I caught the 7:30am bus to Laredo this morning to walk the inland route until it intersects the coastal route before Güemes. The day was grey and cloudy. It was nice to walk with a light pack, with my heavy things left with Dave in Santander in our pension room.
However, the inland path was really not enjoyable to walk. The first few kilometers were along a highway past a huge strip mall. The trail alternated between walking along the highway (with very little shoulder) and then off onto smaller country lanes. The lanes are of course more enjoyable, but I have found them just as stressful because of the many barking and snarling dogs in the villages. Along the Francés route, this was rare as I guess the dogs are more accustomed to pilgrim traffic. 99% of the dogs are chained or fenced in, but it still gives me a heart attack when I hear a dog growling and lunging toward me when I can’t tell if they are chained or not, and they are often chained very close to the road. A few smaller dogs did come running at me, so I yelled at them and waved my hiking poles. I’m not sure why the dogs seem so unfriendly here, I guess they are trained as guard dogs or just wary of strangers. German shepherds seem to be popular, along with some kind of larger breed that I can’t identify.
I finally got back to the place the alternative trails meet. Dave had checked online and found that there was one bus to Santander from this town (one per day). I got there around 3:10pm, hoping to make the 3:20pm bus to Santander. The bus flew by without stopping 🙁 so I waited another hour to get a bus back to Laredo and from Laredo back to Santander. I got back around 6:30pm exhausted. I felt better after a hot shower and dinner. It was really a treat to have a private room and just have a quiet relaxing evening.
We’re a bit sad that we have lost track of the two Americans from California that we saw almost every day. We last saw the in Laredo, where they were taking a rest day due to injury and also because they had lost their camera and were hoping it might be turned in to Tourist Info or the police station. We haven’t heard if they recovered it, but hope to cross paths with them soon.