Camino Day 9: Laredo to Guemes

Today began a bit later as the first ferry to Santoña departed at 9am. Ergo, Mikey had a leisurely breakfast of coffee and stale bread courtesy of out nuns of perpetual prohibition of pleasure. I mean, for 10€, couldn’t they have sprung for juice or doughnuts?! Just sayin…


Anyways, we had a 5km walk (about an hour) along the beach before reaching the ferry landing. Oh, and by landing, that is to say the boat basically runs up onto the beach and a little ramp is dropped down!



​Since Mikey works in customer service, he couldn’t help laughing at our captain and his professionalism during the journey.


Still, it was quite a beautiful day on the water.
Santoña is a small village dedicated more to fishing and boating than surfing.


Oh, and they clearly like their fútbol. Although this sports bar was closed, it love for the game was unmistakable.


Leaving Santoña, there was a brief walk along the beach before a considerable climb up a scruffy hill that separated two beaches.


The red dirt was hot and powdery and the dry succulents really scratched and scraped the legs and arms – not fun! Also, as we had left later due to the ferry schedule, the sun was already beating down.


It was quite a trying workout, but Mikey stopped complaining as soon as he looked back over the beach. Yeah, it was totally worth the hike.
Here’s our conquering hero on the other beach (having climbed down the other side of the hill).
Next was a 4km walk along the water on the beach of Navejo. It was a really beautiful day for a stroll.


Following the suburban outskirts of Navejo, we stumbled upon this beautiful Church of Castillo. It was yet another example of the Romanesque churches in the area.

Perhaps one of the hardest things was passing this place without stopping. I mean, food and rock and roll – what more could a pilgrim want?!


OK, maybe a bed. So, after many hot miles in the afternoon sun, Mikey arrived in Guemes at the albergue.


The “Cabaña del Abuelo Peuto” is a donation-based albergue and, basically, the only game in town. So, like parking your car in a faraway lot at Disneyland and taking the tram in, you’ll have a good time here, but it’s completely on Father Ernesto’s terms! Yeah, Mikey’s cult fears were bubbling up to the surface.


The grounds were really beautiful and Mikey had time to shower and start his laundry in the machines with a full three hours to kill before our “little pilgrim meeting” at 7:30pm. So far, the volunteer staff had been very friendly, but so are the Scientologists on Hollywood Boulevard!!


Well, we just decided to open that 2011 Crianza and start making friends with some other novices – er, pilgrims. Hey, Mikey doesn’t speak French, so wine is his language of love!


Well, what ensued was a 45 minute talk from the albergue’s founder, Father Ernesto. He exhaustively explained the history of the property, his mission work as a Catholic priest, his ideology behind starting a pilgrim retreat, and how we should navigate through the next fewmdays in Cantabria.


It wasn’t exactly the cult-like indoctrination Mikey had feared, but it felt like a full on Las Vegas-style time-share talk without the free tickets to Blue Man Group to which he could look forward at the end! Well, there was a free dinner and Ernesto just mentioned at the end that there was a box in thedinning room if we wanted to contribute to the albergue.


All told, it was a really good experience. We dined with an older British lady and her husband (who had attended UCLA when Reagan was governor of California!) A friendly German guy joined mikey at the picnic area after dinner and suddenly produced both wine and an entourage of European pilgrims with whom we spent the next few hours discussing soccer, Brexit, and Spanish history/culture long after bedtime. Mikey ended the evening with a Father’s Day call to his dad and retired to that free bed which he claims was part of the time-share bit.


Yeah, it ain’t much, but neither is a Blue Man Group concert! LOL & good-night!

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