Camino – Comillas to San Vicente de la Barquera
In the morning we leave the rucksacks in the hotel and spend a couple of hours exploring the town and take the opportunity of a coffee near the beach then a walk through the ancient town centre where a market is in full swing. I manage to acquire a new ‘T’ shirt for 5 euros, it’s a genuine Nike – really! We also take some advice at the Tourist Information centre regarding the availability of buses to get us to Asturias Airport on Sunday and decide on taking a bus from San Vicente de la Barquera to Oviedo on Saturday where we know there is a bus service to the airport every day.
All admin done and we repossess the rucksacks to continue the Camino. The next few kilometres is along the road and usually not interesting; however, this leg takes us past watercourses and inlets from the sea then the new route forks to get us back on to tracks across open countryside with lovely views of the Bay. The blue of the sky and the reflected blue of the water creates an illusion of continuity and makes one or the other disappear leaving a huge area of either sky or sea depending on the track that your brain takes.
The new track leads us through tiny villages and the odd farm and we meet another pilgrim that we’ve spoken to before. He’s quite elderly and takes his time but he certainly covers the ground. He’ll be leaving the Norte to continue his walk on the Lebanese Camino. Just now though, he’s beckoning us to a water outlet which he’s found and points to the sign written in Spanish indicating it is drinking water and we should refill our bottles which we do gladly.
I’ve been using my sticks on and off today to assess their use for general walking rather than balance when passing over rough terrain. The Pilgrim always uses them and insists that they help which may well be correct as her natural rate is quicker than mine.
The track wriggles its way through very beautiful undulating hills. Some of them are topped with copses of trees that look like toupees. Eventually, we’re walking next to a surfing beach where there are toilets but sadly closed and the reason is a stark reminder of the progression of the year – they’re closed for the season.
The track disappears and we’re walking on the road when we realise we missed a waymarker that should have directed us across the beaches way below. We’re committed now so decide on continuing this route as it joins the old route in about a kilometre. The decision means it’s really hard graft to the top of the hill and the sun is still high so I’m drinking like a fish. At the top, we can see down to San Vicente de la Barquera and it’s a delight. There’s a 28 arch stone bridge, a castle and lovely bay area, it’s like a watercolour painting.
We walk over the bridge and call in at the bus station to try to arrange tomorrows transport to Oviedo but there’s no assistant, presumably having a siesta. We have some phone numbers for hotels and I ring the first one and ask about a room for tonight, I’m really rather pleased with myself and even more pleased when he says veinticinco (25 euros). I then come unstuck when his speaking pace ramps up and my smugness fades. My Spanish is getting better but still got a long way to go. It’s only after I’ve rung off that I decipher what he’d said, he wanted to know how long we’d be for him to hold the room; no matter, we’re on our way and find the little hostel within five minutes.
It’s in a side street and has a sign outside that proudly states ‘1 star’ and we ring the bell. Jose is an elderly gentleman with no English but a really nice personality and, without being asked, he shows us the room. You wouldn’t swing many cats in it but it has a comfortable double bed that almost fills the room and an en-suite toilet and shower. It’s also clean, what’s not to like? The Pilgrim spots a sign on the wall that tells us that laundry can be done for 6 euros, bargain and great timing, it means we can wander around Oviedo and Lisbon without offending the locals.
We walk into the town and partake of the odd beer and a pleasant enough meal followed by a wander around the centre where there is huge activity, it turns out we’re here on the night of the 86km overnight run and the runners are just getting ready for the midnight start.
The atmosphere is great and we wait to watch the start then retire to await the result in the morning.
Our bus isn’t until 1330 so we have a whole morning to explore the high rock and walk to the breakwater. The way up is via a number of narrow streets and at the top we can see the Picos Mountains in the distance but the real jewel is the church Santa María de los Ángeles, built between the 13th and 16th centuries. The walk down towards the breakwater leads us past the castle and reveals why it was built in that position.
At the breakwater, we’re disappointed to find a gate and fence blocking us from walking along it so we turn back and find a cafe overlooking the harbour and both breakwaters, well worth the walk.
Now it’s time to make our way to the bus station via a sandwich on the front. Unlike the bus services that we’ve experienced in the past, it’s 15 minutes late, that said, it has come from Irun. Once boarded we’re whisked through the wooded hills although the views on either side are obscured due to showers and a little bit of low cloud but, it’s still spectacular.
Enjoy the snaps…G..x
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This is life after an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm open repair. Don’t be afraid of the operation, it set me free. Please be encouraged and inspired to walk, it’s liberating.
You can read about it here: https://www.yorkshireramblings.com/short-stay-hospital/