Portugalete to Castro-Urdiales

Camino de Santiago del Norte
Day 11 of our Adventure: WALK!!
Tuesday September 12, 2017

28km / 18 miles / 7.5 hours
Total Ascent: 770 ft.
Total Descent: 770 ft.
Difficulty Rating: Terrain 3; Waymarking 4
Scenery Rating: 4

Portugalete to Castro-Urdiales

After a brisk and very early climb up from the beach in Portugalete, we walked on a pretty cool pedestrian and bicycle path that crossed over a crazy amount of freeways. The vast majority of our walk was on paved paths, which was a welcome change from the rocky, muddy terrain that we’d experienced during our first 4 days on the Camino. After climbing a very long stairway we realized that we should have spent more time doing the steps at Avenue C in Redondo!

It rained almost all day, but it was more like a light Seattle rain, When we had to use our trekking poles to brace ourselves for downhill walks through muddy paths, I channeled my Aunt Claire, who contracted polio as a child and walked with crutches all her life. My short experience with 2 good legs and poles was daunting enough. My Aunt was awesome, leaving the rest of us in the dust.

We got to Hotel Las Rocas at a decent hour and had a good meal, then went for a walk on the beach. The cold water was just what our sore feet and swollen ankles needed. Our only regret is that we typically are so tired when we arrive at each day’s destination that we don’t get out to see all of the interesting sights. Today was no different. Our hotel was clear across town from the historical sites and the other, longer beach, and we decided to get some well-needed rest. But it’s worth a return to this beautiful place!

Castro Urdiales called Flavióbriga by the Romans, is set on a cliff by the sea. The skyline is dominated by a ruined castle and the Gothic Santa Maria Church. A long-inhabited area, with remains dating to 12,000 BC., a Templar castle stood here. The Parish Church of Santa Maria de la Asuncion is a very famous sight. One of the Norte’s finest Gothic churches, its exterior is spectacular, with buttresses flying in all directions. Strange iconography on the main entrance’s frieze harkens back to Templar time, with rabbits kissing oxen, dragons eating serpents eating birds, and so on. When Mike and I were here in 2003, we had a lovely lunch at an outdoor café. And got a parking ticket.


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