The Long and Winding Road

Well, I guess that was always going to be the most predictable title of a post for this particular blog, so best to get it out of the way sooner rather than later.

As I mentioned yesterday, Santillana del Mar may have a reputation for being somewhat economical with the truth, but she certainly knows how to send you on your way with something decidedly more satisfying than a Ready Brek glow (yep, that’ll be me telling you what I had for breakfast again, then):

And I’m afraid there are no tales of derring-do, train-related or otherwise, to regale you with today. Or, you’ll be pleased to hear, complaints about the cartilage. Or whining about the weather.

Just walking.

I’m on my tod again after yesterday’s unusually sociable day.

For me, one of the undoubted joys of this journey is its fundamental promiscuity; in much the same way that it’s an on-going pleasure never staying in the same town or sleeping in the same bed twice, it seems to be taken as a given that any time you spend in the company of other walkers is a fleeting experience.

It’s refreshing not to have to engage in the mandatory fakery that so often seems to be a constituent part of other types of holiday, where any more than a couple of days spent with people you’ve met in a bar somewhere leads to the apparently unshakeable resolution to meet up again at home.

Perhaps it’s because there’s such a huge array of different people, from such an eclectic range of international homesteads, that the likelihood of ever meeting again, even on this particular journey, is implicitly understood as unlikely at best.

And fun though it was playing chicken with the local rail network with some fellow peregrinos, it’s also great to be going solo on the road again, especially now that I’m finally back in the countryside proper.

I’ve missed it:

The character of the environs of the Basque Country through Cantabria continues to evolve. From the sheer natural beauty of the first few days in particular, the aesthetic attraction of this section (although who knows what tomorrow will bring), appears to lie largely with a sense of cultural heritage that’s inspired by walking through remote villages set well back from any major thoroughfares:

But I think it’s probably worth adding that any romantic notions that I might have been starting to harbour about the unfettered joys of a rural idyll not yet despoiled by the commercial imperatives of the 21st Century were put bang to rights by these enterprising young chaps I met, who had set up shop in their grandparents’ front yard.

I don’t know how you would’ve reacted, but as far as I was concerned there was never any question over whether I would buy their wares or not.

Capiche? (Wrong country. Right sentiment).

And so on to Comillas, around 22km later.

I’m not entirely sure why, but that felt like it should’ve been quite a short leg compared to what had gone before, although in the event it up ended up taking around 6 hours to walk. And I don’t think I went the wrong way (for once).

Nevertheless, I still arrived around half an hour before the local Albergue was due to open, only to find around 30 other walkers sitting on the grass outside the hostel with a capacity to sleep 20.

The answer to which was clearly to find somewhere else to stay, rather than joining in the moaning about the lack of facilities on the trip costing 5 euros per evening from middle-aged peregrinos who, frankly, should know better. Rant over.

As for me, I seem to be getting stalked by Esmeralda. She’s substantially smaller, a little darker, but clearly recognisable.She’s got my card marked, anyway…

Which also left me enough time to enjoy Comillas.

There’s no question that it’s a pretty town. And it’s got a shed load of history.

If you’re interested, do a Google Image search on it.

For me, the main attraction was being back by the seaside:

Filed under: On The Road Tagged: Albergue, Basque Country, Cantabria, Comillas, El Camino del Norte, Esmeralda, Rethink Mental Illness, Santillana del Mar

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