Monday, September 5, 2011
Güemes 4 September
Not much fun to walk in the rain!
The day started overcast like many of the past few mornings did. The walk started out pretty level out of Santoña and past a few seaside villages of mostly vacation and retirement homes. Then we started our climb of the day, the Alto de El Brusco, which is a steep hill separating two sandy beaches. It is less than 2 km between the beaches, but involves a steep ascent of 120 m. then a descent just as steep. It was drizzling slightly so we put our backpack covers on. Halfway up it started raining steadily and heavily. In minutes, the steep trail went from picturesque and scenic to muddy, slippery, and treachorous. There was no way to switch over to rain parkas for more protection, either. So we slogged our way up, hoping we would not slip over the edge into the ocean. The way down on the other side was no easier as the storm became more intense. Once we reached the other beach, it was a difficult walk through soft and wet sand. Shoes were soaking wet by this time and it was about another two km before we were able to find shelter in an open bar/café that had a covered terrace. I was able to change my socks and get some of the water out of my shoes, but my feet and shoes were wet for the rest of the walk. It kept raining for another two hours, but was not so bad after I was able to put on my rain parka and gaiters.
We found some cover in the courtyard of a church to eat lunch around 11 am. The overcast did not clear, but there was only a little drizzle the rest of the way. We continued on to the albergue near Güemes, completing the 25 km (18 miles) right at 2 pm.
What a welcome we received there! No sooner had we walked in, but they offered cool water, signed us in, and invited us to the most delicious meal we had yet. The first course was a beef and potato soup, delicately flavored with Spanish paprika. The second course was thin beef filets very flavorful, ensalada normal (lettuce, fresh onion, and tomatoes), and my favorite, fresh cooked peppers. The peppers were not Padrons, but more like the ones I grow in our garden. They were sauteed in olive oil and salt and done perfectly.
I hsve to say that this albergue is in the country over a kilometer from the village and there is not much in the village. So this is the reason meals are offered along with the lodging. There is an association of 70 volunteers who rins this albergue and there is no set chage for staying hete; it is all up to each personstayong here to donate an amount they want.
The rest of the afternoon and early evening was devoted to individual activity- clothes washing, showers, reading, visiting. At 7:30, we had a meeting where they explained how the alberguecwas started by it's founder, then an explanation of the various route options for the next two days. Afterwards was a dinner with fish or garlic/egg soup and pasta.
This is the first night it has been cool and the dampness means our clothes and shoes are not dry yet.