Days 9 to 12: León to Santillana del Mar

03 June 2016

After following Camino de Santiago a bunch of the way so far, albeit in reverse mostly, the last three days saw me heading to the north coast through a stunning national park.

Firstly, some numbers. I’ve now travelled about 800 km and climbed nearly 9500 metres. Nearly two weeks in, and nearly a third of the distance (phew, things seem to be going according to plan so far). This time next week I’ll have made it over the Pyrenees, too, so that 9500 metres of ascent is going to go up a chunk (sssh, don’t tell my legs).

Highlights of the last three days include

  • That random decision of mine to head towards the coast because a quick Google of the national park from my living room inspired me. Really beautiful, and worth the detour and climbs.
  • Colin the Collie, my new best friend. The dog in the hotel in the middle of nowhere in the national park that befriended me and for a while looked like he was going to run with me the entirety of the rest of the way to Munich. OK, so he gave up when I outpaced him on a downhill a couple of kilometres from the village. Not to mention nearly knocking me off with his weaving around the bike as I left.
  • The dancing waiter at the lunch stop between León and Saldaña, who put on Viva Espana to dance my pudding out to me
  • My bike: doing me proud and not having broken yet
  • I managed to deploy the Dublin joke once


  • Strava and Google both trying to route me down dirt tracks. Google succeeding because I had no choice by that point. Thankfully my tyres held up for the 20kms or so.
  • Nationwide bank and Three conspiring to cancel my credit card and allege that I’m over my data allowance on the same evening. No credit card, no data. Basically no existence.

Another three days’ routes are over on Strava and a bunch more pictures on Instagram. I’ve been playing around with the videos from the GoPro but don’t quite have anything to share yet. Turns out hotel wifi isn’t all that fast when uploading multiple gigs of videos.

After a relatively easy couple of days, the next three are gonna be quite hard going. Tomorrow is 135 kms with 2700m climbing of coastal roads round to Portugalete, then I head inland again to arrive in Pamplona on Monday. Spotify play lists and podcasts will see me right. There may even be a new credit card waiting in Pamplona for me.

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