Last Saturday, with remarkably pleasant fall weather, Amanda and I embarked on another day hike, to Santoña’s Monte Buciero. The town of Santoña is about 3 miles from Laredo as the crow flies; it’s basically visible from our apartment. That being said, it normally wouldn’t require more than 10 minutes in a car to get there. However, we are still carless, and had to instead rely on local public transportation. What should have been a pleasant 10 minute drive across the wetlands separating Laredo and Santoña turned into a 45 minute crowded bus ride (I just don’t understand Europe’s obsession with collective transportation). After stopping about 10 times in route, we finally arrived in Santoña, where we could easily see across the bay to Laredo. We thought, “Wow!, we could have walked that in less time than the bus ride took. Laredo is so close!”
Once on the ground, we forgot about the inefficient and overpriced bus system and made our way to Monte Buciero to begin our hike. We opted to take a 4 hour loop around the mountain that was marked “dificultad baja” (low dificulty). At 12.5 kilometers in distance, we thought it was going to be a piece of cake.
In reality, the route was much more difficult than advertised, at least by American standards. We had expected a ring route that would be mainly flat. Instead, we were ascending and descending for nearly the entire time. The most memorable part of the hike was a lighthouse detour only accessible by 600 stone steps. If it hadn’t been for the metal chain that served as a hand rail, it would have been a very dangerous descent.
After seeing the lighthouse and making a nearly vertical ascent back to the main trail, we continued on our path back to Santoña. Once we arrived back at the base of the mountain, we realized that we had just missed the bus to Laredo. The next one would not leave for another 2 hours hours and it would take an additional 45 minutes once aboard. It would seem that we would have been stuck in Santoña, but alas, we found a faster way. There is a ferry that travels the straight between Santoña and Laredo, and for 1.70 euros, will drop you off on the other side. The ferry ride is about 2 minutes long and travels no further than 50 yards to Laredo’s western beachhead. While not a good price for such a short journey (a Spanish lady on the boast shouted, “It costs a fortune!”), the ferry saved us at least 2 hours in getting home.
Once on the Laredo side of the beach we still had about a 35 minute walk to our apartment. While not ideal, we both valued the liberty to walk at our own pace more than waiting for a bus. All in all, we rounded out the day at about 18 kilometers walking. While not the most spectacular hiking we have experienced, it was certainly good exercise and great to be outdoors.