Total distance 218.8 km
Daily average 27.4
Today’s accumulated uphill elevation 337m
Today’s accumulated downhill elevation 320m
Yesterday evening I wandered around the village of Pobeña and came to the conclusion that there might be more bars than houses. But only one had wifi and dinner. It was the least attractive option, but the possibility of food was very attractive. My prejudice was proved to be totally misplaced and I ate a delicious plate of chicken breast and chips and was given a bottle of wine (although I only drank one glass – honest!) for the princely sum of 6 euros – all with very good service. Excellent value. The bar is in the street behind the albergue and is called Bar Itxaspe.
This morning dawned bright with blue sky. That’s a first for this Camino. There was still a brisk breeze, but the blue sky was worth a chilly start. I was first faced with a climb up 120 steps to a path along the cliff edge, high above the ocean. A fabulous start to the day. After an hour or so of walking the path diverted away from the ocean and along quiet country roads. I passed through a couple of villages and I took a short break at around 14 km for a hot drink.
There were two options today and once again I got it wrong. I was planning to take the track that followed the coastline, but obviously wasn’t paying sufficient attention at the right time and ended following the ‘official’ way of the yellow arrows, along an interminable ‘via verde’ cycle/walking track, without a glimpse of the sea until I reached Castro-Urdiales at 21.5 km. C-U is a prosperous resort with many gated communities and a promenade along the beach of 1.5 km. From the start of the promenade to the municipal albergue is 3 km, but I had decided not to stay here tonight, but to continue another 8 km to Islares.
More road walking ensued, all very quiet, but 30 km on paved surfaces is very hard on the feet. There was just a stretch of around 2 km at the end of the walk that was on beautiful coastal path, so at least the day ended on a high.
I was very pleased to see a sign for the albergue, but not quite so pleased when I got inside. All was spotlessly clean, but it was somehow very depressing. I registered and paid my 5 euros, but then started having second thoughts. I looked at google maps to see the layout of the village, and could see that the only shop and bars were almost 1.5 kms further on. I also saw from my notes that there is a camping ground that will give pilgrims a bed for 10 euros, and there is a bar/restaurant on site. So I picked up my stuff and wandered along the road to ‘Camping Playa Arenillas’. I have a small hut with two beds and would have to share if another female turned up, which was very unlikely by the time I arrived. It is extremely basic, and the shower/wc block is a two minute walk away, but even so it is cosier than the albergue (in my opinion!)
Islares is an odd sort of place, consisting of a development of new, probably expensive, houses that in my opinion have not been well designed, and there is no-one around. I guess many of them haven’t been sold and others are used for holiday homes. But the campsite is beautifully presented and well managed. I am glad I moved on. There are several very pretty beaches within a few metres of the site and other options to eat close by.
So, today has been my third day running of walking practically all day on paved tracks/roads, and my feet are really feeling the strain. I have a blister under my right little toe today, and lots of aches and pains.
So I am ending my eighth day feel rather foot-sore and weary, but at least the sun put in an appearance today and I was able to take my first shadow photo!
I have noticed that the Spanish here in the north are great dog lovers. All sorts of dogs, from minuscule to huge and everything inbetween, seem to be well loved and cared for. Very nice to see after the treatment that many poor hounds receive in my area of Andalucia.