Cigüenza 🇪🇸 Santander

Cigüenza 🇪🇸 Santander

Once again a night without hearing gunshot 🔫 I’m nevertheless vacating the more mountainous plateau and descending to the Erbo reservoir. Nice easy riding.

I arrive in Ahedo de las Pueblas for the customary tent drying and second breakfast. I’m also greeted by a small family of cattle 🐄🐄🐄 roaming through. They bobbed their heads at the stranger, saw he was no harm and sauntered off … locals! Again, with all these hamlets/villages a water 🚰 point isn’t too far away.

As I’m well ahead of my schedule for the ferry and still leaving plenty of time in Santander to find somewhere for a PCR test 🙄 I decide to spend a couple of days skirting the reservoir. I’m off the rural back roads and onto heavier trafficked roads. Well, heavy for these parts, still quiet by normal standards.

As the day moved on and I’ve filled up my water carriers for the evening, I struggled to discover a spot to pitch up. Signs abound telling me otherwise … ‘No 🛑 Camping’! I even came across what I believe was a hostel. All boarded up with a vast chain on the gate. Also a couple of big feral 🐕🐕 dogs roaming free. I didn’t hang around!

The spot I did select, though, I wouldn’t say was the best. A narrow road was above me, and as a car went past (rarely, though) it constantly felt like it was going to come on top of me. You can’t win them all!

After a broken nights sleep I was out early from my terrible camp spot. Back across a bridge and 10 minutes later tent drying and second breakfast on the go!

I’m not a horsey 🐴 person but as I passed one surveying me over a wall I had to go over and say hi … really was the mostly friendly animal. I’ll always recall our brief encounter.

More friendliness was also found in the little store in Bolmir. The proprietor was ever so helpful. I practised my limited Spanish and he replied with way better English! Strange how all this friendliness makes an area seem so much more pleasant 😊Circumnavigating the reservoir is altogether pleasant. Again, the weather holding out too.

I pass through Erija. I pick up and an ice lolly in a small store. It must be a lolly thing as not the best service! Perhaps I’ll stop buying Magnums 🍦 now! Town is very touristy with its reservoir beaches, so I’m soon heading out!

I’d seen on Maps.me a picnic site in Virus hamlet. Every so often these places offer a good wild camp spot. I wasn’t disappointed. Close to the village, no dogs or roosters, with a stream 🚱 nearby for my cooking.

I knew the next day there would be a climb out north from the reservoir. After my stop for tent drying, before I knew it I’m soon over the climb ⛰️ The descent was something else. Clearly, central Spain must sit on a high plateau? I spent the next two hours leisurely descending the 1.5km in elevation (yes height). I’ve never dropped this far before in such a short distance. I’m not so convinced about going back up. I think I’d require a full day for that!

My lunch stop is in the grounds of the school in Alceda. I also take the opportunity to telephone (a WhatsApp phone call feature) a friend in Perth 🇦🇺 Some people are so lucky!

I’m back on a Vias Verde. A lot more urbanised, now.

Next search for a camp spot. Well, this turned into a right palaver! The route was now urbanised and anything near was out of the question. Along with all the excursions I extend from the greenway it inevitably becomes uphill or in some cases feels like pushing up a wall 🧱 I give up with the off-greenway routes and settle to carry on towards Santander and take it from there. After what seems like forever, I plonk myself late on the edge of a freshly harvested (hay) field and just prey I’m away from the barking dog 🐕 It’s already turning twilight as I erect my ‘friends’ tent 🎪 I never like been this late. So quick everything to get into my ‘friends’ sleeping bag 🛏️ as the temperature is starting to fall. Bar-humbug!

The night was briefly interrupted with a barking dog but otherwise not too bad. As I felt I was stealth camping in a farmers field, I wasted no time after a coffee ☕ to pack up and leave (can’t say I was any quicker than normal!). It didn’t take me long by the time I was back on the greenway heading for Santander to find a bench for the tent drying and 2nd coffee shenanigans.

From here to Santander it’s all very flat. I’m now in the suburbs, skirting round the waters edge and the airport 🛫 towards the coastal city.

Looking at Maps.me and booking.com I target a hostel and head directly for it. Turned out an excellent choice. Once more, I asked for a price direct instead of going though booking.com, and yes as previously, I got it cheaper 💶 Pays to ask … Pension El Figón

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