Day 8, Camino del Norte – Pobeña to Islares 33 km

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

About magwood

Trepidatious Traveller - camino blog is about preparing for and walking the Camino de Santiago. Many future pilgrims have found the blog useful and inspiring, and many who have no plans to walk the camino have simply enjoyed the dialogue http://www.magwood.me
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17 Responses to Day 8, Camino del Norte – Pobeña to Islares 33 km

  1. mary lynch says:

    Greetings my foot sore and weary pilgrim. Perhaps you should take a day off in the next truly inspiring place you arrive at? You have been doing very long days and a day of rest may do you good. Buen Camino xx

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  2. David says:

    I hope that tomorrow the tracks are kinder on your feet and joints. No pictures! Sleep well you deserve to. L David x

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  3. Danielle says:

    So sorry to hear about your sore feet, but they are still serving you well, all these up and down mountains and over 30 plus km per day… Did you forget to download your photos??? I missed them😉… Have a good night rest!
    Danielle

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  4. OzAnnie says:

    Hi Maggie
    I guess you must have s limited time available for this Camino. You’re setting a decent pace .
    Even with all the paving , your recounting still has me wanting to get back again. Glad the sun has found you and hope you can ease off a bit as your feet will be happier.
    Lovely to hear the doggies are loved and appreciated in that part of walk – Buen Camino

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  5. lynharrison4wind says:

    Great writing as always and well illustrated to boot (pun intended). Following you every step of the way (of course). Until today, all the omens seemed set fair for you: successful bus ride from the airport, better weather than forecast, boots manning up for the job and generally fair sleeping quarters. But all this walking on asphalt sounds painful, not to say a mite depressing. I’ll put in a word wth your Camino angels for better ground underfoot as I drop off tonight. Roly is in fine form, by the way, but I know he’s missing you as he’s been much more attentive than usual!

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  6. OzAnnie says:

    Additional comment Maggie
    I just noticed the mention of a Facebook page for your blog and had a look

    I can’t get over your photos and timing(Horses and ponies ).
    I also love taking pics of the animals along the way, donkeys/mules, sheep,horses etc but have to tell you that it was reading your blog of the Camino Portuguese that made me really appreciate the balance to album given by the flowers and grasses (especially with the morning dew)

    Always love to see what has caught your attention to fix that moment.
    Yours are ‘book worthy’. Honest.

    Annie

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  7. OzAnnie says:

    This one is for your questions and answers response when you have time .
    I saw your outfit on the FB page. You have your water bottle rigged near or on your backpack strap (on your left side -just above your heart ). I couldn’t see it clearly so wondering if you could at some stage get someone to take a close up of the rig out.
    I am wondering how you have attached it there and whether you pull it out to drink or whether there is a water tube to it.
    I just got home from a month holiday in USA and while there bought a few things in their REI shop but when I asked about a tube to a bottle I got a blank look .

    Q2. How has the rain cape you were working I turned out in action.
    Annie

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  8. Edina says:

    🙂

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  9. T&V says:

    Watching your progress with interest. Great achievement so far. Hope the feet improve.
    Arrive Santander mid-day Monday and planning to drive out to lunch at the Hosteria Boo 14kms west of Santander. Wave to the ferry if you are around there at that time 🙂

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  10. keith889 says:

    A long day for you Maggie. I hope you get some better walking surfaces tomorrow. Missed seeing any of your wonderful photos. xx

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  11. Welcome back to Spain! You made the same mistake I did! It’s definitely beautiful, but it also adds on to your long day. You have a few more beautiful days ahead of you but lots of road walking! Buen Camino!

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  12. Must have been lovely to have the hut to yourself. Hopefully today you are feeling better and have less aches and pains. There is a good article in the CDSN about your travels. Take care. x

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  13. Heather says:

    Oh your poor feet xxx

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  14. Before I even began to read, I wondered about your sore feet. Love your daily updates of the small details which always make travel so much more interesting than the big obvious ones. Happy trails.<3

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  15. Jeannette Burgos-Rigó says:

    Hello Maggie, every day you surprised me with your wonderful pictures, today I wonder if is a person jumping to the water on your third collage?

    Try to relax your wonderful and powerful feet. Burn Camino, hugs.

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  16. keith889 says:

    Thanks for posting the photos Maggie

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