Castro Urdiales to Pobeña

The decision was made with difficulty. We would Head for Pobeña tonight and the donativo albergue. 1K short of Arenas but at least we would, hopefully, get a bed.

We had our cold coffee and choc brioche, so we were good to go. It was a pleasant day, we were early and we only had a short walk of about14k. We set off along the shoreline, knowing that at some point we must head inland. Straight away people were telling us we were going the wrong way. As we got further along one guy was quite insistent but we ignored him. Seems he had a point though, because another guy told us that this path “no hay salida” and we could not get through. We turned back a short way and then, using the GPS worked our way through a dormitory estate of flats and houses. Eventually we got back onto the N634.

Soon enough we encountered pilgrims again and had to assure them that they were going the right way. When we got to where the road twisted and turned we met more coming up from a valley. We followed their backtrack and recognised where we were. Lower down we were still following the arrows backward and no longer recognised the path. We came to Playa Mioño. The book has two paths to take here so we were still on course. The beach itself was the filthiest place I have come across. There were a number of vans parked up and litter had been left everywhere. On the path up out of there was further rubbish and human faeces, it was disgusting. Of all the places we have visited, I have no desire to return here.

Back on the N634 we encountered more pilgrims and noticed that they were missing the turn down. I had no desire to put them right. They would be happier on the road. Behind the pilgrims came a bus, the driver slowed right down and gesticulating wildly indicated we should turn around and go the other way.

When we got to the turn off in Onton, the waymarks had been vastly improved. So much so that, when we had come this way we had to ask directions, now we could easily follow the arrows backwards.

We easily found our way onto the old railway casement, but halfway along was a fence with a sign not to pass as it was closed. Unsure of what to do we waited then saw people coming the other way. So we just ignored the signs and carried on.  There were some signs of a rockfall but nothing to worry us, another unnecessary diversion avoided.

It was still early when we arrived at the Albergue and the hospitalerios were just locking up and leaving. A young couple said that we should leave our bag in a queue by the door. Viv was concerned that such a nice day we could have got our clothes dry. I said not to worry follow me. Behind were sinks and lines, so I changed my shirt and we washed our socks and shirts and left them to dry in the sun. We got talking to an Austrian guy who was here on his own, his wife unable to walk with him. Then we went off for some pinchos and cañas in the village. We were right by the bus stop for Bilbao and were tempted, but no telling if we could get a bed.

The young couple who had helped were camping outside and, it appeared were volunteers helping at the albergue. Once we were ensconced in the albergue we walked on to La Arena and had one of their wonderful rice dishes and more beer. It was a little expensive, but worth it. We also got some stocks in the supermarket for the morning. This place is for rich people with apartments so the choice for us was not good, still better than nothing.

Viv said that she was not going to allow the early risers to disturb her in the morning, she would lay in bed until they had all got up and gone.

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