We spent most of the day walking on the side of the freeway. Whenever I had a chance, I climbed to the other side of the metal barricade to increase the space between my body and the occasional car that zoomed by.

It was the first day of rain we’ve had since staring El Camino. We looked like fat grim reapers with black ponchos over ourselves and our backpacks.

It was all a little depressing. And my thoughts were as dark as the sky. I realized that even though we’ve walked more than 100 miles now, we’re still not even 1/4 of the way to our destination. I got uncomfortable thinking of all the days and weeks we still had to walk. 

It gets to be painful each day after some number of miles. My feet start to hurt, my neck aches; the weight of the backpack sends sharp pains shooting through my hips.

Today was the worst. I couldn’t decide whether I was growing weaker, or if it was the gloomy weather, or if I just hadn’t  recovered from yesterday’s 23 mile walk.

By the time we reached Castro Urdiales last night, I couldn’t keep from breaking into fits of hysterical laughter that I felt were coming from my butt.

Ty the Marine called it going internal:

“When you’re just so miserable and exhausted that you don’t feel pain anymore. You just start doing crazy things.”

Our first, delirious views of the city as we arrived in Castro Urdiales


Getting lost in Bilbao two days ago was another exhausting experience. As much as I was looking forward to seeing Bilbao, walking through cities isn’t nearly as enjoyable as it is in the country. Walking on the pavement feels endless, and there are too many people (who don’t even wish you a Buen Camino. Jerks.) and too little signage.

But a place worth revisiting.

We’ve been meaning to celebrate our 100 “milestone” with wine or ice cream or something, but we haven’t had the time or the energy, or the whatever it takes to drink wine and eat ice cream.

We’ve been on a steady diet of bread and butter, fruit and vegetables, almonds, olives, canned tuna and tea. This way we only spend 5-10 euro a day on food.

The accommodations are cheap too. Last night we stayed in a donativo and paid 5 euro. It wasn’t my favorite place; the bathrooms were dirty, and, you know, we slept under the kitchen table (granted, our fault). But otherwise, they’ve all been between 12-16 euro and pretty great.

Lolita walked with us for about a mile until her owner had to drive onto the trial to find her.

Inaki ran our hostel in Meakaur. He’s in the yard here with his dog Lolita.

The backyard of Inaki’s hostel in Meakaur

Today we actually got to our hostel in a city called Laredo before 5pm. It’s called El Buen Pastor. The women who run it wear long skirts and stockings and modest black shoes. They grip our arms tightly as they give us a tour of the place and rattle off instructions in Spanish.

Kitchen, bathroom, shower, toilet. Take the sheets and pillowcases off the beds before you leave. Leave the towel on the floor. Leave the key on the table in the morning. Be quiet, people are sleeping. Be out by 7:30.

There’s a picture of Jesus hung on the wall across from our beds. Everything is spotless.


Day 8: Westside Highway

One thought on “Day 8: Westside Highway

  1. Oh gee, I didn’t know you were going to Bilbao one of the greatest collection of Picasso in the world…he lived and work not far from there before he passed.

    As Roy Rodgers would say : Happy Trails

    Don’t Agonize Organize!


    Liked by 1 person

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