Day 11: Camino del Norte

Mileage: 31.1
Total distance: 211.9

Currently I am on a bunk bed in Serdio with my feet up a wall hoping this ten minutes of pain will heal the concrete battered bones in my heels. I’m very thankful for these feet and that they are holding up for these trails and might be even getting better; or just going numb. 

I woke up to someone turning on the lights this morning at six am and did my best to ignore them and sleep for a few more minutes, but inevitably sat up with one eye open and the other squinting while my hair bounced in all different directions. I got my things together in less than ten minutes and headed out in hopes of coffee but the bar was closed so it was on to Santallana. 

The first half of the day was not very scenic as I wondered through small, old and run down towns walking a pretty busy street. Thankfully I only had ten kilometers until I got into Santallana, which is the capital of Cantabria. The streets were made of stone and the small houses and restaurants looked almost medieval. I didn’t stick around long and made my way up a small hill and back into the countryside. Either side of the streets I walked was composed of various farm animals and tall grass. An occasional farmer would drive by on his tractor and wave with a content smile on his face. 

  • Santallana Del Mar 

When I came into Corbeces I took another longer route through some cliff trails and when I got down to an ocean access point I found Benta. We walked together for a long while talking about forgiveness and the need to recognize our own fears and inabilities in finding trust with people we love. I don’t know if I will see Benta again, but honestly I wouldn’t be surprised. She is an incredible woman and I’m so thankful I got to see so much of her. 

I left Benta in Comillas where she was staying for the night. I was planning on staying as well, but it was only two and I felt like walking still. I ate a sad sandwich made up of meat and cheese I bought a few days back, but I haven’t puked yet! After I ate I cleaned off as much sand from my body as possible and headed away from the ocean; always a sad part of this hike. 

This part of my day was the best. I walked on roads which sucks, but they were single lane and hardly travelled. I had incredible views of the ocean about 2,000 feet away and was surrounded by green rolling hills with small pockets of houses and farms. I even got to see some llamas! The birds were going off and I watched two hawks catch something in their talons. There were swallows zipping around and egrets standing on cows backs watching me walk by with an apparently anxious demeanor. 

This Snow White feeling lasted a very long time and eventually lead me into San Vincente. I caught up with a guy I met a few days ago who was amazed at how far I had come today and filled my ego to the brim. It’s very nice having someone be impressed with you. I have a hard time knowing how to handle it because it definitely affects my ego and I don’t want to be prideful, but it’s hard for me for some reason. I don’t know if I am trying to accommodate like most classic cases of insecurity or that I find something and put so much of my identity in it that it becomes my only way of feeling worth so I fish for it or seek out ways to get it noticed as much as possible. I would love to get to a place in life where I don’t get uncomfortable with compliments and don’t allow my ego to explode, but for now this is where I’m at. 

I started feeling hungry after I left the city which sucks because I could have gotten kebabs; they have become my favorite food to buy. Instead, I found a small restaurant in a tiny farm town and when I walked in I saw two tables with four men at each table playing cards and smoking while a woman sat at the bar twirling a straw in her glass looking down at the motions in her drink. Everyone looked at me when they noticed me and the place fell quiet. I smiled feeling awkward, but went to the bar to ask for a menu. The owner seems irritated and went outside to call someone in. A young woman came to assist me but also seemed annoyed or irritated about something. I made sure they weren’t closing soon, but that wasn’t it. I placed my order and sat down and got glares from all over the room and started feeling pretty uncomfortable. I brushed it off best I could thinking it was all in my head but then the woman sort of dropped my food on the table and pivoted from me. I decided to let it all go and just eat. I paid my bill and left not entirely sure what just happened. 

  • Can anyone tell me what this is?

I was happy to be walking only two more miles to Serdio and as I looked south in the direction I was headed I noticed the Pico’s for the first time. This range of mountains in central Spain has peaks in the 8-9,000 feet range and still has snow in some places. My trail will skirt the base of them, but I will hopefully get some amazing views. Today with the cloud coverage forming almost a line cutting across the range left me only with anticipation of the true size of the mountains. 

I am very tired now and my feet hurt from all the hard concrete. It is time to read and stretch and journal in hopes to remember all the lessons learned from my talks with Benta and further process the journey I am on. Thanks for reading. 

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