Camino del Norte: Day 7, Bilbao to Pobena

Today was a fantastic day! We did get lost a few times, Scott got sunburned, and we walked on pavement the whole day, BUT it was a really good day. For one, we broke the 100 mile mark and we are just over 1/5 of the way to Santiago. We made incredibly good time to the town of Pobena, where our Albergue is for the night. Most importantly though, we got to lay on the beach!

I’ll back track a little bit to talk about our hostel last night that I posted about yesterday. Well, like I said, the facilities were great. But the courtesy from the other hostel guests was absolutely non-existent. I’m about to go on a mini rant and then I promise (mostly) positive words for the rest of this post. Since we have to get up so early to start hiking each morning, we were in bed right around 9pm. Everything was great, but then 11pm rolled around and one of the other guests comes into the room and turns on all the lights. Which is fine if you are trying to find something really quick, or get the flashlight on your phone going, but no. This person came in, turned on all the lights while people (other than us) were sleeping and then proceeded to go into the shower and keep the lights on in the room. Scott turned them off when he was in the shower, and guess what, when he came out… he turned on all the lights again. Irritating to say the least, but then he snored all night too so that guy is really on my hit-list. Small things, but after a terribly long day, we were at our wits end.

Now to the good stuff. We started early and the city was quiet and beautiful. The sun was rising right when we started walking, and the path took us all along the river. There were two different paths to take out of Bilbao, a complete uphill with an extra 6km, or a flat, shorter one along the river. You can guess which one we took. Because the route we took was a little more uncommon, we got lost a few times, but not enough to have us back track. But the BEST part of all, there was an uphill escalator that took us up one of our ascents for the day. It was amazing.

The rest of our hike was on a really neat walking, biking path all the way of the city to the coast. The only downside was it was all pavement, and it went through mostly industrial areas. Other than that, it was a great day of relatively flat walking with little pain. Plus, the people were so kind that passed us. Many greeting us with “Buen Camino,” wishing us a good journey.

With about 1km to our Albergue we got to the town of La Arena. A super cute beach town with surfers, restaurants, and shops. We were told that this was the last spot before our accommodation that had a grocery store, so we stopped and grabbed things for lunch and dinner. The walk from La Arena to Pobena is all along the beach, the closest we have been to the beach since we started. It was so nice to see people out sunbathing, playing frisbee, and walking dogs. So. Many. Dogs.

We got to the Albergue with 2 hours to spare before it opened and beat all our friends here! So, we sat in the park across the street, ate a sandwich, and finally got to take our boots off. We even treated ourselves to an ice cream, and it did not disappoint. An ice cream bar with half chocolate dipped crunch bar outside and the other half was a chocolate chip cookie!
Once check-in happened, we saw some our friends and then quickly headed to get our swimsuits on and go to the beach. Scott and I both passed out within seconds of laying down in the sun. After our brief nap, we waded into the water and it was ice cold but felt so good on our sore feet and legs. We treated it like a quick ice bath and then headed back to the hostel to walk around the small town and make dinner.

The next few days will be a little challenging for us in the sense of planning. We are trying to figure out how many kilometers we can do without burning out, but also finding proper accommodation at those spots. We would like to stay in the cheapest places possible, but some only have a few beds or absolutely terrible google reviews.

Today’s Stats:
Number of km: 25.7km
Percent paved trail- 24.3km
Percent unpaved trail- 1.4km
Difficulty- Medium
Cities passed through- Barakaldo. Sestao, Portugalete, La Arena
Albergue- Pobena Municipal, has kitchen, common space, outdoor space, clothes lines, hot showers, washer, and wifi

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