Walking the Camino Day 6 Bilbao to Portugalete:

The Day We Went on a Camino Pub Crawl:

Our guide book advised us that this stretch of the Camino del Norte was boring and ugly, so we did what most people do when they go on a long walk…we put it in Google Maps!

By going off of “The Way,” we took a more direct route that allowed us to sleep in a bit (let’s be honest, we needed that after our Day 5 night out!) and allowed us to see a bit more of Bilbao. We strolled along the riverwalk next to the beautiful Nervión River for much of the day, taking in the views of the Bilbao Guggenheim Museum and the kayakers paddling away beneath us.

You, Will, Get to Know Your Body

A major lesson learned on the Camino is that you will definitely get to know your body. There was more than one reason that I needed to take a more direct route on this day. Beyond the night out before, I found at this point on my pilgrimage that I had to go to the bathroom about every 45 minutes.

Since the official route was going to take us a longer way but not necessarily through wooded areas where it’s easy to duck behind a bush, I needed to stay in civilization this day. The result was a café walk turned pub crawl by the end of the day.

This allowed me to stop at a bathroom and rest my aching feet, which had officially developed the first set of blisters that would haunt me for the next couple of weeks.

The Needle-and-Thread-Trick Really Works!

The second lesson we would learn on this day is that the tip we learned from our fellow pilgrims about threading blisters really works! What in the heck do I mean by threading a blister? I mean if a blister is filled with fluid, the best way to remove that fluid is to take a sanitized needle with a bit of thread all the way through it. Pull it through, let it drain, but leave the thread. This way, it won’t fill up again. Bandage up that blister and feel the relief!

I did this at one of our café stops. Which is another thing: When we first set out, we wouldn’t take our shoes off at a public place. Forget it. Take your shoes off at every opportunity. Maybe don’t walk around inside with the shoes off, but still, take them off. Always.

We thought we were going to take a long bridge to the other side of the river and Old Town Portugalete, but there was a man waiting to shuffle us onto a ferry. We paid our euro (80 cents actually, but we gave the helpful man our change) and, on the other side of the river, we found ourselves right back on The Way.

After a flat, easy walk along the river all day, we laughed as we started immediately climbing uphill to get to our albergue in Portugalete. We had learned at this point that our bed will always be at the top of a hill!

After an easy dinner in Old Town, we were refreshed and ready to get back on the trails.

Closing Thoughts Video

Lessons Learned:

  1. You will get to know your body very well. It will do things to you that you don’t expect. But you will learn its intricacies.
  2. Take needle and thread for your blisters. True story. It works.
  3. Take your shoes off at every opportunity.
  4. Your bed will always be at the top of a hill. Always.

Tips from a Post-Camino Perspective:

  1. You don’t always have to stay on The Way. You can go your own way at times and still be walking the Camino.


Map of Camino del Norte
We are just passed the yellow dot of Bilbao – about halfway to Onton

Stage Miles: 12.5

Actual Miles Walked: 11 (17.7 kilometers)

Bus forward Miles: 0

Total Miles Walked So Far: 78 (126 kilometers)

Next up: Day 7 Portugalete to Pobeña

Thinking of walking the Camino de Santiago? Save for later!

View from the camino

1 Comments on “Walking the Camino Day 6 Bilbao to Portugalete:”

  1. Pingback: Walking the Camino Day 6: Mendata to Guernica to Bilbao | The Lens of Jen

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