Day Seven- Laredo to San Miguel De Meruelo. 22.5km.
After last night’s Pilgrims Mass, where only four of us received a blessing, someone must be looking out for us. While we were having dinner post-mass, the rain began to pour, then stopped as we went to leave the restaurant and walk back to our bed in the monastery. We had heard the rain off and on during the night and wondered how we would go sliding through the slush today.
After the nuns laid out our meagre breakfast of coffee and cake, we meandered down the promenade beside the beach to catch the first ferry across to Santoña. Paying the ferryman two euro for the ten minute ride, we were deposited near the centre of this little town, famous for being the birthplace of Columbus’ ship, the Santa Marìa. Here we had our second breakfast of the day whilst donning our raingear for the coming shower. By the time we passed the long walls of the prison and went on the beach at Berria, the sun was out and the raingear was again off, for the day’s climb was about to begin.
We had been warned about this scramble up the red-earthed hill that devided the beaches of Berria and Noya. The path was billy-goat rated. The views were stunning, but on the way up we realised that the descent would be on a slippery slope which indeed Michael proved. He fell not once but thrice on the way down. Out of five of us traversing the path at the time, Michael was the only fall guy. Luckily he was not injured on any of the falls except for his bruised ego. We were all pleased to reach the relative safety of the vast Noja Beach, which subsequently took over an hour to walk into the town.
The rest of the day was spent weaving in and out of farmland on rural roads. Our plan was to continue on to an albergue in Guemes which was described in our guide book as one of the best on the Norte. Alas that would have made it another thirty kilometre day. We were both weary and the sky was threatening with rain, again. So by 3pm, whilst walking towards the Albergue de Meruela, something told us to stop. We are the only pilgrims staying the night in this lonely Spanish farmhouse and are currently waiting for our pre-paid home cooked meal.
Someone is watching over us for sure.