So today we start with the coastal option from Santander. The track that I have downloaded directs us along a busy road mostly right next to the coastline. However we opted to take a slightly more scenic route for a few hundred metres but it does involve walking on the beach and climbing up some steep steps to get back to the road. Being Monday morning at rush-hour the road is quite busy
The beaches are buzzing with activity. The council workers are cutting the grass, clearing up the rubbish, emptying the bins, smoothing the sand and sweeping the boardwalks – the beaches are left pristine
Once we leave the city behind we are on a path that has the sea to the right and a manicured golf course on the left. The sun is hitting the ripples of the sea and making star shapes as we walk alongside. If you have to spend time following a small white ball I’m guessing this might be one of the nicest places to do it
We leave the golf course and the neat paved path behind us and walk on a rough dirt track, stoney and rocky and it’s difficult to choose between looking where to place your feet and looking up to the breathtaking craggy coastline and stunning azure and turquoise sea.
It is another clear, blue sky day, very warm but with a delightful fresh soft breeze coming from the ocean
This really is a beautiful walk – there are bays, and coves, beaches and craggy outcrops. The track is used a little by local walkers and trail runners but not really very many – the only crowd so far has been when passing the Cabo Mayor lighthouse and a coach emptied its load of chattering tourists who took the easy way up. But they were soon behind us.
Right now I am sitting on the edge of a cliff, looking towards the snow capped Picos de Europa, eating a nectarine and thinking how good my world is.
At 14 km we pass through a small resort town called Maruca and I guess there must be accommodation available here. Then we continue, religiously following the coastline until we reach Soto de La Marina where we have booked a bungalow cabin at Camping Costa San Juan. It’s quite cute with two bedrooms, bathroom and kitchenette. Paul is delighted that he can finally cook up a tasty curry and I am over the moon that I can finally eat the food that I have been carrying on my back for the last three days! There is a bar and restaurant on the campsite but no supermarket. It is a 10-15 minute walk to the shop in town.
The distance stated today is from the ferry point, but we have walked an additional 1.5 kms from our accommodation. Although it has been a relatively short walk it has been quite demanding because of the rough ground. I felt quite depleted by the time we arrived.
As we entered the bar of the campsite this afternoon I heard a very familiar West Country accent. The guy (who grew up very close to where I live, but now resides on the other side of Bristol) has been travelling throughout Spain and Portugal for a month on an off road bike using TET (Trans Europe Trails) off road trails – “A 51,000km GPX route from the edge of Africa to the Arctic Circle”. Very interesting.