As a result of cycling and walking some of the Camino del Norte, I then thought a spot of volunteering mightn't go amiss and so I opted to spend a couple of weeks working in a pilgrim refuge on the Camino del Norte route.
Pilgrims came in all forms and were travelling the Camino for many different reasons.
It was a very worthwhile experience (even though it meant getting up at 6am to serve breakfast at 7; getting to bed at midnight; 2 hours of down time at lunchtime. Otherwise, pretty much full on. Not a holiday; but very interesting.
I kept a tally of pilgrim nationalities, counting 44 in just the 2 weeks! Wow!
Camino del Norte revisited
Towards the end of my cycle trip I travelled the Camino del Norte from Santiago to Santander.
On the northern coast, I passed through Comillas.
For such a small place, it boasts a university, a palace, a castle, and, most significantly, El Capricho de Gaudi, one of his early designs and, I believe, one of only three outside Catalunia. It is very elaborate on the outside and hugely impressive.
Cobreces to Comillas
On my trip, I stayed in Cobreces in a albergue attached to a monastery. The monk who 'welcomed' the pilgrims was one of the most unwelcoming hospitaleros I'd come across.
For this trip, my companion and I were walking the pilgrim stage from Cobreces to Comillas. We took the bus to Cobreces and started from the same refuge. I couldn't believe it when we encountered the same monk as 9 years ago - and he was still as unwelcoming as ever!
The 7-mile walk was very pretty and not too taxing :-)