It was so nice to have company in a big city like Santander, and more than one Spanish speaker to help me order something other than tortilla de patatas for dinner!