Bilbao to Playa de Arena 24.9kilometers

It must have been a result of the hard day yesterday but we slept until after eight, a disaster on the camino. Still no point in dwelling on it at least we were refreshed.  We found our way down to the river and a good breakfast. English breakfast 5e, well rude not to. The bacon is not quite the same and the sausages are frankfurters but top marks for trying.

Further along the road we found a ferreteria open. Viv wanted tips for her trekking poles, now how to ask for them? In Argentina they sell tyres at a Gomeria so why not “Hay gomers para estos?” “Si” came the reply, must be getting better at this.

We stopped at the Youth hostel for a stamp, they were reluctant as we had not stayed there, but in the end, well it is only a rubber stamp after all.

We carried on along the river and some old guy gave us some advice about the route. Viv asked what he said “dunno made no sense something about turning right”. About 50 yards further there was work going on and we could not pass, now his directions made sense and I silently thanked him.

Nearly two hours and we had not yet left Bilbao, not even crossed the river. Time for a drink, the guy would not sell us gaseoscould a only beer and gaseosa. Because it was so late the guy though we would stop in Potugalete ” you will never make Pobeña” he said. We thanked him for his advice and then promptly ignored it, it was after all only 22k, we could eat that even if we were late.

We were headed for the Puente Colgante, no idea what made this different but we were about to find out. The “bridge” was in fact a giant cable car. Not even this strictly speaking. There was a bridge structure at high level and suspended beneath this was a large gondola that took cars and pedestrians alike.

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As we struggled to find out how to pay for our tickets the two Swiss girls arrived  apparently they too had arrived late in Bilbao.

Well the climb from the bridge was a pleasant change, travellators. Must write to the Confraternity and ask if we can have more them. At the top there was a nice seating area, so we sat in the sun eating a bit of fruit and drinking some water. We had had too much coffee and it was too early for beer, apparently.

Well Portugallete was quite a pretty place with plenty of shops and bars, but we were still in Bilbao. The guide book had said take the metro, I would have taken their advice, but Viv is a walk all the way carry everything and don’t take short cuts type of person.

Out of town we hit a massive road system, with the most complex pedestrian and cycle bridge system you have ever seen. Good job we had arrows to follow or I think we would still be stuck on the bridge. I think we covered 1.5k just up in the air.

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On the other side we had another dichotomy, to go into Ortuella or stay on the road. We were getting thirsty by now so the bars won. The sign said “Bar 500meters” I should know by now not to trust Spanish directions. The trek seemed interminable but eventually we arrived at a bar. The beer was good and when he topped our water up he gave us ice as well. As you can see from the picture it was getting warm now, so the ice would not last long, but it was welcome anyway.

We soon joined a cycleway that weaved uphill. The guidebook says nothing of the uphill only downhill. I was confident we would go down as the next place was seaside, but the downhill was a long time coming.

When we hit Playa de la Arena the first thing we past was the tourist office. Instead of directing us he took us straight to an apartment block. I was worried about  the price and we had to wait for a German couple to book in before we got any sense. It was only 50e and the apartment was lovely, we even had a big balcony to hang out our washing.

Beer on the beach time then. Food here was again a problem, but we managed to get a meal at eight in a place tucked away behind all the beachside bars.

A Short day 21.6 kilometers the book said 22k today, but we are 1.1k short of Pobeña, the final place on todays stage. I think we made a wise choice though.

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