Camino: Days 5–7

Camino de Santiago del Norte

Days 5-7: Sañtona to Santander

This is a camino of gratitude for me. Each day, I choose something I am grateful for in my life and think and journal about it throughout the day. I will share an excerpt from my journal entries at the end of each day’s post.

Day 5: Sañtona to Noja ~ 5.25 miles

24 September 2017

With a bit of a tear, I left Sañtona. It is a lovely little town and I hope to come back someday—if for no other reason than to sample more tapas! 

Today’s walk began across a lovely beach full of surfers taking advantage of the huge breakers.

Beach near Santona Spain

But then…a climb over a steep hill, which, I had read would be somewhat dangerous. It wasn’t so bad, but I did have to pay attention to how I made my way across it.

On the Camino, we pilgrims are always on the lookout for waymarks, which are mostly yellow arrows (fletchas amarillas) to keep us on the right path. On this rock trail, which I sometimes had to climb over, someone had painted an arrow pointing straight up—as if I was planning to fall down the side of the steep hill!

Climbing up -- following the yellow arrow that is painted on the rocks.
I had to climb up mostly on all-fours—following the yellow arrow that is painted on the rocks.

Then I had a view of another lovely beach at low tide and some interesting rocks where I ate my lunch. The second beach was over 3 miles long! 

Craggy rocks below the tide line on the beach near Noja, Spain.

I felt very incongruous walking with a full pack among the Sunday beach-goers in their suits and bikinis. I took off my shoes and joined them in the promenade.

On the beach with a woman Cathy met earlier on the trail. Cathy with her pack and barefoot, the other woman in a bikini.
Camino Journal Day 5

Day 6: Noja — Guemes  9.3 miles

25 September 2017

Selfie of Cathy between Noja and Santander

I got rained on a bit on the way to Guemes, but at least I never got cold and the sun returned in time for me to sit down and eat my lunch. 

During one windy and rainy squall I came upon an old lady wrestling with her poncho. I helped her secure it and she sped on to Guemes. I found out later that night that she was 80 years old—and she had left me in the dust!

The Guemes albergue has quite a reputation for its beauty and hospitality. It was a place that is communally supported by a large organization. It is a campus of many buildings and accommodates up to  100 pilgrims each night plus a large staff of volunteers.  They feed you dinner and breakfast and the accommodations are comfortable.

My room in the Guemes Albergue
I actually got to sleep in a non-bunk bed!
Cabins at the Guemes Albergue
Cabins at the Guemes Albergue.

It is difficult to explain, but as I left in the morning feeling like the hospitality was a bit forced—like it was expected that everyone would be amazed at how wonderful it is.  Not everyone leaves feeling this way, so perhaps it was only my perspective. It may be that part of my problem was that there were over 70 pilgrims in residence that night—that is a lot for an albergue on the del Norte.

Camino Journal Day 6

Day 7: Guemes—Santander  10 miles

26 September 2017

Foggy valley on the morning we left Guemes
As we left Guemes in the early morning, we had this calming view of fog in the valley below.

This sign was the beginning of my seventh day. I have quite a few days to go! 

Camino direction sign showing that I had 639 kilometers to go.

 I am walking slowly and not covering as many miles each day as I had expected I would be by this time. This is especially true when I am walking along the coast—there are so many places where I just have to stop and study the water hitting the rocks… 

Cliff overlooking the sea below

…or watch people learning to surf

Beach near Santander Spain

I become acquainted with pilgrims only for one or two days and then they are way ahead of me. 

But I realize more and more each day that THIS is my Camino and I must do it in my own way. And if I am dispacio (slow), then maybe that is my way. I met two pilgrims that said they were doing the Camino Escargo (at a snail’s pace). I have to relate to that! But I do believe they have passed me up as well…

Snail on the trail
Camino Journal Day 7


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