A shortish walk out of Santander brought us to a great hostel in Boo de Pielagos, where we were going to be joined by our friends Bea, Marcus, Alex and Lizzie. The next morning, the sun beckoned us on in the blue sky, the roads of Cantabria hummed with the weekend routines of lawnmowers, hedge trimmers and leaf blowers. We all watched entranced as a demented lawnmower bot pottered around in a neverending circle, about a metre across, whilst an enormous lawn stretched out beyond.

Cantabria had a distinct suburban twist – villages had neat ranks of new builds, farms were tidy and well behaved, none of the peasant ramshackleness of the Basque country. Camino paths were along roads, albeit mostly quiet country lanes.

Our destination, Santillana del Mar, ironically a medieval town transformed into picturesque tourist venue only in the last twenty years, had reminders of a more rustic past. The sun shone all day.

A long but picturesque day followed, a beach was picnic-ed on, the sea swam in, streams and rivers were crossed and recrossed, views admired, until eventually our berth for the night hove into view in the once exclusive resort of Comillas.

A leisurely morning followed, taking in a tour of an early Gaudi house, before we parted from our friends (a forty minute taxi ride covering two days walking!). They’d brought glorious weather, great company, and a much needed boost to our reserves of morale.

It was great to share an adventure.