Wed Oct 5. Bilbao to Poverno, 8 hours. 23km.
Getting out of a b-i-g city onto the Yellow Arrowed routes tends to be an undertaking because one’s booked accommodation is usually off the marked path. Generally as one enters a big city, one veers off on a direct route to one’s lodging using a map app.
There are Camino Apps that gets one back. We use a guidebook that outlined 4 possible routes and choose the one that our hotel was closest to.
We departed our lodging at 7.40am and our route took us by the Guggenheim Museum. Catching the morning rays off the exterior was cool.
Our route takes us along the river on the opposite bank. We crossed over on a bridge. The sidewalk was very broad. We did stop at a cafe that was opened that was on an inner street that was within 200m of the sidewalk.
The walk along the sidewalk would be to Las Arenas, about 8.4 km away. We opted to tanned an Euro 0.45 per person water taxi to the other side of the river, the Portugalete area. Our guidebook mis-printed the fares on the Puente Colgante by one decimal point as Euro 5.00 when it was Euro 0.50. Besides passengers, latter has space for 4 vehicles.
As we disembarked from the water taxi and wandered around the nearby square, searching for the Yellow Arrows, a gentleman approached us and started talking with us in various languages, starting with Japanese. Turns out he had an interest in languages and even knew a few words in Bahasa! Including the personal pronoun “I” used only by Malay royalty.
When we asked for directions, he shared there were two routes, one over the mountain (which our guidebook mentioned) and a coastal route! Our adventures began when we opted for latter.
This route would be about 12km, all the way to Pobena. In the early stages, it was a very enjoyable walk. Broad sidewalks with nearby cafes and restaurants. But as we got further out, the signs were much fewer and far in between.
We had to start relying on our maps app but had to backtrack when latter guided us to walk on a major road that had no sidewalks. So, we backtracked to the last Yellow Arrow that led down an alternative route. And then there were no other arrows that we could spot.
There’s a nature within us that seeks Security/Control, Independence/Power & Happiness. Situations such as above may cause anxiety. In allowing ourselves to be surprised, we allow Divine Providence to show up.
After studying the maps app, I deduced that a possible route was nearer the coastline. As we walked towards it, we saw two ladies coming from the direction. So we asked them, first in the stock Spanish phrase that I had memorized on where is the El Camino Way. Fortunately one of them was able to speak English. The other was an out of town friend of hers who did not know English.
After discussing asking themselves and consulting their own phones, they offered to drive us 3km up to a point where Loli (who speaks English) could point out the route (that she thought would lead us to Pobeno). Turns out they were nurses (the friend’s name is Monica).
We called them our angels!
What turns mis-adventures into adventures is accepting that I don’t always have to be in control. It’s accepting that surprises turn out in all shapes and sizes.