Day 17, Camino del Norte – La Isla to Amandi (2km past Villaviciosa) 25.2 km

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Total distance 475.2km
Daily average 27.9
Today’s accumulated uphill elevation 335 m
Today’s accumulated downhill elevation 317 m

There were around 20 pilgrims in the albergue yesterday, but the night passed surprisingly peacefully.

Gunter and I set off around 7:15 and once again, although heavy rain was forecast, there was no sign of it and it remained that way all day.

Camino friendships are strange relationships. They just seem to happen – or not. I can’t remember when Gunter and I started sharing eachother’s company. I remember passing him on the way out of Bilbao (on my day 7) and speaking briefly, when he told me that was his first day walking. Coincidentally, although I was totally unaware of it at the time, we both stayed in the same hostal in Pobeña and he was at the albergue that depressed me in Islares when I moved on to the camping ground. But I don’t think I saw him to speak to until we both stayed at Guermes on day 10 and I think we walked some time together on day 12. And we have since spent five days on and off in eachother’s company. Nothing was ever planned that we should do this and there have been lots of other Germans on the trail that he would have found it easier to communicate with. But we just seem comfortable in eachother’s company, mostly in amiable silence but occasionally sharing a thought or a tale from a previous Camino. I will lose him as a walking buddy tomorrow and I will miss his quiet company. But that is the way of the Camino. Pilgrims come and pilgrims move on.

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Lazy Sunday afternoon

Tomorrow the trail splits. I will continue on el Norte, but Gunter, the French guys and lovely Zelinda will all peel off onto the Primitivo. I think many others will follow suit, which I think will make me happy – it seems we have caught up with some of the big wave of pilgrims who have been walking a stage ahead of us, and I really don’t like to be amongst so many. So although I will miss my friends, it will be the start of a new adventure for me. I may meet others that I get on with, or I may not. Vamos a ver!

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We stopped for breakfast at the first opportunity about 4 km out of La Isla in a town called Colunga. There were six or more pilgrims already having breakfast at the cafe, and it was apparent that they had stayed the night in the hostal above. It seemed a good place to stay, a vibrant small town with plenty of eating opportunities, unlike La Isla which had one cafe and a restaurant that was a long stretch out of the village.

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The next major town was Villaviciosa, something of a centre for the sidra (cider) trade and an area with an abundance of apple orchards and sidra distilleries. A nice town with a bit of a buzz on a Sunday afternoon, with everyone out for a stroll and lunch. We walked on through because yesterday Marina had told us of a new albergue that was not yet in any of the guides. Situated 2 km outside Villaviciosa and called Albergue La Ferreria. It is a donativo, there are ten beds, two bathrooms, nice garden, communal dinner and breakfast, and laundry is done in a communal wash.

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The trail today was probably around 75% paved, broken up along the way with tracks, some through woodland, some very muddy and steep. I took my time carefully picking my way through the slippery parts. Definitely don’t want a repeat fall. The fresh smells in the woods after the rain were lovely.

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I have no idea what these are, seen in the woods today – anyone know?

I also took the wrong way today for the first time in this Camino. I strode to the top of a very steep hill to a T-junction at the top. There was no indication which way to go, and as the signage has been so very good, I felt sure I had taken a wrong path. I knew there was someone walking 100 metres or so behind, so I waited to see if he turned up. He didn’t, so back down the hill I went and at the very bottom saw a very distinct arrow telling me to take a turn onto a track. I have no idea how I managed to miss it, but it was only a diversion of 300 or 400 metres so not much harm done.

About magwood

Trepidatious Traveller - camino blog is about preparing for and walking the Camino de Santiago. Many future pilgrims have found the blog useful and inspiring, and many who have no plans to walk the camino have simply enjoyed the dialogue http://www.magwood.me
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18 Responses to Day 17, Camino del Norte – La Isla to Amandi (2km past Villaviciosa) 25.2 km

  1. Henk Slabbekoorn says:

    The flower you asked about might be a species of Sarracenia, which traps flies.

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  2. The flowers are magnificent. The muddy tracks can’t be fun. Another good day without rain. Yay.

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  3. mary lynch says:

    Thrilled to hear you are not having rain Maggie. Although looking at the muddy tracks it is happening and you can smell it. The Camino angels must be working overtime on your behalf!!
    Adios Gunter but I’m sure you will meet someone else who is just as as nice and “easy company” I’m loving the blog. Buen Camino. xx

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  4. Miriam says:

    It is always sad to lose your camino “family”, the camaraderie of the Camino is often the thing one remembers most fondly. Loving your photos and blog. I look forward to seeing your new post pop up in my inbox..buen Camino👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻

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  5. Nikkiandben says:

    We walked our first camino in 2012 (Frances) and in 2013 after completing Frances again we caught a train to Irun and started walking the Norte but it was too much and we only managed 4 days. We have walked Frances every year since and thought it about time we tried the Norte again. We are thoroughly enjoying your blog and we start the Norte on Tuesday 17th May.

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  6. Thoroughly enjoying reading your blog and pictures. We moved from England in 2012 to Tenerife (Puerto de la Cruz) as we love the Spanish way of life. We walked Frances in 2012 and have repeated in every year since. This year we will walk Camino Norte and start from Irun on Tuesday 17th May.

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  7. Renate says:

    I am happy you are doing fine. Reading you every day as promissed and enjoying every word and picture of it! We are having loads of work and loads of rain. So enjoy the camino, the freedom it brings you snd the good camino angels…
    Renatexxx

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  8. Lisa W says:

    I wonder if Gunter has ever been to Kansas City? I met a German man named Gunter once, who was traveling for business in the States. He looks to be the right age and the face seems familiar too. I know Gunter is a very common name but didn’t want to miss the opportunity to ask.

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  9. Hi there, we are really enjoying reading your blog and seeing the lovely pictures. We walked Camino Frances in 2012 and have done it every year since. We are starting Camino Norte on Tuesday 17th May from Irun so it is interesting to read about each day as we will follow you along the way. Buen Camino 🙂

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  10. Susan Harris says:

    Hi Maggie. Following you most days with awe, have no idea how you keep going..Have recently joined the 60 club so lots of celebrations. Take care stay safe and best wishes. xx

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  11. Sorry about the numerous feedbacks, was not sure how this worked 🙂

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