Saturday, May 21, 2016

Liendo to San Miguel de Meruelo (el Camino del Norte)

A hike down the mountain from our camp spot into the little village of Liendo and a cafe & croissant started our day. Here we met a woman hiker from Germany and a young Italian Stallion bombing through the Camino at a rapid pace. It's definitely one of the fun parts of the experience, meeting the other "peregrinos".

I have to admit that el Camino Del Norte has a sickening amount of road hikes which grind your feet into minced meat. On the flip side, there are not only road hikes but also mountain trails, beach walks, cliff hugging paths and that is what I'm really enjoying, is the variety of topography and scenery. 

I knew beforehand from research that "paved" hiking was in abundance but quite frankly it has enabled us to keep up with our 20 mile/32km distance every day. It's day 8 today and we've completed 160 miles/ 268 km since we started at Irun.

Today's section of the hike was mostly alongside beaches, through the city of Loredo with its wide bay and wide beach. It was surprising to see that many of the condos that lined the beach walkway were vacant or closed up. 

From here we had to cross a bay via a small commuter ferry to reach the shores of Santona with a much more lively atmosphere and many surf schools. 

After a steep mountain crossing a long beach walk we continued to Noja, another picturesque seaside town.
Here we met the Swedish couple we had first encountered a few days ago who were ending their hike and catching a bus to Fisterra at the "end of the world" to relax. They said they have had enough of all the road walking.

Josh and I continued on in the rain accompanied by rolling thunder to the next town, as we wanted to get our mileage in for the day and we knew there was an Albergue there. We planned to camp on their lawn and use the facilities of a shower and washer/dryer.
Here we met other hikers from Germany, Spain, France and New Zealand and joined in the communal supper and glass of wine. After our laundry is done we're heading off to bed in our cozy tent thoroughly exhausted.

Some of our observations along the way have been:
- 50 percent of the dogs here lead wonderful lives of comfort and freedom and the other 50 percent lead wretched lives spent tied up to a short chain without exercise and their owners keep them alive in this state to be a barking machine. It pains me to walk past so many of them in this state.
- the style of houses has definitely changed since walking from Basque Country into Cantabria. The Basque houses have a definite look and style, whereas in Cantabria the architecture is more eclectic.
-fruit is abundant, affordable and delicious. We've treated ourselves to juicy peaches and apricots more than once.
- the beach sand is extremely fine with a surprising lack of shells.
- the trail was very well marked in Basque Country but not so well marked here and we often feel like we might get lost or have to backtrack, which is never a great thing to have to do.

Loving life on the trail and looking forward to share more of our stories with you.
Buen Camino!

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