Day 9 Taking the route less traveled

Thursday Oct 6. Pobena to Islares. 8 hrs 15 mins. 17km.

Today’s hike was one of the best, in terms of scenery as well as relative ease of terrain. We waited till 8am to leave our lodging Casa Rural Mugarri as it would be bright enough.

The start was a climb up about 120 steps according to the inn keeper. We prefer that to clambering over a mountain side trail that’s rocky and uneven. But once we reached the top, we had great views of the ocean and beach. The views got better as we walked along the coastline. This went on for more than an hour! There were no winds buffeting us, so it really was one of our most enjoyable walks.

Beach outside Pobena
The coastline walk from Pobena to Onton
Another dramatic view further up
Many walkers bring their dogs as evidenced by this water fountain for dogs!

Eventually we had to swing inland. And started walking alongside major roads. By checking Google Maps, I spotted two cafes that seemed to be open as we did not have any hot breakfast yet. We opted for the first one even though that was 100m out of the way as I had high confidence it would be open since there was a road sign pointing towards it and from the map, it was likely frequented by truckers. Voila, we had our hot breakfast at 10.20am. This decision proved correct because the second cafe did not appear to be open.

Sometimes we can go on auto-pilot in Life and on the Camino. In the latter case, it’s following the tried and Yellow Arrowed marked route. And mostly that’s goodness. But our guidebook recommended that we veer off the conventional route into Onton as that would continue us walking next to the major road. Rather it recommended going off onto a dirt road about 500m from Onton. How is one supposed to know that one is 500m from a destination that is ahead without any road signs?

Well, we knew that we were looking for a dirt path to the right as we walked towards Onton. Well, Someone up above arranged for a jogger to suddenly appear on the road running towards us. He seemed to jump out from the right side of the road.

This is the dirt path referenced in the guidebook. Might have been clearer to include in the guidebook a reference to the directional arrow sign at a sharp corner for drivers!

This path led us to a beach. Where there was a grotto with the Virgin of Miono. We ascended shortly after that with a helpful Yellow Arrow painted on the road.

Fairly deserted beach; girl playing with her dog at water’s edge.
Sculpture of the Virgin of Miono
We were rewarded with views like this.
Solitary blue dot shows us. The continuous dots represent the ‘marked/official’ route.
These residents are very lucky to live here. As you can see from the crane, they were still building apartment blocks.
At Castro-Urdiales with the Iglesia de Santa Maris de La Asunción in the background. We are putting up the night in Islares, which is 7km further. But tomorrow is a Rest Day, and we will visit Castro-Urdiales.

We all need our own ‘routes less traveled.’ That’s part of the Joy of Life, to sometimes wander with a carefree disposition.

Author: Ben & Joon

Residents in the great Pacific North West. Living life as it happens, learning our purpose and trail blazing our own paths. Namaste.

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