Camino Norte 1
I can hear the pitter patter of heavy rain drops on corrugated plastic ever before I wake up, in another strange bed, in a room full of strangers, with strange dreams echoing through my brain.
It is dark and I quietly pack my bag before I step out of the alburgue into the rivered streets. Santander feels unfriendly and cold, the rain seems to want to wash me backwards, my sense of “a mistake” is strong, why did I leave the familiar for this cold place, this long unfriendly road.
I think of other cities, London, Rome, Barcelona places I have an affinity for and feel the play of emotion in my mind. Of course I feel at home in those places, I have an emotional attachment, to people yes, but also the resonant memories of these cities sits comfortably with me, I know the streets there I know the places and the rules, here my sense of detachment from people is heightened and pronounced by my not knowing the place and thereby my place within the city…
Who am I here?
With these thoughts, I head on through the rain until I reach a cafe where I drink coffee and eat a little, it is 7.30 the clock is ticking while I drink my coffee and the locals drink laced laced with brandy or augmented with a glass of wine my mood lifts a little, the rules here are different of course I will feel out of place…
The rain does not let up and by the time I leave the protection of Santanders buildings my whole body is soaked, I battle on but it is not easy, I dry out several times only to be soaked again in and endless cosmic slapstick at my expense.
At one point I ask the gods if they are trying to kill me or at the very least stop me moving and with a curse shout that I will not be stopped. five minutes later I am sheltering huddled under the awning of an empty shop which, closed by hard economic reality is “se vende” with nothing else in it’s windows.
Pressing on into the countryside I am rewarded with sunshine to dry me and my first view of the blue sea coast, after many wrong turns and invisible way marks I miraculously find myself in the tiny hamlet of Polanco, where the smallest alburgue offers me the luxury of my own room for the first time in over two weeks, I sleep very well.