We arrived at Santander airport and decided instead of heading into Santander to catch the bus to Bilbao, we would wait just over an hour for the direct bus. I booked the seats the night before and am glad I did as the bus was full and a girl we had been waiting with had to wait for the next one. Get your tickets at Alsa bus.
Bilbao is pretty big and having stayed in the Bilbao Metropolitan Hostel the previous year I was confident to return here instead of heading to one of the recommended hostels from the Camino apps and forums.
We headed out to find some dinner and quickly got into an area that felt quite unsafe and one I definitely wouldn’t have ventured into alone. When we spotted numerous police cars and officers we knew it was time to about turn and head closer to the hostel.
Our first walk was going to be a short- ish one so there was no need to set an alarm. If you’ve ever stayed in a hostel you’ll know a group of people in one room doesn’t allow for much restful sleep between the midnight showers and constant movement throughout the night.
After breakfast we were off towards Portugalete. Those Pilgrims who complete the whole route usually catch the metro as the walk isn’t very scenic, running through the industrial areas of Bilbao, but for us it was a nice first day warm up.
We passed through the centre of the city and past the Guggenheim museum, crossed over to the other side of the water and followed it the whole way to our destination.
On arrival in Getxo, we had to get tickets @ €0.45 each for ‘ el Transbordador’, a hanging ferry to get across to Portugalete.
We climbed what felt like a mountain to our hostel Bide Ona and later found out we could have used the moving walkway.
We headed to the outdoor municipal pool to catch some rays, made some healthy dinner and said ‘bonne nuit’.
All in all pretty uneventful first day. Got to dig up some school girl french to chat to our dorm room partners.