Day 9, Camino del Norte – Islares to Santoña 28.8 km

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Total distance 247.6km
Daily average 27.5
Today’s accumulated uphill elevation 399m
Today’s accumulated downhill elevation 407m

I have now added photos to yesterday’s post. The wifi at the campsite was not strong enough to handle uploading these files. You can follow this link if you want to take a look.

It was quite stormy during the night – lots of rain and very strong winds. It was still very blustery when I set off at around 08:15, but wasn’t raining and the sky was quite blue.

Today’s trail started on the major road N-634, but there was a wide shoulder and not too much traffic. After 2.5 kms I peeled off onto a minor road, passing through several villages and through lovely countryside. After a total of 8 km on paved surface the track diverted through a wooded area – oh heaven! No complaints from me about the mud. The more squelchy it was the softer it was underfoot – absolute bliss. I took my time walking through, enjoying very minute.

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This was a eucalyptus forest and the tall thin trees were swaying and creaking in the wind – like the sound of a dozen doors being slowly opened in a horror movie.

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After three kms of dawdling in the mud it was back onto gravel and paved roads for the rest of the stage, but in stunningly beautiful countryside, with craggy cliffs soaring above the green fields. Lots of livestock again, full size horses, cattle and sheep.

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The weather kept changing from lovely warm sunshine to cold wind and my arm warmers were pushed up and down with great regularity. It did rain once, but not hard and not for long, and I had prepared for the possibility before setting off.

First use of my new gorillapod to strap my camera to a tree for this selfie

First use of my new gorillapod to strap my camera to a tree for this selfie

I reached the town of Laredo where I could have stopped for the night, but decided to take the ferry across to Santoña (2 euros), a smaller town where I discovered there is a festival this weekend celebrating the anchovy. And the private albergue I am staying in is situated on the main square with the feria going on outside my window. It will be a noisy night probably into the not so early hours. But I am well practised at sleeping through the sound from a spanish party, so hopefully I will get at least some sleep.

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The albergue Bilbaina is excellent with 24 sturdy wooden framed beds and two full bathrooms, rather old fashioned with showers over the baths, but it was one of the best showers I have had on this Camino. Washing and drying facilities, and breakfast goods included in the 10 euro price. Highly recommended.

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And after three days of solitude a whole crowd has just arrived, including the friends I haven’t seen since Bilbao. It is delightful to see them again. I do like my own company during the day, but it is nice to communicate with friendly pilgrims in the evenings.

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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21 Responses to Day 9, Camino del Norte – Islares to Santoña 28.8 km

  1. George Gosling says:

    Poor George say’s, you mean you didn’t swim across! There’s me thinking ykou where a purist!
    Have a good time.
    Regards
    George

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  2. Janice Tyler says:

    Really lovely photos today and a very upbeat post. Hope you get some sleep x

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  3. kay parkyn says:

    I really love the close up photographs you take Maggie, are they done in Macro mode? We too have the same tripod stand and it is great for gripping just about anywhere 🙂
    Hope you get a good look at the ferria before settling down for the night 🙂
    xxx

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  4. Nadine says:

    I stayed in this same albergue (and almost had an entire room to myself!). And I am the very same way on my Caminos- love the isolation during the day, but a little company at night is welcome. I’m loving these posts, they are bringing back so many memories for me!

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  5. alan says:

    Loving your blog. As we get dreadfully lost on our camino it’s good to see yours going well. Stay healthy. Regards Joan and Alan.

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  6. David says:

    What a fantastic selfie you look great. Some fabulous pictures and a very upbeat post. I like the post from Poor George

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  7. I loved Santoña 🙂 Laredo is a good place to visit for a while too. Like Nadine says, good memories!

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  8. Belinda says:

    Hello Maggie, I love waking up each morning to find a new trepidacious post has been delivered to my inbox! Can I ask how old you are? And how do you manage to walk such long distances over such hilly terrain… Do you train, are you naturally fit, have you had a job that requires you to be fit… what is your secret? I am 58 and training to walk in Portugal later in the year but I don’t think I could ever walk 30+ km over those hills. B

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  9. the2geordies says:

    Your doing fantastic! brilliant photo’s, we begin our travels tomorrow & will still look forward to your
    posts on “The Way”
    stay safe, take care & enjoy
    Buen Camino
    Barbara & Bob

    Like

  10. Pam Pitts says:

    as we say in the south in America, “Atta’ Girl!” walk, rest, sleep in, push on- doesn’t matter- whatever your do- its exactly what you should be doing.

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  11. Carol says:

    Hi Maggie, Your postings are informative and interesting. Thank you. I’d love your opinion on what stretch of the Camino to do… I’m flying to Bilbao – May 24th and need to be in Barcelona on June 1st. I’m trying to decide which Camino to do. Norte from Bilbao to Santander and fly from Santander to Barcelona, or do I take the bus to San Sebastian and walk back to Bilbao… or do I do the Camino Frances from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port for few days. I’m a Camino Newbie looking to get a taste of the journey. I haven’t been training to the level needed I think (i.e. I reg walk about 8km-12km over the course of a day) so the idea of walking 22-30km with elevation gain seems a stretch. Your opinion on a suggested 5-7day route would be greatly appreciated. Safe travels

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  12. mary lynch says:

    Dear Maggie I’m glad your poor feet got some respite from the paved roads and you sound much happier in this post. Gorgeous photos as ever. Hope you managed to get some sleep. Buen Camino xx

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  13. lynharrison4wind says:

    Loved the description of the sound of eucalyptus in the wind. George beat me to it. You really didn’t swim across!!??

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  14. keith889 says:

    Nice one Maggie. Hope you did manage to get some sleep

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  15. Miriam says:

    Came across your blog via Leslie Gilmores Camino newsletter, really enjoying it!! Great photos!!

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  16. Sounds you had a wonderful day. Love the pictures. They’re gorgeous. Thank you for sharing. ❤

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  17. Nati Gómez says:

    Hi Maggie, is Nati from Cudeca, amazing pictures and what an adventure! Take care, enjoy your experience, and come back to tell us all your travel!
    And thanks always for your support!

    Like

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