Day Four- Bilbao to Sestao (Metro) 17.8.
Sestao to Pobena (walking) 15.6km.
We are so bad….and we are on a roll.
As I grapple with my conscious, we continue to use the available public transport that evolution has put before us. This new age pilgrim is moving with the times. We had read on many web sites and blogs, how the markers throughout Bilbao were a little haphazard and people had gotten easily lost. So with our track record of losing our way in the big towns, we decided to catch the Metro out to the suburbs and follow the yellow arrows from there. Luckily we were inundated by kindly locals who recognized the signs of confused perigrinos with backpacks turning in all directions. They guided us out from the Sestao Metro station, and then in Portugalete when the arrows led us around a church and then seemingly into the heavens, an angel appeared to show us the way again. From then on, it was a ten kilometre walk next to a bike way, boring as hell but leading us directly back to the sea.
A few words about Bilbao before moving forward. It is a very pretty city founded in 1300, a few kilometres up the Rìo Nervìon on the Bay of Biscay. Now, most commonly known for it’s Guggenheim Museum and the giant flowery dog guarding its entrance, Bilbao is a modern city with plenty of free space for walking/cycling/skating locals to exercise around.
After booking into our wonderful hostel last night, we left our washing in the hands of the guy who booked us in and vamoosed to enjoy the sights of this city. We wandered down to smell The Dog and then walked with the locals beside the river before entering the Casco Viejo. We had heard that this was the best place for food and we were determined to eat dinner which we eventually did. Rolling out from the restaurant, we entered the Cathedral of Santiago (built in 1571) before returning to our bed and clean clothes at the hostel. Like Goldilocks, I noticed that there was the gear of an Italian motorcyclist staying in our room as well. We didn’t end up meeting this guy until 4am when he returned from his party, promptly turned the light on (“scusi”) and then fell into his bed snoring before hitting the pillow. So we woke early again. A simple but staple breakfast was provided by the hostel before we left loaded with helpful directions for the Metro.
As mentioned before, today’s walk was boring beside a highway for a while and then a well frequented bicycle pathway. On concrete and footpaths until the last kilometre across a sandy boardwalk to the Albergue de Perigrinos in Pobena. Michael felt that he was missing the full perigrino experience and since we had only seen six walkers in three days, this donativo albergue was the place to be. We arrived early and at first thought that we may be the only ones here but after the doors opened at 1430hrs, two hours later, the albergue is completo. Twenty-two beds in one room. I hope Michael enjoys the sights/sounds/smells of this crowd. Where have you all been!
Mostly Spanish, there is also a young couple from Germany, a Korean gentleman, a lady around sixty from California, and a young girl (late twenties) from Victoria, Vancouver Island. I spoke with a lady from Barcelona who luckily understands English well, who thought that the reason that we had seen very little pilgrims was that we had started late in the season and now that we are three days ahead, we have caught up with a crowd. We’ll see how this band of gypsies travels.