Archive for April, 2010

Saturday, 24 April, San Vicente de la Barquera

April 24, 2010

We have come to a halt for this section of our pilgrimage. Peter was very tired when we arrived at the monastery in Cobreces where we slept on Thursday night. We had run out of supplies for breakfast apart from a few squares of chocolate and the end of a packet of nuts, crispy corn etc. Even the dried milk for our tea came to an end. For the only time it was properly raining when we left, and we didn’t find a bar open for breakfast, or any other place with sustainance until we got to Comillas at 11. Never was tortilla and cafe con leche so welcome. Peter had been marching with a woolly head and Bridget keeping up a determined pace to get him to food before he faded away completely. From Comillas we made a good time following the coastal route by the playa de Oyambre, over the headland, down and across the sands of Playa de Mezon to San Vicente. Here we have arrived in the kind arms of Sofia and Luis who run an albergue just by the magnificent gothic church of Santa Maria,

which sits within some castle walls on top of a hill overlooking an estuary behind which are rolling green wooded hills and fields, behind which are the snowcapped Picos de Europa. As Peter says, it could be Rivendell, from the Lord of the Rings. Anyway, as the evening wore on it became more and more clear that the time has come for us to stop. Ironically, our feet have settled down, our walking pace increased, our legs reached a decent fitness level so it’s not the bodies, which could probably go on for ages. It’s the old CFS/ME again, which tires Peter’s head out so. Two weeks of concentrating in various languages, sorting out where to eat and sleep, having to make decisions over every action because you are never in the same place twice; that’s what does it. Poor Peter was so jaded last night, and poor me so worried for him and getting tearful, that dear Sofia and Luis have let us stay until Monday when we will return to Santander for the ferry. We toyed with the idea of taking a bus to Potes and visiting San Toribio of Liebana, another pilgrimage site, a very ancient monastery with a long history and a piece of the True Cross. Sofia thought we could stay in the albergue there, and Luis found us bus times. But we realised it woukd be better to stay here where Peter can do nothing. Bridget has been sweeping the floor and tidying the leaflets and washing up like a spanish wife, and Sofia who used to sing in a choir is going to find some music we can sing together. They both speak good french, so we converse reasonably well, until french pilgrims turn up and then it all gets too fast for me. It is the most beautiful place. I am looking over a river mouth out to sea from this high view point, and the sun is shining. Peter has gone to have a sleep and I might too.