Pobeña to Castro Urdiales: 15 km
Castro Urdiales to Liendo: 25 km
“I’d forgotten this part of Camino life,” I wrote in my journal on the 9th day of walking. “When the magic becomes normal, the feeling that walking is the way that I live now. The steady pattern of walk-eat-sleep-repeat. Take care of your feet. Soak in the sun. Be nice to your neighbors. Remember to look around. Just be.”
We’d come 180 kilometers already, and the rhythm was established, but the Norte refused to be taken for granted. As we left Basque Country behind and entered Cantabria, the geology changed. The rocks in the cliffs were more gray, the earth was drier. Even the cows seemed different. The rain stopped, and the sun sparkled on the ocean that popped up every few hours.
We spent a day surrounded by our Camino family, and a day walking alone, meeting new friends in a municipal albergue full of Germans. (Seriously. There were 18 Germans, 1 British woman, 1 Spanish man, and us.)
Sure, there were moments when we slogged along the shoulder of a busy road that curved precariously around sharp corners, with little space for us and the speeding cars passing by. There were grumpy moments when I wanted a rest or a cup of coffee or (most important) a bathroom. There were dull moments when the road Just. Kept. Going.
But with a few weeks of distance, those parts of the Camino fade, and what I’m left with are these snapshots of heart-stopping beauty.