Postcard 1 – Back on the Camino – The Electric Storms Tour

Back on the Camino Norte – the Electric Storms tour

A short break at Vicky’s doing some Granddading then it’s off to Northern Spain flying from Stansted to Santander on a flight that’s no more than half full.

I’ve been upgraded to seats with lots of leg space with strict instructions on how to open the door should there be an emergency landing. I’m happy to trade this level of guaranteed comfort for the unlikely responsibility of creating an escape route if this 737-300 falls out of the sky. Having three seats to myself is an even bigger bonus so I splash out on a Ryanair coffee in anticipation of not splashing out through the door.

The plan is to pick the Camino Norte up at the point where I left it nearly ten months ago. The Pilgrim had joined me last year at Ribadesella but we’d only managed a day walking to Vega then back to Ribadesella before taking a bus to Santiago de Compostela to meet Otto and Ana. It was late October and the albergues were closing at an alarming rate largely due to the flywheel effect of Covid and lack of numbers of peregrines combined with the time of year. It had turned out to be a wonderful adventure that took us all over Spain but the time in Santiago was damp beyond belief.

The flight is 20 minutes shorter than the one hour forty minutes advertised and getting through passport control is a treat, I like this airport.

I emerge into the sunshine feeling overdressed with my long sleeve shirt and long trousers although I do find that shorts and T-shirt on an aeroplane is high risk. I’m reading the sign that tells me the bus runs every twenty minutes and deposits us in the town centre and for three euros makes the ten euro run in a taxi redundant.

The driver is very helpful as I plan my next leg to Llanes, there’s some ambiguity as to whether I need to buy a ticket for my bag. The app makes it all but compulsory but the driver tells me to ignore it so I do and a few clicks and prods later I have an e-ticket to Llanes and with any luck and a fair wind, my bag will be coming too.

The ‘fair wind’ element triggers a pleasant and nostalgic memory of my dear dad who had all kinds of expressions and the above was one of them. I can hear him in my head, “Fair wind to your arse and snow at your heels” and he’d wave as I jumped on my bike (that he’d made for me) and rode off along the lane. As a child I always thought it was a reference to helpful farts to propel me along the road on my bike and I would giggle. It was only in later life that I found it to be an old sailor’s expression meaning, ‘let the trade winds fill your sails and bad weather always be in your wake’. I loved his expressions and I make some up of my own so, in years to come, my kids and grandkids will use one and then take a moment to remember me and smile.

I have two hours in Santander Centro so make the most of it with a slow coffee and a lot of people watching at a street cafe. I do a bit of writing and touch base with the UK with a call or two. I’m not a particularly loyal person with corporates like the mobile phone operators but I have stuck with O2 as they have (so far) maintained their promise not to introduce roaming charges.

I’ve been to Santander several times and determine that my decision to ‘pass through’ was a good one and make my way back to the bus station way too early but giving me the luxury of finding platform 30 which is buried underneath the numerous arches, steps and ramps that compose the visible element of the station that’s occupied by good quality cafes and waiting areas.

Aesthetically, it could be considered attractive but it’s not a must see unless you’re catching a bus.

The bus route is through countryside that I walked last year and where, on occasion, the Camino Norte runs parallel with the road I see numerous reminders of that wonderful walk and start to think about my new starting point in Vega but before I can develop that thought we arrive in Llanes.

The bus discourages the majority of its contents and the people with a place to stay depart in various directions whilst I sit on a wall swiping through Booking dot com for candidates that proclaim themselves best value for my money and Hotel Salon, a wonderful 3 star hotel that I stayed in last year jumps into view at 60 euros. It sits on the edge of a cliff and overlooks the bay – I can’t believe my luck!

I make my way through the narrow streets and address the receptionist in pigeon spanish and she responds in flawless English. She’s German and greets me with a huge smile then allocates the same room that I had last year. It has its own little garden with patio doors on to it and the real bonus is, it overlooks the beach and bay. She offers to show me the way but by now I’ve smiled my words of gratitude and was already on my way.

Tonight I wander the lovely streets of Llanes and eat in a wonderful square. I find out later it’s a pilgrim meal and at 4 euros, outstanding value. I’m also sat next to a group of Austrians who have been walking in the Picos Mountains, they’ve had an incredible time and give me advice for when I turn left away from the coast and wend my way through the mountains but that’ll be in many days time probably on the next trip. This really is why I walk.

Enjoy the snaps.

Love G x

Feel free to share for the armchair ramblers who can’t get about now. x

1 thought on “Postcard 1 – Back on the Camino – The Electric Storms Tour”

  1. Hi Mate. Glad to know you are getting good digs and eating frugally. Enjoy your walking. GR


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