Saturday 18th July, Bilbao to Probeño, 31.2 km.
Repacked and on our way by the crack of noon. Left via the tourist office but they had no info about accommodation later along the camino; their information was for the Basque region which we are just leaving for Cantabria. We followed the right bank (on the right of the river going downstream, of course), across from the Guggenheim, through industrial and ship loading and unloading areas.
Quite pleasant. Then we saw the transporter bridge to get across to the left bank. An interesting piece of engineering: a suspension bridge of sorts, with a ‘car’ suspended from cables. This car moves across the river, carrying vehicles, pedestrians and, of course, cycles.
We sheltered for a while from a heavy rainstorm (the first wet we’ve had) and then climbed easily through the town of Portugalete. Easily because there are moving walkways, like the ones that speed up progress in airports, going uphill. Good thing, too, since it is pretty steep. After the requisite number of wrong turns we found a cycle path that runs all the way to Probeño. Even so, I managed to miss a turn and we went off route and had to retrace our way for a couple of kilometres.
At the beach of La Arenas, the route followed boardwalks across the beach to footbridge to Probeño, where we found the albergue full. The lady there took us across the square to apartamentos above a classy bar/restaurant where there was a suite for 60€; more than we wanted to spend but a bed is a bed.
Sunday 19th July, Probeño – Castro Urdiales, 17.7 km (Wow!)
There was wifi so I tried to do some blog work but it was incredibly slow, making me nostalgic for the days of dial-up. It was 2:00 am before I fell asleep. Bev was moving around 7:30 (when I should have been surfacing) but it took me much longer to get vertical. Breakfasted in the bar downstairs on three pinchos and a coffee; hardly the breakfast of champions but it does seem difficult to get a satisfying breakfast in Spain.
The route to a very nice coastal path started very cruelly. 119 steps. This required two trips, the first with our bags and the second with our bikes. But the concrete path, although crowded with holidaymakers, had great views. We were passed by a couple of lightly-loaded mountain-bikers who asked Bev to take a picture of them.
We dropped down to Muñios along the N634, then climbed up again and down again with the temperature on my Garmin showing 41°C (this was in the sun; the breeze felt cooler and reasonable). We went into Case Urdiales and almost out the other side before coming to the albergue. Which, again, was full although is was still quite early. We could pitch our tent so it seemed a good place to spend the night since the news was that there were only 8 places left at the next alburgue and I’d already seen four people walking on. No reservations possible.