I have a lazy morning, which is rare for me. I drive to Comillas, which is the biggest town after Santander. Upon first arriving it seems very small. I then realise that I can see the see front and port only. The main part of the village is further back from the sea front. I park up and take a walk around. It is smaller than I thought, and much more traditional. The modern resorts of the Basque region had left an impression on me. I find the turismo and am told that there is a medical centre just down the road. It is only midday so I go back to the van and have lunch after stopping at the supermarket.
I notice the 3 people I was camped next to in the campsite at Santander are wandering through town. What a small world! At around 2pm I go to the medical centre. A guy at the reception speaks a little English, and we establish that I need the dressing checked. The lady books me in, but asks a few questions in Spanish that I cannot understand. We get done what we need too. I am told to wait for 15 minutes. After waiting the same guy returns from his break and leads me downstairs. I assume he is the doctor, he doesn’t look like one. Downstairs is identical to upstairs, but it is in darkness. All of the rooms are fitted, but unused. I have seen 4 members of staff in the building, but only 1 other patient and he seemed to be just getting an appointment for tomorrow. Either the medical system in Spain is more than adequate, or this town is over facilitated. Maybe they are having a quiet patch?
Anyway, the doctor removes my dressing. I ask if it is OK and he says yes. He cleans it, adds some dressing and a big round plaster type patch. It is very sticky and flexible. He says I can shower with it, but to be careful. He says to come back or see another doctor on Wednesday or Friday in English. I check in Spanish and he means Thursday or Friday. I thank him very much, and the other staff on the way out.
I am very glad that it is OK. Knowing the Spanish I do has helped enormously during my conversations with the medical staff. It is hard to imagine how much more difficult it would be without knowing what I do. I have been revising and learning more over the last few days, assuming I would need it.
I get back to the van. I have several days to kill, without going in the sea. The forecast is for some cloud, and even some showers. I have read about the Picos de Europa, the pinnacle of the surrounding maintains. I have read that there are many great walks there, as well as mountain biking and canoeing. There is a lodge owned by some English folk with skiing (in season) and canoeing. This tempts me. The guide book says the price is cheap, but this could be more than I am used to.
I drive towards the mountains, hoping that the roads will be better than some of the ones I have taken around coastal areas recently. Some of these roads have aged my van. The road starts great and slowly gets smaller and slower, but never gets really bad. I wind up the mountain, with the view ever getting better. I reach the town of Potes after about 1.5 hours. I have a quick look as I drive through. It seems bigger than I expected. I drive through and notice a sign with distances to various campsites. I drive towards the nearest which is just 1km away. I check in, mostly in Spanish and find a pitch. The views are amazing. The campsite is excellent the facilities are great and the buildings are beautiful, in an old style. It would be silly to ruin the atmosphere of the view with modern predictable buildings.
I take a drive and walk through the town. Most of the shops are souvenir shops which surprises me. Very few are selling walking related equipment. I am interested in buying a new sleeping bag as mine has a broken zip and a few tears. I cannot find any shops of interest though. I think a big city supermarket would be cheaper anyway. I find several small supermarkets and stock up on supplies.
I get back to the campsite and decide to give the van a good spring cheap inside. I rearrange the cupboards, clean all of the surfaces, including the floor, and give the cab a good clean. Before I know it, it is 8pm and the sun is setting. I have my first shower in several days, because of my dressing, and relax for the evening. I toy with the idea of driving to Madrid, as I have several days to kill. But I would like to party in Madrid, and stay for several days. With my medication I cannot drink, and I do not have enough days before my check-up. Maybe I will do this when there is a lull in the waves, or later in my trip, when in the south east.