Camino – Galizona to Santander

So Peeps, today we learn that the people of Santoña can party like no others and if I’m really pushed I can just about get by in Spanish.

Last night was probably poetic justice for my snoring on other nights! The people of Santoña had a great night and with the exception of half an hour when everyone went in due to a storm they managed to stay beneath our window until 0400am – I can’t fault their stamina.

We’re up and about by eight and the hostaleer has left a few snacks together with facilities for coffee or tea. Our plans are to ring the 24-hour taxi company that Jose Mario Jnr has recommended and make our way to Galizano which will enable us to get to Santander for the evening followed by a trip by bus back to Bilbao for the boys and to Oviedo for the Pilgrim. Well, that’s the plan!

I ring the taxi company, “Hablar Ingles?”, says I ‘cos I’m idle.

“No”, is the response…because Spanish is their language and I should get my lazy arse in gear and use it.

“OK”, says I, deep breath, “Podría tomar un taxi para llevar de Santoña a Galizano”, alright I know I get the ‘llevar’ bit wrong but it isn’t wrong enough for him to misunderstand.

He replies, “No por dos horas” (not for two hours) and that was not what I wanted to hear and would put us back a bit.

I try another number and they’re still in bed. Things are not looking good so then I try the number that was given to the Pilgrim which I had photographed and found to be the same one as Jose Mario had given me.

Dave B asks if there is a problem, I reply that it is too early to say yet and it might be useful to walk to the taxi rank that Google Maps tells me is only 4 minutes away. The Pilgrim is interested in going by bus and the only reservation that we have is that by taxi it’ll take 20 minutes but by bus, it could be an hour or more around the little villages and that’s only if there is one to Galizano.

Anyway, the taxi rank is usually near the bus station so off we go. At the bus station, the Pilgrim’s eyes light up as it’s open and mine light up because I see a taxi on the rank but it looks parked and there’s no one in it and my heart sinks. Then Dave spots a person that could be a driver making his way across the street and I ask him if he could take us to Galizona. He replies, in English, that he would and after a brief check on the price, €6 each, we’re off.

The rain is hammering down as we make our way along a surprisingly major road and we’re dropped at a cafe opposite a Camino Yellow Arrow.

We take the opportunity to improve our caffeine and sugar levels with coffee, toast and jam with an extra hit from some fresh orange all for €4, I could get used to this!

We don our wet gear and hit the road.

I’ll not spend a lot of time describing this journey as it’s largely on a very straight road with pretty but uninteresting fields at either side and we do get a couple of heavy showers so there is an element of tedium; however, we’re approaching the ferry at Somo so spirits are high.

At the terminal it’s rather more formal than the previous ferry to Santoña with a jetty and proper timetable. The boat arrives, disgorges its contents then hoovers us up and resumes its journey. It’s a soulless boat built for functionality with no heating and row upon row of largely empty seats. It might be busy in summer but today it’s slow.

As we cross the bay which is naturally protected by a long narrow sand bar I can read Plymouth on one of the boards then realise that this is the port that the Plymouth to Santander ferry plies its trade and think about the amount of time and money it must save if you bring your car to this port as your starting point for touring the continent.

At the Santander side we’re only 300 metres from the albergue and make our way to it so that we can explore the city without our bags. It’s shut until 2 so we stop at a cafe for more coffee, orange and, this time, tortilla. There’s three different options for the tortilla; as it comes made with egg and potato or with added cheese, or with added cheese and ham; the latter looks amazing but I’m strictly lactose free so opt for the former and, in fairness, it can’t be faulted.

After an excellent break watching people again we walk the short distance to the albergue and this time it’s open.

After conducting the formalities with passports and getting our credentials stamped! This is an essential exercise if we’re to be credited when we arrive in Santiago de Compostela for certification.

We eventually manage to check in our bags and claim a room that has only four beds but they are bunks so, in theory, others could claim the top beds (you always go for the bottom one if you can) but the place is not full tonight so that doesn’t happen.

We spend some time exploring the town. It’s a surprising place with a fabulous Cathedral that I manage to not see inside.  The Centro Botin is next to be visited and we manage to go onto the roof and out across some walkways that hover above the dock. It’s a sort of events and art gallery complemented by great architecture. As we drift about we realise just what a lot of odd things there are randomly scattered around the city like the Grua de Piedra

The Stone Crane is an old crane that served in the Port of Santander ( CantabriaSpain ) from 1900 until the end of the 20th century. It was used in the loading and unloading of the merchant ships that docked next to her. It is now part of the seafront of the city and has become one of the most representative symbols of the Cantabrian capital, reflecting its industrial and port tradition. It is located on the pier of Maura or the Nun. (From Wikipedia)

We walk from here to the Palacio de La Magdalena where the Pilgrim remembers some seals and a violent sea from last year and we’re lucky enough to experience an even bigger sea this year. The waves are hitting the retaining wall and cascading over a number of youngsters that are really taking a few risks but I can understand their need to look for thrills and there is a substantial metal fence to keep them on land – all being well.

On return we shower then hit the night cafes and find an excellent bar to sit on the pavement and eat. It’s still comfortable but the temperature is dipping so we make the best of sitting outside expecting it to be one of our last luxuries.

It’s been a good day if a little wet and we’re where we need to be for the morning so all is well. It’s sad that it’s our last walking day but you never know, there may be other times but one thing is very clear; we all enjoyed this week of walking, eating and sleeping – maybe not together – but in the same room. The shared experience of the stunning scenery together with witty quips and mickey-taking all in good spirit. We’ve also had intellectual times when serious stuff has been discussed.

Thanks, Dave Bowman, Dave Rider and Cecilia Kennedy for your company, it’s been excellent…

Enjoy the snaps…G..x

If you think others would enjoy the pictures, walks and anecdotes please feel free to “share” using the links. Thanks.

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…G..x

Here’s a link to the next article:

Camino – To Bilbao and beyond…

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Finally…here’s a satellite view of the walk.

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