Wed Oct 12. Santander to Soto de la Marina. 20km. 5.5 hrs (excluding rest stops).
Our two night stay at Alojamientos Cantiber was one of the great values in our Camino (with discount, Euro 46 per night). Their generous breakfast spread provided enough sustenance for a great start to our walk.
Raul, who had greeted us the first day, and is an attentive host, provided directions on getting the Bus Line #1 or #2 to Parque de Mesones, which is at the end of the beach and the start of the coastal path/route. This saved us about 2.5-3.0km walking through the city center.
This coastal route from Santander to Boos de Pielagos is not the “official” Camino route, which is inland. It’s also much longer, 31.7km vs the 13.7km on the inland route. Thus, we decided to spend a night at Soto de la Marina, which is about 20km from Santander. This coastal route is not “Yellow Arrowed” though one does find sporadic yellow arrows at cross roads. However, because others have recorded and uploaded/shared their trek, I downloaded the GPX files and used Wikiloc App on my phone as the directional guidance. I only realized as we were about 5km from Soto de la Marina that leaving the Internet on was rapidly draining my phone battery. One can use the Wikiloc without Internet as it’s GPS signals only. Live and Learn.
Post edit: It wasn’t the Internet that was draining my battery but recording my own trek on Wikiloc!
We reached Parque de Mesones about 8.20am. The weather forecast was overcast with 40% chance of rain about 1-2pm (it was dry throughout our walk!). We climbed a flight of steps that brought us to a paved walkway, that was about 50 feet above sea level. The elevation for the beginning walk was in this range to about 100 feet. This allows one to be ‘closer’ to the action (‘waves’).
In the early part of the walk, we got to a promontory, which allowed us to look back at the beach and part of the city. The rock formations were striking, with white waves crashing upon them. The sun had yet to break through the heavy cloud cover.
There were a handful of walkers and runners, but we pretty much had the path to ourselves. This walkway will pass the lighthouse, Faro de Cabo Mayor.
The walk for the first 5km or so was on paved walkways. It gradually turned into dirt paths and stony/muddy paths. We were fortunate that it did not rain today. The views continued to be breath taking and we opted to stop at multiple points and soak in the experience.
As we walked, we noticed some men walking amongst the bushes and undergrowth. They were seeking or hunting for something as they wore gloves and were carrying plastic bags. We saw men also raking and trucking dried seaweed off the beaches.
The Generosity of Mother Nature, in giving us a no-charge therapeutic environment.