Friday Oct 14. Santillana Del Mar to Comillas. 7 hours (including lunch stop 40 mins); 22.5km.
Yesterday late afternoon, after checking in at 3.10pm, we freshen up and rested as it was siesta time and things are closed. We made our way to the Colegiata de Santa Juliana to visit before it closes at 6pm. After the visit, as we wandered around the ‘medieval’ part of Santillana Del Mar, we were totally exhausted. There was no way we could wait till 8pm for restaurants to offer the dinner menu.
Fortunately, we found a smaller establishment that offered entree meals at this hour that was minutes from our hotel. So, we are heartily (I had a stewed half chicken). We quickly realized the issue. Because we were walking coastal routes, without stopping for a proper lunch, we had exhausted our body’s store. A change in strategy was needed!
This morning, we decided to have a proper breakfast at the same establishment that we had dinner. We shared a tuna empanada (Euro 5). I had a cup of hot chocolate which totally floored me. In USA, this would be made from cocoa powder with water or milk. I had real chocolate!
As we started our walk at 8.30am, one of the first signs we saw in Santillana was this. It became a guiding light for the day.
This message came at the right time. I was wrestling with mental fatigue. It came about from the daily exertions, dealing with getting meals before kitchens open at 8pm, and planning ahead (accommodations, unique situations, alternative routing, etc.) Thus, this “Carpe Diem” sign had a significance for me beyond the literal meaning. And that was very much needed. In Life, fatigue can easily degenerate into something worse. A Carpe Diem moment with loved ones might just be the tonic!
The walk in the mooring was very refreshing. In the main, the walk was on country roads with little to no traffic at times. As one looks around at the diffused lighting., the soft pastel colors does reveal how the old masters were influenced in their paintings.
As we reached Cobreces, there was two route options. We decided based on the perceived length of the routes, to take the shorter route. The two routes would reconnect further along. We forgot to note that the shorter route would take us past a Playa (beach). We learnt that means a descent and subsequent ascent!
As we approached the Playa, there was a restaurant with a patio overlooking the beach. Keeping to the theme of the day, we seized the opportunity to stop for lunch. Again, fortune was with us as the lunch menu was only available at 1pm, which would have required a wait of 30 minutes. But the cook agreed to take our orders at 12.30pm. Luck favors those who ask!
After lunch, we climb uphill and walked on some roads that passed residential homes. The temperatures were also climbing with us, Pat the forecast of 71F to 73F. It was taking some effort especially with an uphill ascent on hot asphalt roads. We spotted an ermitage at the top of a 4-way intersection. We planned to rest a bit in the shadow of said structure.
Having rested and prayed, we soldiered on to our lodging.
Postscript – We met Mary from outside Brisbane, Australia at a cafe. We walked and chatted with her a bit. Yesterday we met a Spaniard named Josea (Joseph in English)!
To seize the day is a mind set, an attitude and most importantly, a grateful heart.