Boo to Santillana del Mar 22kilometers

Did I say breakfast was included as well? I still recon this is the best alburgue in Spain. There was quite a crowd waiting for the train, but the guy who gave the talk in Guemes was right, nobody came to collect a fare. The German guy we had met in Santander was on the train already, apparently he decided that the walk out of Santander would be boring, so he took the train. There are various points on this route where you have little option but to take transport, but this we felt was just cheating.

We left the train and followed Vivienne up the hill. She was off like a greyhound out of the trap. I could well understand how she could do 30k every day. Stupidly we just blindly followed. After about 2k it dawned on her that the sun was the wrong side of us. When we caught up I checked my GPS, we were going the wrong way. Although there were arrows, it seems we were on the alternative route that avoids the train.

Nothing for it but to turn around, before we reached the Station we passed the lady from the alburgue and she tried to send us off to the left. Unsure where we were or where we were going, we carried on. Opposite the turning down to the Station we saw the arrows we should have followed, off to the left. So the lady from the alburgue was right, although had we taken her short cut we probably would not have had faith in where we were going.

We stayed with Vivienne for a while but her pace was frantic and I needed my poles to keep this pace. When I stopped to get them out Viv fell back with me, she needed a comfort break anyway she said. We never saw Vivienne again after this.

We stayed with the road for another 9k accompanied most of the time by the railway that criss-crossed the road, and generally reminded us, we could have stayed on the train. That may not be the point, but on a hot dry road these things do go through your mind.

We arrived in Requejada and a most welcome bar. We sat right opposite the local alburgue and contemplated just stopping, but despite our diversion it was still going to be a short day. Met the German guy from Boo again, still could not communicate but still nice to see him.

We did a bit of hill walking but generally stayed with the railway for about 6k then we finally turned away from it and 2k later we arrived in Santillana.

When you have become used to the solitude of the camino a place like this comes as something of a shock. It was all tourists with cameras gift shops and bars.  Well the bars were welcome anyway, we sat in front of the beautiful Church enjoying a drink. As we were near enough in the centre, we back tracked to a Pension we had just passed Called Casa de Octavio.  There was a workshop next to the front door and we had to ring and wait. We were taken to the next building and up a flight of magnificent stairs. The building was old and quite lovely, we even had a balcony to dry our clothes.

It was a lovely place to explore still maintaining a very medieval feel. Apparently only twenty years ago, before it was discovered by tourists, all the ground floor rooms here had cattle in them. Now they are full of tourist tat.

Food is again a problem, many places had prices to suit foreign tourists and not pilgrims. The kitchens again not open until late. The place we had stopped earlier had food, although the parilla would not open until later, they still did us proud. The Quebecer and his German girlfriend arrived at the next table, he was still fawning over her. Vivienne had told us how horrified she had been when they crawled into bed together in the same room as her. You meet all sorts on the Camino.

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