Camino del Norte Day 20: San Vicente to Colombres

We awoke early this morning and had a small breakfast at the albergue. The hospitalero made a speech explaining how to follow the Camino today, but he began by telling us to cross the bridge and walk on the highway. Our book has a completely different route on the map, so we asked him about it. He barely looked at us and just said, “This book is bad.” He wouldn’t answer our question about whether the highway route he suggested was marked. We were getting frustrated that such an “expert” on the Camino couldn’t simply answer our question.

Based on his information, we decided to split up. I would walk the highway route that he suggested and Dave would walk the route outlined in other guidebooks. I ended up on a busy road with trucks flying past me. While the view down to the estuary area below was nice, it was hard to enjoy with the traffic. Also, the route was not marked at all, so I would never recommend that pilgrims take this route over the marked path, which is much safer and goes through picturesque towns and villages.

We arrived in Colombres, which has a private albergue on the way into town, but we had also heard that the polideportive in Colombres in available for pilgrims to sleep in. Most towns in Spain have a polideportivo, basically a rec center run by the local government. Colombres has a nice little gym with a basketball court, nice hot showers, bathrooms and a lofted weigh room area. The person attending to us, Sergio, was amazingly nice and helpful. There was a pile of thick gym mats as well as various army cots for us to use. We could spread out and set our mats wherever we wanted. The cost was €3. There is even a pool next door that we could use for €2.

Dave and I explored the town and were getting quite hungry around 5:30pm. We checked out the three local restaurants and were disappointed to hear that none of them started serving food until 8:30pm, so we settled for another grocery store dinner. We had a nice quiet night in the albergue, except my sickness was definitely getting worse and I awoke around 4am when my body decided to reject all the food I had eaten for dinner… I was at least glad I did not have a top bunk to climb down from for my frequent trips to the bathroom.