Tag Archives: Laredo

Laredo to Castro Urdiales,

The way out of Laredo should have been easy, it was not. We could not find the steps we had come down when we first arrived and we ended up in a steep narrow country lane. There were arrows here though, so we continued to back follow them. Steep rugged and narrow, the roads were not maintained and almost impassable for vehicles. There were a  few abandoned houses and we could see why no one would want to live here, despite the views.

The GPS was now telling us we were going the wrong way, it was time to look at the mapping and make our own route. It was back on ourselves and also with the camino. Then we came across a T junction and again we were going against the arrows.

Then we came to the N263. This was the point where Pat had wanted to follow the camino, but instead had decided to follow us. We could now see this had been a wise decision. At the junction to Liendo the road was closed, I was not intending to go that way anyway. On our way down we had done 33k and now we had done the extra bit on the end, “stick to the road” I thought or this would be a marathon day.

At a roundabout we stopped for Viv to adjust her pack and a group of Italians arrived. They asked if we were lost, we told them we were headed back and they asked “Why” “Well we need to go home some time” I said. As they left we realised we were right by a bar, but it was closed. Just within sight was a garage, we had seen the Italians go toward it then turn away, but we tried anyway. They had coffee, kitkats and even a seat for us.

It was a long day short of stopping places, we left the N263 in Cerdigo, but the bar where we had met Patrick was closed so we just carried on. As we entered the outskirts of Castro Urdiales and passed the Bull Ring and albergue we also passed a line of shops. There was a kebab bar, no alcohol bur two cokes and a sit down for 2e. Shame I cannot persuade Viv to come back later to eat.

Surprisingly again we got a room in Hostal Del Mar and there was availability for tomorrow as well. The only free room was ours, luck was on our side.

There was no outside line and poor internet. I was now getting nervous about accommodation. So I rang a head to Playa de Arenas. There is only the one place to stay there so if it was full we would have to walk on almost to Bilbao. It was full for the whole weekend, the only room they could let us have would be tonight. So I took my option on another night here and considered my options.

We ate salad from Eroski (local supermarket) and had some beers in the bar across the street.

The following day was a beautiful hot day. It would have been totally unsuitable for walking so we just enjoyed it. We ate breakfast in the chino bar by our hostal, even staying for extra coffee. Lunch was a collection from the panaderia, this was the same chain that we had stopped at in Laredo, but with different things for sale. Interestingly we stopped here on our first time through for breakfast.

Seems like all of Spain was stretched out on the slipway here so after exploring the ruins, we joined them. Viv was first to brave the water, but unknown to her, the tide was right on the edge of the actual slipway. I watched her gingerly walking down to the waters edge then suddenly disappear into water.

I was not very brave, unsure of the bottom, so although I went in did not go far or stay in long.

If you want food at a reasonable time, it seems Burgerking is the way to go. Well first of all they had a sign on the door “No hay Ternera” so ok we will have chicken. They were advertising “Menu Barbacoa ” so I asked what it consisted of. It appears young girls with tattoos and piercings are incapable of answering a simple question. No doubt this is advertised on the local TV, but we are tourists after all. Anyway we got the menu but not the Barbacoa and we had two empty cups. No one told us that there was a drink dispenser by the door, I had to work that out by myself. I think we should have waited and gone to the chino instead. I did think of filling our cups with Ice to go, to cool our coffees for the morning, but decided against it.

We finished the evening in our favourite bar with some cañas of San Miguel Selecta.


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Noja to Laredo

We had a good breakfast in Hostal Virginia, but as always that put us late. We did not leave until 9:30 and it was again hammering down.

We took the footpath that passes in front of the Hostal rather than the walk across the wet grass. The beach path however was flooded, there was just no avoiding it in these conditions. We followed the road behind the beach as far as the albergue where the GPS showed a path through to the road.

When we got there the gate was locked and it said something about submarines or submariners. So we were left with no alternative but to take the cliff walk. The rocky parts where we climbed up were treacherous and slippy with narrow parts where people who were going the right way were trying to pass. Over the other side it was mud. My boots got no purchase in the gloop and my poles were all but useless as the rubber ends just skidded across the top.

When we finally got down on the other side there was a downspout on the surf bar and we used it to wash off the mud. We sat outside the bar in the rain because we were made to feel most unwelcome. Whether it was the mud, the rain, or the fact that we were not surfers I don’t know, but we were glad to leave.

It was a long drag into Santoña past the prison and all the appartments. The ferry was almost empty, for our return trip. There were many pilgrims coming our way, but few people returning at this hour. It is another long drag of about 5k into Laredo so we stopped at a frozen yogurt stall. In this weather at least we did not have to queue. (looking on the bright side here, we were cold and wet, but no crowds).

I found our cheap hotel back and again I was wrong. I thought, it looks so bad from the outside that it would never get full. It was.

We found Pension Tucan across the road and it was only 45e. The patron told us it would be sunny tomorrow, but was unable to tell us if we could stay another night. Our missing Santander and the last couple of stops on the Primativo, means we are running ahead of schedule. We do not want to be staying a week in Bilbao so we need to delay.

The launderette was packed out. Many were in just to dry their clothes but we had to wait an hour for a machine. We waited in a bar opposite which was doing great trade on the back of the washing queues.

