Santander to Mansilla

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A gentle easterly pushed us out of Santander west along the Camino del Norte, considered by many to be the prettiest of the Caminos that pilgrims follow to Santiago de Compostella. A cloudless sky, temperatures in the mid twenties and the anticipation of the open road combined to make this the ideal start to a cycle tour.

A longish day took us into Llanes via 1400 metres of climbing and descending, largely along the really quite attractive Atlantic coastline. This was a familiar route to me, as was the next stop at the Donkey Sanctuary in Arobes, where we stayed for the night and were treated to excellent food, friendly folk and beautiful Asturian views. A short visit unfortunately, since the Picos de Europa were calling. We studied the map to find the flatest route and we thought we’d succeeded, but in reality we’d failed. But what a spectacular failure. Jagged teeth climbing skywards flanked the valley road we pedalled. Before long we were heading up to where the clouds covered the peaks and where the sweat starts to flow. We spent the night wild camped near a mountain pass, sent to sleep by owls discussing territorial issues.

We reached the 1300 metre pass early this morning and had to pedal most of the way down the other side, but no complaints, it’s easy on the brake pads and we need the exercise.

Tonight we spend the night in an Albergue on the Camino in Mansilla, a town in the middle of the flatlands that stretch until the start of the Via de la Plata.

Thanks for dropping by. We’ll be adding some more pictures of the Picos soon.

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