Castro Urdiales to Santoña 29.7kilometers

As we head out of town it seems to take an age to get to the turn off for the alburgue. (The official end of yesterdays stage). We did find a good café before we left town though, and stocked up on croissants and coffee. We have beautiful coastal views here for 8k until we arrive in Islares.Time to refill with coffee and a short rest before we carry on.

After this we are on road again until a fork in the road and we have another split in the route ahead. We decide to take the shorter route, it involves more road, but today is long enough. Finally we descend another load of steps down into Laredo.

We are surrounded by bars, it is difficult to decide which one to choose. We pick one that has a view of the camino and  a seat in the sun. I have a new favorite beer, it is called Selecta by San Miguel, of course.  As we sit here with our beer and pincho we are passed by dozens of fellow pilgrims. The two Swiss girls pass, they are not travelling on, they are stopping in the alburgue here.

Rested and refreshed we carried on  just a short walk to the ferry now. 5kilometers further on and still we have not reached it. We are tempted by the hotel at the end but then we see a line of cars and think this is it, but no. Eventually we come to a large circular area with cars parked and some bars. We see a sign for the ferry and we follow a boardwalk then we are on the beach.  It is only a foot ferry and it was about to leave. The engines stirred up the sand and we thought he was going to leave us there, but he was just moving the boat to make it easier for us to get on.

At the other side there was a tourist information point, but you guessed it, it was shut. Santoña is not a big place but we struggled to find a hostel. We found another information point “Open at 5:30” but it did not. So we continued our search. Then we came upon a Pension attached to a bar. “Lo siento es complet” he said “English?” “si” said I. “I have a friend who has a new pension, I can ring him for you” So we waited and enjoyed a free beer (The best kind). When the guy came we followed him through a maze of streets to our new home for two days. I always worry at this point as they are always reluctant to discuss the price. I need not have worried 35e including breakfast. It was a beautiful room, but unfortunately no balcony to dry our things.

We tried to find a launderette but it seems it was quite a way away still we could try tomorrow. Meanwhile our host was busy in reception, so I thought give it a try “Hay servicio lavanderia?”  “Si un bolsa 5e” that will do for me. We threw everything we weren’t wearing in a bag and took it to reception.

Next morning, as this is a rest day we got up at a civilized time and went around the corner for breakfast. The guy in the café was a nice guy but it was like pulling teeth getting anything off him. Everything was included but we had to ask for each item individually.  We checked the opening time for the morning 7:30 later than we would like but OK.

We walked down to the front and bumped into the Swiss girls again. The first ferry is at 9:00 but it was now well after ten, seems they are not early risers.

We spent the day exploring and looking out for pilgrims, though we saw no one else we knew  that day. The castle was well worth viewing, they had an exhibition on there but I was more interested in it’s strategic significance. It was the only place where Napoleons army was not defeated, and looking at its position and the amount of cannon, I was not surprised.


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