I didn't sleep that well; I woke up feeling queezy in the middle of the night and didn't feel able to tackle the big breakfast that was laid out for me, just some comforting warm milk and proper muesli was fine.
I had imagined that my walk to Laredo was going to be a simple walk downhill to the sea, but of course not! It was surprisingly strenuous up and down and then a 45 minute slog along a concrete promenade to catch the ferry from the other end of town. Loredo is a modern town with a huge number of what looked like 1980s council flats- so not pretty, but the beach was a stupendous stretch of ochre coloured sand.
You catch the little ferry from a beach, which seemed very unlikely so I hung around waiting for something to happen. I met a nice Danish woman doing the same thing and we struck up a conversation. She was walking for 2 weeks and staying in hotels and having her rucksack couriered each morning to the next hotel- which sounds good! But she said she was rather lonely in the evenings but would be back next year to do some more. She was finding the walking hard, so I lent her my poles to try out, which were an instant hit! We had coffee and then went our separate ways.
There were a few cyclist pilgrims on the ferry, which set us down in Santoña which is a lovely town and famous for its anchovies - hurrah! And has whole shops that sell nothing else- sadly my tummy couldn't face any at 11am. It was also where the Santa Maria, Christopher Columbus's boat, was built.
There was to be a fiesta later in the day and I'm sad I didn't hang around, but I had booked myself into albergue and felt I need to keep walking.
The setting was amazing - we were in the middle of a Wetland nature reserve similar to the Norfolk Broads; a network of blue blue lakes, reed beds and low willow scrub. It would be a great place for bird watching. Definitely a place to come back to!
At the end of town I walked onto a huge beach heading west and at the far end up a very steep sand-dune and onto a cliff top walk. Tricky walking on loose sand and then lots of rocky outcrops, along a narrow brown path lined with yellow gorse bushes. But the views from the top were stunning; a further bay stretched away westwards to the town of Noja in the azure blue distance. So down the cliff on the other side for a cheese-sandwich I had bought with me, and on towards Noja. The beach is dotted with spectacular jagged black rocks of different sizes
I hadn't gone very much further when I needed to stop for the day and so I booked myself into a strange Albergue near the beach. It advertised itself as an outdoor-adventure hostel, but I was the only person there- clean but very run down. So I went to the beach to rest, but it soon got too cold, began to thunder up in the hills and then rain. So I went for a meal in a friendly cafe which was playing Flamenco songs and then back the the albergue for a siesta.
As I walked up the steps, a huge coach of 16-17 year old French boys arrived singing football songs. Crikes I thought- another Camino sleeping challenge. Luckily they disgorged into the albergue cafe and then into the Youth Hostel next door. Phew.
When I arrived back at the Albergue there were three more guests, including an old Japanese gentleman who sang to his washing. Luckily there was enough space for all of us to have our own rooms and close the door; I laid down at 5pm and slept until 11pm and then got into bed and slept to 7pm. I realised that I had a slight chest infection/ tightness from my cold and really needed to sleep. I was woken by a couple of the French lads who had been out on the town all night and were hammering on the front door.
But it had been another amazing day full of the different landscapes: beaches, sea, cliffs, sand-dunes, reed beds, rocks, lakes. A little bit of everything!