The …by the sea

Sept 24-25

Officially it may be autumn  in America but it is still summer in Spain and people are still going to the beach.  Beaches along this route are numerous, accessible and free to all. They are spotless.

Sunday the temperature was in the high 80’s and the beaches were crowded with families of all ages. Those who were not at the beach were enjoying tapas in the town.Not the be outdone we or at least I, did both.

We tried out some anchovies in oil and some Pulpo( octopus very tasty) and then hit the beach. B held the fort while I had a nice swim- water cold but not freezing, small (by Rhode a Island standard) waves, and no undertow. A pair of lifeguards, flippers in  hand, patrolled the  beach from end to end. A nice way to finish a walk.

Today’s forecast was for afternoon rain but the dawn came cool and sunny. The mornings glories were out in full force-a little color to start the day.

Morning glories grow rampant here covering the hillsides and going high up into the trees. We don’t expect to see many today as our route calls for a pleasant stroll along two beaches with a little walk up a hill in between to get the blood pumping. A two boot day.Or so we thought.

We set off on the first beach – a two hour five mile barefoot walk on a sugar sand beach.

We ambled along collecting scallop shells and black oyster shells. We played in the water. We watched surfers,complete with crash helmets,  trying to turn a two foot wave into a memorable ride. We were joined by several other groups of pilgrims and compared notes and blister tales.
The beach ended on a narrow strip of land where we sat to wait for the “ferry” to take us across the river. These small ferries are a common way to cross when two towns are separated by a river.

This one was great. It pulled up close to the beach, threw a metal dock onto a sand dune and we climbed aboard. For two euros each we took a ten minute cruise. 
Back on terra firma the rain finally caught up with us and we played raincoat on raincoat off until it was pouring and we were soaked.

And as they say, when it rains it pours.

For the first time in ten days we lost our path. We missed a turn and ending up walking two miserable  kilometers on the highway , mostly behind the guardrail thus keeping most but not all of the car splash away from us. But we eventually found the path and we didnt become roadkill.

During our trip down to the boat a spanish couple walked with us and gave us long fast complicated and incomprehensible advice-something about a hill and a road.   Our Spanish guidebook had a tiny exclamation point with the words” sentia muy duro”. We weren’t too concerned.

On my 60th birthday,crossing the alps, there was a sign that said, ” path not suitable for horses and bicycles”. After coming off of that path I was relieved to be alive to celebrate my birthday.

This little hill outdid the birthday adventure. The rain had turned an already  steep narrow and rocky path into two hours of treachery. We could either slip up or slip down, but hopefully not slip off that “little hill”.

We  crawled on our hands and knees, clawing our way up through the red mud, packs swaying on our backs We sat on our butts and slithered down through the mud. We wondered how it has come to this.

Once B got stuck. She couldn’t go up or down. She removed her pack and I dragged it up the hill. I went back and hauled ( not dragged!) her up too.

Three feet at a time we inched up one side of that “little hill”and down the other. It wasn’t pretty but then neither were we.

Down on the flat of beach number two B said, ” I think that couple was telling us to  go on the road and not over the hill.”

Still it is was not a total waste of an afternoon.

Because were so close to the ground we had a chance to discover another  new rock  formation and to see a phenomenal snail. Pale green no less.
For the last five miles, we were spent. We walked in the water in hopes of making ourselves somewhat presentable  although the hotel  advertised a pilgrim discount so they knew about dirty walkers .

Naturally the entrance to town was uphill and the pensione higher still. We had to stop  and eat  a pear to fuel us up that last incline.

And then we were in, into the pension and into the shower.  Clothes too. Took ten minutes for the water to run clear.

One last adventure.

We had earned a beer and we needed food. Man at bar recommends these delicious “percebes”. We are too tired to argue.

I watch father clean and cook these things and he too assures me they are delicious. We are too tired to argue. We get a lesson in eating these delicious things. Grab claw. Twist rubber part. Pull apart. Eat the pinky hose like thing.  Suck juice out of the dragon claw end.

We are to tired to argue. We eat them.


What did we eat??                  GOOSE NECK BARNACLES.

Can’t wait to get up tomorrow and put on all those wet clothes. Rumor has it tomorrow is an easy day. Too tired to care.

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