I was feeling tired today. Last night after we got back from the restaurant I wrote up my notes and typed the blog and so it was after midnight before I got to bed. At breakfast one of the pilgrims told me about a ferry I could catch from Laredo to Santona. Because I don’t carry a guidebook, and never have on any of my Camino’s, it’s information like this I miss out on.

It rained overnight and a little this morning during my walk. It was quite humid, but an easy 11km stroll to Laredo. The hillside I came in from provided a spectacular view of Laredo and it’s beach which stretched for many kilometres. After descending onto the valley floor, the last part of which was a stairway of about 150 steps, I stopped on the street and chatted to a Danish pilgrim for about 15 minutes. Nearly
everyone likes to have a chat. I then made my way onto the promenade which runs alongside the beach for what must be at least three kilometres. Many people were out walking, and riding their bicycles along a dedicated bike path.

Laredo is a city that comprises a small fishing fleet, a number of marinas with pleasure craft, and tourists. The promenade leads to where you catch the ferry, not at a wharfe, but from the beach where you line up on the sand. You can see the remains of what must have been a substantial colony of sand dunes which probably stretched from the foot of the hills to the ocean. It was just a five minute ride across the mouth of Ria de Santona (a ‘ria’ being a narrow sea inlet) to the wharfe at Santona where the ferry momentarily stopped before heading back to Laredo with another load of passengers.

If you look at my Google map it has my location in the water. The albergue is obviously built on reclaimed land. Reclamation appears to have gone on to a substantial extent in the immediate area. The reason for the tent accommodation is
that a large group of children on a educational/leisure holiday have occupied the dormitories. I’m pleased I’m not in a room with 20-30 boys jabbering all night. The
one thing a pilgrim wants at the end of a day’s walk is to sleep soundly.

I didn’t need to ask for directions today, but have done so many times since arriving in Spain. I’m impressed by the attitude of locals in giving help. Typical was yesterday as I approached a corner which gave me a choice of one of three roads to take. I had only just noticed a child playing under a tree in the yard of a home when, without saying anything, she waved an arm in the direction of the road I should take. I showed my apreciation with a friendly wave of a waking pole.

I was in the city at 7.30pm but none of the restaurants were doing business at that
time. I had to settle for a less than appealing eatery where only pilgrims desperate to eat early would go. However, in it’s favour it had a view from the outside seating area down the main walking thoroughfare where I kept myself occupied by watching the comings and goings. By 8.30pm the crowds had thickened along with the noise. To my ears, and those of other pilgrims I’ve spoken with about it, Spaniards in group conversations, especially around table when eating, speak continuously and very loudly.

One of the great joys of the Camino are its differences from day to day: the countryside, the people on the streets, the building, the pilgrims, and the albergues.
The contrast between yesterday’s albergue and today’s is typical, going from a modern, well equipped building with less than ten pilgrims to a tent city with scores of school children continuously on the move. Such is the Camino.
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