Stage 8 ~ Portugalete to Castro-Urdiales

21 miles today. And out of Basque country into Cantabria! One-fourth of the way done!

People today have been so friendly, offering lots of unsolicited tips and advice, most of them helpful. I set off with Tash this morning and we quickly passed Petra and Niko as they sat in a cafe for coffee and pastry. However, they passed us a bit later as we, too, stopped for our morning coffee. We were later also passed by an older French man who replied, “yes, I am” when Tash remarked, “you’re fast.”

It was quite a pleasant walk today, overcast and cool, so comfortable walking weather. We also reencountered the sea, catching a glimpse a couple of hours into our day and walking beside it for much of the rest. We stopped for a late lunch on a d small, rocky beach, and I am writing this a couple of blocks from our albergue sitting by another beach. Wonderful!

Somewhere just before we turned on to the first bit of coastline, Vittorio came up behind us and the three of us walked a bit before heading a little way off the Camino for a late morning coffee. One man tried to redirect us back towards the Camino, but he definitely understood when we told him we needed coffee!

Heading back to the Camino, we ran into Petra and Niko again, and the 5 of us continued the rest of the way together. I have beautiful photos from this stage and had to force myself to stop taking pictures because nearly every turn brought something picturesque!

We got into town a little after 4 and decided to head straight to the hostel. A good idea, because by 6 it was full. A cute little place with lots of bunk beds in one room. About 8 sets, so 16 people. I either have to get to sleep early, or find my ear plugs!

In other news, I had no idea feet could hurt in so many different ways! My left foot feels much, much better, except for the bottom from pounding on the ground. Much nicer without so many hills today – only a level 3 terrain. But pavement is hard on the feet at any terrain level! However, my right foot hurts terribly, but only when I walk. So now, it is fine! Standing is also sometimes ok, depending on how my foot is placed, but walking is very painful. In the arch mostly. I was hoping for WiFi here to look up what could be done, but my phone doesn’t want to connect to the public WiFi. I hope it is nothing serious. I will put the cream on it tonight and pray it is better come morning. The next 2 days are a bit long.

I also now have a very cramping left calf. I noticed it in the shower while washing my clothes. It gets stiffer (and therefore worse) after I sit for a while, but then it loosens up. Again, cream tonight and pray for a painless tomorrow.

To end on a slightly more positive note, my pack feels good, finally, and I feel stronger. I was tired this afternoon, but nearly 21 miles will do that to you. I wasn’t utterly exhausted, however. Good to finally have reached that point. Hopefully, I can turn my focus to getting more spiritually fit now as well.

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