We found a Telepizza, the first we have come across so we went there later for food. A group of Germans were there obviously for the cheep beer. Unfortunately they had drunk it all and we had to have soft drinks with our pizza.

We finally got agreement we could stay another night so we had a lay in, in the morning. We found a bar under our hostal ( not as obvious as it sounds, as the entrance door is around the corner). It was still pouring down so we stayed for another coffee. There was a book ferria on the front so Viv bought herself a couple of books, in English 7e for two.

We took them back and finally caught our woman and paid for our stay. She said “mañana hace sol” I thought “I’ve heard that before” and we went out looking for frozen yogurt again. It seems in Spain, when the sun comes out, ice cream and frozen yogurt vendors go in. Our search failed.

We found a nice panaderia and bought a pizza thing and some mantxs. We thought it was a type of pasty but it turned out to be quite sweet. It was more like a flapjack than the meat thing we thought it would be.

We had a coffee by the beach and paid a premium for it. Still less than Chester prices though.

The bar where we had breakfast was serving food from seven, so we went back and had some platos combinados. Viv was not for having pizza again but it was nice to be so close and the golden beer, of course.

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Laredo to Noja

Not too early rising this morning as we have a fairly short day and the ferry does not go until 9:30. So we found a bar open close to us and had breakfast of coffee and croissants. It is a long walk along the front to the ferry, but this time we knew what to expect and were even able to direct some cyclists to the ferry. One cyclist had already done 40k and was going on to Santander. We saw our first electric bike as well; I have heard all the arguments but I still feel that this is cheating. We may do a bit of cheating ourselves this time, but I make the excuse that we have already done the camino in full and we are not going for our compostella this time.

This time in Santoña we followed the camino route and so we passed the prison. It is huge and impressive, the distance from the main building to the perimeter wall must be not far off 100 yards. I doubt that they have many escapees.

We stopped again at the camp at Berria for another coffee then walked out through the back. Viv was worried we would lose the camino, but I remembered this from last time. From here it was a steep uphill climb on sand and rock. Treacherous and difficult, made all the worse by a narrow path with people wanting to come the other way. The other side was no easier as we tried to climb down. It was only half a kilometer but seemed to take a chunk out of our day.

We dropped down onto the beach, then followed the signs for The Albergue but this proved a dead-end, so we continued along the beach. The town here spills down onto the beach and we followed the road up. There were big signs for hostals in the centre, as usual the tourist information was closed. Well we followed the signs for Hostal Virginia and we hit the jackpot lovely room friendly staff and only 20euros per person.

We sat outside with a beer while our room was prepared, we even got nuts. I had trouble with the wifi as the password had a number in it, I heard 1975 and it was 1965. They do say you hear what you want, this place was built in 1965 and I though it was the year we got married. I thought the guy looked puzzled. He must have thought we looked good for our age.

The end of the line in Laredo

Waiting for the Ferry, it comes up on the beach.

Laredo from the Ferry

Santoña from the ferry

Moorish inspired housing on leaving Santoña

The Marshes beyond Santoña. (We crossed these last time)

Looking back from Punta Del Brusco. The red roof (middle right) is the prison.

Enjoying a beer at Hostal Virginia

Enjoying a beer at Hostal Virginia

Beech at Noja

Fountain in the park

Church at Noja

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Castro Urdiales to Laredo

The camino sent us a different way out-of-town from last time. We missed the bars that I knew but we still managed to find a place selling croissants and coffee, so unlike yesterday we would not have to wait two hours for breakfast. We passed the bullring on the way out and the albergue, I had seen it advertised now I knew where it was.

The road now became a series of roundabouts so I decided to cut left into an estate and hopefully avoid the snarl up. We came into a cul-de-sac and had to back track. Then following the GPS we came to an underpass. A guy in his garden told us that this was a “safer” route. Although the path weaved for a while, it soon followed the main road, but at a distance.

We passed under the road a few times eventually coming out in San Isidro. There there was a sports club with a bar where we had stopped on our last camino, so we stopped for another coffee. We were joined by an Irish guy called Pat and we sat talking. We left the bar together and he stayed with us the rest of the day.

This was a 70th birthday present from his wife, who was pre booking his stops ahead of him. He had actually stayed at the same place as us last night, but we did not meet. It was a long and arduous day, so Pat was glad of the knowledge we brought with us cutting down some of the unnecessary bits. I suppose it is easier to talk to strangers and he told us all about his life as a property developer and how he lost £16.1million in the crash. I think of myself as relatively poor, but then my life, home and savings have never come under threat.

Pat’s map had a different route through Liendo, ours shows two routes around it. We ended up in there anyway and there were no bars to be found. Again there were two routes out and we made the fatal mistake of asking a Spaniard.  That helped not at all, so we took the route that my GPS directed us. We then got to the main road. Again Pat had another route but said “I’ll stick with you” and so we arrived at the series of steps that took us down into Laredo.

We were going no further today so Pat bought us a drink as reward for our company and help. He was booked into the Hotel Cosmopol and we set out to find something cheap.

We found a place called Hotel Ramona. It looked a dump, but inside it was nice and only 30 euros a night.

Mo’s bar. We never met Homer though

Picture taken by Pat

Laredo from the road in


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