Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Just keep on walking....(el Camino del Norte)

Hotel Alcamino is a wonderful place for peregrinos. Not only were we fully refreshed from a comfortable night's sleep but they gave us a fantastic complimentary breakfast in the morning before we set off again. I highly recommend this hotel to hikers.

The day started out rainy and then the clouds dispersed and the sun came out, making it a warm day of hiking. In the distance we could see the Picos de Europas Mountains, flecked with snow on the peaks.
A short way into the day we met up with the Austrians again. 

Once again we were amazed at meeting up with them, they called out "Hawaii" and we shared "Shaka" hand signs which made them laugh. 
Once we had parted ways with them, we met up with a group of four British hikers at a split in the trail. The right hand side was shorter by 10 km which sounded appealing, so we took it with them as we had left our guide book at home on the coffee table (blush) and they had one. Fortunately I had downloaded an app called "The Wise Pilgrim" on a recommendation from fellow hiker Lachlan, which was keeping us on track most of the time.
The reason this shorter route is not recommended is that you have to walk across a river along a railway bridge and time the train, giving you 10 minutes to get across between each train crossing the narrow bridge.

That was fun! On the other side was a restaurant where we had a Coke and took off our warm hiking clothes.

The rest of the day was a variety of road walking, ranging from a few miles alongside huge water pipes along a swampy estuary, through an industrial area where we stumbled upon the nicest little courtyard to rest in. On the back of a road sign was a message on a yellow arrow which read, " keep walking".

The Camino then continued from one rural village to the next until we reached Santillana, a breathtakingly beautiful 12th century medieval village.

 It was here that Josh bought me a beautiful pendant for my birthday comprising of a blue stone cross, symbolizing the trail and two feathers beneath it. So perfect as my trail name earned from previously hiking the Pacific Crest Trail is Two Feathers.

It was with great difficulty that we left this gorgeous place but we had to as it was only 5:00 pm and we still had 3 good hours of hiking left to meet our 20 mile/32 km quota for the day.

By 8:00 pm both of us were exhausted and there was nowhere nearby to stay so we sought sanctuary in the grounds of the big church and slept in our tent up against the side wall next to the mausoleum. That night an owl kept watch nearby, Josh heard its hooting throughout the night. My aumakua was close at hand. The incessant barking of a chained up dog and the ringing of the church bell every fifteen minutes led to a fitful night of sleep, but we were safe and that was all that mattered.

We figured if we were peregrinos with credentials it made perfect sense to be there.

Best item in the backpack: "Wise Pilgrim Del Norte " app on my smart phone.


  1. Love that pendant - it's so you!
    Loving all the pics and the blog.
    XOXO - Mary Lou