Saturday 2 June 2012

Day 6 - Noja - Santillana del Mar

Noja is a fairly non-descript seaside resort with nothing much to recommend it ( holiday mainly). A pretty church and a scattering of old buildings are hidden amongst recent development. When we were there it was dead, only 2 bars open and very little choice to eat.
Recommend you give it a miss and cycle the extra kms to Guemes ( probably the best albergue of the camino)

Leaving Noja we took the local road to Soano and round to Isla before looping back to Arnuero and the main CA-141.

Follow the road to Bareyo and turn off to the left on CA-447 to Guermes. Another km past the church, at the top of the hill is the Albergue de Gurermes. A peaceful well considered and friendly stop run by Ernesto the priest, used to work in the remote Picos he has a worldview and grace which we could all learn from. Materials are reclaimed, tables from railway lumber and handrails from fallen trees. His library is full of world travels and other caminos, and he runs and NGO.

Leave Guermes heading west on CA-443 to Galizano, across the CA-141 and take the road down to the beach, you can follow the path along the cliffs to Langre and them join the road to Loredo and on to the CA-141 down to Somo and the ferry crossing.

The ferry stops at an unsigned pier, near the bridge over the Ria Cubas but you'll spot the stone shelter and a few people waiting.

For €2.50 each including bicycle, which you pay for on the ferry, it takes you to the middle of Santander. Cross the road and head for the grand arch through to the pedestrian (and cycle friendly) route west up past various cafes to the edge of the city. Signs indicate Bezana and the N-611 although a couple of roundabouts don't show which exit so it's a bit trial & error. The main road was a bit busy so we took off over the top of the motorway S-20 and dropped down to Playa Virgen del Mar and then around the CA-231 to Liencres on on to Bóo, past the sliver of water snaking through the dunes, under the motorway again and rejoined the N-611 at Arce where we followed the road towards Torrelavega.

About 3km before Torrelavega take the CA-131 on to Santillana del Mar, an incredible living museum of medieval town with cobbled streets picturesque balconies and archways with many courtyards to sit and sketch (or drink cafe con leche and Quesada cake.

We stayed in a little Pension behind the Hostal de Peregrinos.

The original intention had been to stay at Comillas or San Vicente but we'd been cycling alongside a storm since Liencres and as we followed the estuary at Boo bolts of lightning regularly flashed through the dark sky.
As we entered Santillana a massive downpour reminded us we were knackered and we took refuge in the ancient stone archways.

Total distance so far: 242miles
Really recommend the pension Octavio just behing the albergue, only 30 euros both, lovely carved wood furniture, made by the owner. Dinner at Casa Cossio, one kilo of chuleton con patatas, what a feats!

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