June 14:  Portugalete to Castro Urdiales  43,769 steps

The Camino passes directly through Portugalete so finding our way out of town was made considerably easier today.  It still required a walk up hill but lead us to a bicycle/walking path that was nicely paved and marked.  The yellow arrow signs were imbedded into the pavement so finding them was easy.  With rare exception, there was no need to search for a painted one under some underbrush or on a street light pole.  

The route wound around the countryside giving fantastic vistas as it reached each peak.  The weather was once again a little cooler so other than when going up a steep incline, sweat was not a factor in the equation of survival today.  

Spain is a land of bicyclists!!  They come in all sizes and shapes, but the majority are thin, male, tiny butted, fully dressed in the colorful biking shirt and matching shorts, and muscular.  When sharing the path with such a breed it is hard to look at the scenery that God has placed there along the Camino.  Eyes have a tendency to just stare at this specimen that pedals by.  Some times the creature is in a group of four or five and other times alone.  In each case it usually utters the common phrase in our direction -- "Buen Camino".  For those of you unfamiliar with Spanish, it means "Good luck on the Camino".  The Spaniards take the Camino very seriously, so when these guys see a group of mature women, obviously not Spanish, trudging along, they give us all the support they can give.  We appreciate every bit of the help!!

By noon today the route had descended down to the coast line and onto a beach.  Lunch seemed to be in order considering the beautiful view from the veranda of a restaurant.  Now -- the foot problems are still with us -- more with some than others -- but the need to heal has become a major event.  The sight of the salt water was definitely a sign that the healing process should occur here.  Shoes off and into the gentle surf brought immediate relief to the throbbing toes.  While the rest of the group decided that they wanted to brave the elements and continue on, I chose to stay back and let nature heal my feet.  Someone has to sacrifice -- this is a pilgrimage -- salt on the wounds -- sun on the face -- wine glass in the hand -- now it was tough -- but I did it and then took a cab to the hotel 20 minutes farther down the road!

The rest of the route proved to be very long and difficult.  The group didn't arrive at the hotel until 5:30-6:00pm, tired and ready for a shower, some food and a little Spanish wine or water.  Once again Angela made tremendous progress.  Another long day up and down the countryside, but she did it with gusto, while holding onto a very positive attitude.  That is one tough gal -- she is better than the Energizer Bunny.  She just keeps going and going and going, with Frankie in tow keeping the cadence with her pole! 

The town is on the sea, so the views from the hotel are miles of beach.  Very pretty, this coastal area.

Tomorrow it is the long push to Laredo and another day of rest!

Jan, Nancy, Michele at Break Time!

On the Camino

On the Camino Too

La Playa