Rest Day – We decide to ‘cheat’ a little in order to avoid a day of Urban road walking out of the suburbs of Santander. We will enjoy a day in Santander and catch an evening bus to Santilla-de-Mar. And so after a leisurely breakfast we spend a morning wandering around this rather lovely town. We enjoy the vibrant food markets that always impress with the quality and quantity of the produce.
I have broken my camera and need to buy a new one which is an expense I can do without but I do love new gadgets and finding out what they are capable of and my new LUMIX does not disappoint.
I am surprised by the number of people who are happy to help with directions. We were helped last night by three ‘Angels’ who ,despite not really knowing where they were going, were happy to help us find our hotel. The same thing happens on the way to the bus station. The backpack and the shell seem to invite folk to enquire about the journey or to put you back on track if you miss an arrow.
I must admit to feeling a little guilty as we board the evening bus out of Santander but I am sure that a medieval pilgrim would not have turned down the offer of a lift on a horse and cart. We pass through dull, industrial, urban outskirts and my guilt is soon assuaged as I nestle back in my seat for the short ride to Santilla.
Santilla-de-Mar is a medieval town that has been preserved in aspic. It is a popular tourist magnet but the day trippers have all left by the time we arrive and Mike soon finds a fine place to stay. The Hotel Altamira is rather like a medieval stately home and a universe away from the local pilgrim dormitory.
It is a sign of my walking partner’s growing anxiety about his injury that he has already booked tomorrow’s bed in his need to know he will get a good night sleep. While I am happy to do this and understand the need I am beginning to feel that we are somehow ‘apart’ from the spirit of the walk and we seldom meet other ‘pilgrims’ to share experiences. We are walking in our own little bubble and the injuries are causing unspoken tensions.
However, another simple but delicious meal, a stroll and a nightcap and a comfortable night’s sleep will set us up for hitting the road again tomorrow. 25 kms to Comilla.