Camino del Norte 7 – Cantabria

15km to Castro Urdiales thanks to kipping the boring bit out of Bilbao.

We never intended to walk out of Bilboa. Not only did Jenifer have a meeting until 10 am, but the walk on motorways through industrial areas is well-known as not a lot of fun and would have required another day of walking. So we caught an Uber to Las Arenas, a beach back on the coast. It was nice to be back with a sea breeze; and, on a hot day, that breeze was a relief as we set off up the coast.

Even with our short-cut much of the Camino to Castro Urdiales was on reasonable-sized roads. There wasn’t a lot of traffic, so it wasn’t terribly dangerous, but the heat certainly reflects back from the tarmac. The views up the coast and out to sea were great. This part of the coast used to be a major iron mining area and there are many derelict artifacts of that time.

Castro Urdiales turns out to be lovely. An enormous Gothic church and an old castle and lighthouse surmount a beautiful harbour. By the time we arrived at 3 pm the heat was peaking and strolling about the harbour, after lunch, was a delight. For the first time on this walk, we could exchange our boots for sandals.

Coming in to Castro Urdiales meant we have left the Basque country behind and are in Cantabria. Usually, we know we’ve changed provinces because of the labeling on bus-stops and the like. Here the immediately obvious thing was that the buildings were flying Spanish flags. Although we have left the Basque country behind we still had some cheesecake for lunch – it just wasn’t quite as good.

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