Camino del Norte 14: Diversions

28 kilometers today from Comillas to just after Colombres.

Our hotel was a way out of Comillas last night, it rained, and the town had surprisingly few places to eat – result was we were footsore, wet, and under-fed as we went to bed.

Being out of town also meant that there was no bar for breakfast. So by 7:30 am we were walking with a plan to stop at a bar 50 minutes away. Of course that bar was not open. None of that was set to make the average person happy – and when it comes to breakfast Jennifer is anything but average. She herself admits that these sorts of starts leave her grumpy, but today it left her more vague than anything.

Luckily when we hit the coast the tide was out. That meant we were able to walk a few kilometers along the flat sand instead of much further on roads over headlands. Still it was two hours and 10 km of walking until we finally got breakfast.

That beach walk was beautiful. The Atlantic has kicked up a notch in terms of activity and there were dramatic waves pounding the beach. This part of the Camino threads westward between the snow-capped Picos de Europa mountains to the South and the Atlantic to the North.

After breakfast the walk took us away from the sea into beautiful green countryside. The day has been on small roads and trails, always to the backing-track of cowbells ringing.

The proximity to the sea has meant crossing headlands, with their attendant ups and downs, and going over several bridges.

We’ve also had to make several judgment calls about where to go. I should explain how we are navigating. Jennifer has an app that shows the official routes – confusingly there are often blue and red official routes. She also has a book that talks us through where to go. I have another app, Alltrails, which shows where someone else walked – we now refer to that person as My Friend. And then there are the Camino signs on roads and walls. We generally churn along comparing signs and maps and talking to other people. My Friend has proved the most reliable guide and did so again today when they took us along a disused railway track instead of up a road. We were sure we’d gone completely off the Camino until we found a sign on a wall. It’s all very confusing compared to the Camino Frances.

In any case today was another good Camino day. Not to many roads, some beautiful countryside, and, once we’d dealt with breakfast, some nice bars to take a rest in.

We are staying in a little apartment in a house beyond Colombres, hosted by a charmingly enthusiastic woman. It’s not near anything, and that has raised all the same issues with food and rain. So dinner tonight is bread and cheese from a nearby shop, and tomorrow morning will once again start without a coffee.

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