Camino del Norte, Güemes to Santander 20 km

Total distance walked 15 km, + 5 km ferry trip

There were more than 50 people at the albergue last night. The very welcoming voluntary hospitaleros at Güemes provide lunch for any pilgrims who arrive in time, and also serve a communal dinner. I tried to cry-off the dinner when asked my dietary preferences, saying that I had a healthy supply of food with me that needed to be eaten, but I was made to feel that I had to participate, even though I knew I wouldn’t like the food. Not wanting to rock the boat I complied.

I sat at one of the very many large tables alongside a very pleasant German couple and a group of Irish women. The food was as I expected – I hate to sound churlish but I really don’t like mushy pasta, although the yoghurt and the red wine were very welcome.

After a reasonable night’s sleep I set off alone this morning, because that’s actually what I like best. It felt wonderful striding out on my own – nobody asking me any questions.

I am a planner – I like to know that I have everything in order before I set off on any journey. I’m not one to just take things as they come, I like to know what to expect. As such I had prepared a detailed spreadsheet of stages, accommodation, possible variations, distances, etc. I happily share this information with my amigos, but that has put me in the unwanted position of being the ‘leader’. I don’t want to be the leader. I could never be a tour guide – my people skills are rubbish and I get very impatient. This is not to say that I do not appreciate the company of my friends, which I do a great deal, but it is sometimes really good to be solitary and to think only of myself.

So today I walk out unencumbered into the misty morning, for the first time without my fleece – just arm warmers – and I have a big smile on my face, I’m loving the solitude

After about 5.5 km of ever quieter roads and country lanes I finally reached the cliff top path that would lead all the way to Santander.

From the very start it was stunning, with cove after cove of sandy and rocky beaches. Breathtaking with the early morning sun sparkling on the waves below. The path was very close to the edge and most of the way there were crop fields alongside.

Eventually the track dropped onto the beach and I didn’t hesitate to take off my boots and walk the next 2+ km along the waterline. The beach is busy with Sunday morning walkers and groups of surf school pupils, and not a few dog walkers, until it was eventually time to leave the sand and walk the short remaining distance to the ferry pick up point for the 5 km boat ride to Santander.

I have been told by both my walking companions that my stride is a little odd. My right operated leg is swinging out before being placed back on the ground. I’m not aware of this, I can’t feel it and I don’t think I can do anything to stop it. But when I was walking on the road with the sun directly behind me I could actually see it in my shadow. I wonder if this is because that leg is now longer and perhaps my heel riser in my left shoe isn’t high enough. Maybe I will play with it tomorrow. I really should have got orthotics made before caminoing, but the likely cost put me off !

We have decided to take a short day into Santander and have booked an Air B&B for the night before taking the coastal alternative tomorrow, which involves a much greater distance than the official route.

After a plate of chips (the Spanish make exceedingly good chips) we wander around the streets of the old town, take a ride up the funicular for the fun of it, and call into the church below the cathedral for a stamp for our credenciales.

After returning to our room our delightful host Nadia offered us food. The meat eaters have stuffed peppers and she makes potato fritters and salad for me. So very kind. Paul and Renate then go out for a drink whilst I stay in the room to write my blog when Nadia knocks on the door and asks me if I would like a massage. It seemed churlish to decline and I was treated to a very thorough full leg massage. All rather weird, but extremely kind and much appreciated. Thank you Nadia.

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
This entry was posted in Camino de Santiago de Compostela, Camino del Norte, Camino Primitivo. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Camino del Norte, Güemes to Santander 20 km

  1. Marilyn van Graan says:

    Mmm this was your kinda day – your photos are fabulous as always and yes just doing it your way is the way to go🤣missing being there with you take care my special friend 🥰❤️🌻


  2. Tony Rice says:

    Glad to see you back and back on the Caminos. Watch the knee.



  3. Tony Rice says:

    Love the pictures and your observations. If the knee isn’t complaining leave it be.


  4. M3 Mary says:

    Another beautiful day Maggie. Fantastic photos as ever. Thanks for staying behind to do your blog rather than joining the others for a drink, it is much appreciated. Much love xx


  5. Janice Tyler says:

    Glad you were able to just be by yourself when you wanted to. Beautiful photos today. Hopefully the massage will do your limbs good.


  6. Tony McGee says:

    Enjoying the blog and envy you as we haven’t got back to the Camino since Covid. Great detail for future caminos!


  7. Dave says:

    Fabulous write-up When the weather is like this, all is good, and by the sea as well just makes it brilliant. Nothing better than your own company for the day, although it’s nice to sit and chat in the evening (sometimes 😁). Will have to weigh up options soon, as you are getting me very restless. Have fun.


  8. Currie Leggoe says:

    I noticed your mention of orthotics. I have reconstructed feet and struggled with the cost of medical orthotics. I’m in the US, so you may not be able to access this brand, but Tread Labs is fabulous. The range of choice for arch height is great and the carbon fiber version is so light and strong. I have been incredibly happy with mine. Just wanted to pass on the possibility. Buen Camino!


  9. Nicole Vroon says:

    Thank you for this very informative blog.
    In wich b&b did you stay in Santander?


I would love some feedback - tell me what you think.....

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.