Spanish time takes some getting used to. Breakfast at the hotel didnott start until 9.00am but I was away twenty minutes later. By 10.30am I’d walked through three villages, all of which were still asleep. Spain must be the only European country where the clocks don’t start ticking until late morning.

We moved inland a little today, however, on occasions the ocean could still be seen from the track. I passed San Vincente de la Barquera by. It was low tide. You could see the huge tract of land that is covered by sea water when the tide is in. To the west of San Vincente is a valley that floods with sea water on high tide. I’ve never before seen so much tidal land affected this way.

There’s a sweet smell in the air in rural Spain. It’s likely from the mixture of animals and crops. It’s a very recognisable smell. It’s not unpleasantly sweet, but you know you are in the country when you can smell it.

Eary this afternoon I passed by a 12 century building which was undergoing restoration. It had a tower. It could have been some type of fort. It’s called ‘La Torre Estrada’ and not surprisingly nearby is the village of Estrada.

Further on at Serdio I called into a bar for a cup of tea. They had no food, but I was directed just up the street to a restaurant. I sat down for lunch at 3.00pm. (An example of Spanish time.). I watched the Tour de France on TV while I ate. This was the best value meal I’ve had while on this journey. The ensalada mixta (I try to eat a fresh vegetable salad every day) was exceptional, and the second course of grilled whole fish with heaps of garlic was so tasty. Add to this the freshest, crustiest bread and you will get an idea why I spent over an hour having lunch. At a price of a��8.50 for three courses, bread and water, it was exceptional value. I walked out
onto the arrow guided path feeling so good about myself, life, the Camino – everything. It’s the freedom I have to do these things in my own time which is important.

The competition for beds in the albergues I’ll leave to others. I refuse to engage in that race. Being able to sit very relaxed in a restaurant for over an hour in the mid afternoon is an extraordinarily valuable gift to receive. I romped through the afternoon. Not once today did I have to ask for directions, except when I wanted the location of a hotel after I arrived at Unquera.

It was a day abundant with gifts. There is no albergue in Unquera. My hotel room cost just a��16. Prices don’t get anynbetter than that. I look like being in hotels for the best part of the rest of this journey. On the road today I spoke with two pilgrims who had already made enquiries of an albergue a kilometre along the road from Unquera. They were told that all 140 beds were already taken.

Unquera sits on the eastern side of a river about two kilometres from the Bay of Biscay. This is the western edge of Cantabria. The border between it and the next province of Asturias runs alongside the hotel where I am tonight. I wonder if the
yellow way markers will be as well and frequently placed in the next province as they have been in Cantabria. Putting them where they are is quite an involved job. Back near the beginning of the walk in Spain I decided to say thanks each time I saw a marker in recognition of the efforts of those who had done this task.

It’s amazing how dependent I have become on the yellow arrow and how reassured I feel when I see one. On those occasions when a doubt creeps into my mind as to whether I am still on the correct path I say to myself, “Show me a sign.”. I estimate
that about 98% of times a yellow arrow will appear with 30 seconds of me saying it. Although I say it to myself it is really directed to my guide.

Is supremely stupid, but man, writing services usa does it feel like a night out in the 2000s