DAY 15 (Sept. 31st. 2012) Unquera to Poo 26kms

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Blow holes and wild goats – The sun shines on us today.

sun rise

sun rise

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Fortified by the usual breakfast we ascend to the first village to get a stamp and buy provisions.

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This is an important place with elaborate INDIANA style houses. Lots of fine woodwork and fussy balconies.

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The route takes us down through a deep valley and we have to suffer some busy road walking for a while until we can branch off to the sea where we follow the cliffs and beaches.

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We see blowholes, wild goats and a many rugged coves and we enjoy our lunch on a beach. This is wonderful walking and there are many stops for photos and to admire the view so progress is quite slow.

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We eventually reach Llanes and make the decision to walk on. We have nowhere booked but take a chance in Poo when we see a sign for a casa rural which looks closed for the season. A little old boy pokes his nose through a little grill in the door and he must like the look of us because he opens up and offers us a little twin room which is neat and tidy and clean and certainly comfortable enough.

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We have eaten most of our provisions and make our way down to the coast where we find a bar/hotel.

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Again it looks closed but the woman in charge takes pity on us and brings us out a tapas of meats, blue cheese, anchovies and bread that we enjoy as the sun sets over the bay on a receding tide. Bliss. Despite our lack of organisation the Camino has provided for us.

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We make plans for a longish walk tomorrow to RIBADSELLA and Mike insists on booking the accommodation in advance this time to avoid the anxieties of not knowing where we are going to sleep. Secure in this advance planning we head back to our little room and sleep.

DAY 12 – A ‘Rest’ Day in Santander and onwards to Santilla-de-Mar ( by bus).

fresh fish

fresh fish

in the market

in the market

Market produce

Market produce

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

a medieval hotel

a medieval hotel

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.

Camino

Camino