Camino del Norte Norte Cantábrico Gallega Ingles Spain

Day 1: Santander to Boo de Pielagos

The weather could have been better for a first day walking, a mix of pretty much everything – wind, rain, sun, cold and warm. But the walking was fantastic. It is difficult to understand that the majority of pilgrims walk through the outskirts of the city, all road and a mix of housing, commercial businesses and industry. The alternative is to walk around the coast, somewhat longer but far, far more spectacular.

It had rained most of the night, but there was a break as I left the hostel to walk past the harbour and along the bay. This is a rich part of Santander, with a wide coastal road and many large houses, many built between the two world wars when the then king of Spain had a summer residence along the coast. There were also many sculptures, the three photographed are poets.

I passed the casino and two connected beaches called the First and Second Sardine beaches. The first is where the gentry and their friends bathed, whilst the second is where the poor bathed. The name of the beach is because many fished for sardines.

I continued along the coast towards the Cabo Mayor lighthouse, which reminded me of when I walked the Lighthouse Way last year. It started to rain as a group of students on bikes passed by, they weren’t too happy as they didn’t have rain protection. Luckily I did. I got lost at the lighthouse, having to climb over a low wall to find the path again. There are many memorials and small chapels along the coast.

The was a chapel above (Panteon del Ingles) was erected for an Englishman who fell off his horse and died at this spot, by his friend a famous Spanish author. I continued along the coast in the changing weather  …

.. and stopped for a break close to the coastal church of Virgin del Mar in a 60’s US inspired bar – it seemed totally out of place on a coast in Spain next to a church.

The coast became more and more rugged with many coves, rock formations formed by the coastlines constant beating, forming islands cut off from the mainland where they once were connected.

There are may information boards along the coast that describe the different sights one can see.

The paths were great, made for walking, not scrambling. It was great to be out walking along the coast again. It was pity about the ever changing weather, rain, wind and sun, often at the same time, so at one point I wore both my rain cape and jacket, but ended the day in a t-shirt. I left the coast to walk towards the train station at Boo de Pielagos, walking initially through a forest then along a road with nice views over Pielagos, a coastal town with many walking, cycling and water activities.

31kms, 600m in total elevation, great paths and some road walking. A really fabulous day. I took the train back to Santander, where I will stay for a second night.

Yesterday, by chance, I’d eaten in one of Santander’s most popular restaurants. The food was simple but excellent. I saw that they turned other people away who were alone. Today I tried again, but was turned away, even though there were many empty tables. I found another packed restaurant close by, in business since 1906. The ambiance was great, but the menu was made for groups – six chicken breasts, 0,5 kilo ham, 6 eggs in bechamel sauce … I should have left, like the couple who came in at the same time as I did – the menu wasn’t hanging outside. So I ordered 3 different pate’s and bread (which was dried toasts). Each pate was bigger than you would buy in a supermarket in Denmark. I took some with me for lunch tomorrow – I’ll have to find a baker to buy some bread!

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