Monday, May 25, 2015

Day 7: to Castro Urdiales (28k)

Bilbao was a funny old place. Like many Spanish cities, the touristic / historic centre had beautiful architecture and largely seemed thriving, but still a little blighted by what one could charitably call counter-culture, or alternatively just faintly threatening young men with excessive piercings and drinking problems. We had a very nice hostel but it was opposite a falling down building that was definitely either a brothel or a crack house. And there were fights (and dog fights) happening all night. 

Come the morning we took the executive decision to take the underground instead of walk 10k out of Bilbao through the suburbs. This was very smooth and landed us in in Portugalete, a medium-sized commuter town. Our first walk was then 10k largely on bike track out of town, swooping over an enormous motorway system and down to the small beach town of Puerto de la Arena, where the major event was the very long queue at the bank, we assume to draw the dole or similar. 

The next bit of walking was fantastic: 7k along a beautiful coastline that I would (did) say reminded me of Cornwall. My feet were less nostalgic however and several compeed were applied, all this road walking taking a real toll (when I took my shoes off tonight there were large red raw bits, despite compeed... I may have screamed like a girl when the shower hit them...)

There was a lot of roadwork this afternoon and I had tired legs and feet but all was redeemed by the lovely coast. At a small cove just before Castro Urdiales we each stopped for 2 out of 3 of, beer, ice cream, swim  (you can guess that I didn't get wet). The last stomp in over the headland and along the seafront was gorgeous. CU is an astonishing old seaside town, fronted by beautiful houses and with a wonderfully buttressed-church and lighthouse out on the breakwater.

We are staying in a lovely central hotel (hurrah!) and looking forward to an earplug-less sleep that will somewhat miraculously heal my heels. 

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