Day 18, Camino del Norte – Amandi to Gijon 27.2 km

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Total distance 502.4 km
Daily average 27.9
Today’s accumulated uphill elevation 562 m
Today’s accumulated downhill elevation 577 m

I think I said that there were ten beds at Albergue Ferreria – there are actually 12. I wandered around the surrounding area after visiting the village bar and before supper and here is a montage of the delights. Supper was as I predicted – lentil soup, salad (without pasta!) and yoghurt, with plenty of bread and wine. Sitting around the table were:
5 French
3 Germans
1 Italian
1 Slovakian
Me
And our charming hospitalero Sergio.

This has been my favourite albergue because of the tranquil and kind atmosphere. It is possible to phone ahead and reserve your bed – tel 646 516 846, email alberguelaferreria@hotmail.com

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I was glad my French/Italian friends, and of course Gunter were all staying here, because this morning it was time to say goodbye. We shared the Camino del Norte for just 1.5 kms before it split for the way of the Primitivo. We all hugged and posed for a parting photo. I was very lucky to share time with these guys and I have become Facebook friends with the beautiful Zelinda (what a fabulous name) so we will be able to keep in touch.

Gilbert, Gunter, Pascual, me and Zelinda

Gilbert, Gunter, Pascual, me and Zelinda

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And then it was time for a new stage of this Camino adventure, and I happily strode off in the same direction as the three remaining French that I have shared stages with over the last couple of days.

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There was a lot more elevation today than of late, with an absolutely never-ending climb through woodland tracks and minor roads. Then of course the inevitable descent deep into the valley and, you guessed it – back up the other side. I enjoyed a rather breathless telephone conversation with my daughter who has been away ‘off grid’ since before I started walking, and there was lots of catching up to do sharing our respective adventures. I have Ella to thank for my interest (¿obsession?) with the Camino. It all started when she invited me to join her walking the Camino Frances back in 2013, at which time I had done no pleasure walking. 3,575 camino kms later (and countless hundreds more walking in the mountains around my home ) I am still pounding the camino trails.

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I would think the walking today was 50:50 hard v dirt tracks, although it may have been more like 60:40 with the walk into the city.

During the last few days I have seen a huge road-kill massacre of cold-blooded creatures, namely lizards and frogs, who have met an untimely end whilst crossing the roads, presumably with the intention of ensuring the continuation of their species (if only they could have foretold the result of these primal urges). I sadly walked past many pairs of squashed copulating frogs and the flattened lizards were spaced at regular intervals for more distance than I like to recall.

I was also moved to tears today by the plight of a very, very sad little dog. I didn’t take a photo because I didn’t want the image to stay with me for longer than necessary. I was passing by and admiring a beautifully planted garden when I encountered this sorrowful guy on a raised platform, so that he and my head were about the same height. He craved attention, he was wriggling at the very edge of the wall, looking at me with beautiful sad eyes, ginger in colour – the same as his coat should have been. But it was not ginger. He had a thick, long coat and the hair on his ears was clumped into dreadlocks coated in either excrement or mud, his body hair was felted into lumps. He was on a chain and was surrounded by gnawed bones. I petted him for a very long time and dispaired that someone who could put so much time and effort into making such a beautiful garden could leave this delightful creature to suffer in such a way. Totally heartless.

The next creature I came across was performing a very interesting trick. She was really interested in me and put her nose out to be petted, and then proceeded to lick the inside of her nostrils, repeatedly, first left, then right, for as long as I stood there. Is this normal cow behaviour? Henk, do you know?

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Although I passed a couple of bars en route, they were firmly closed. It was not until a few km’s out of Gijon that I found one open, after around 22 kms. So anyone walking this route, don’t imagine that when your guidebook mentions that a village has a bar, that it will actually be open to serve you.

The inexpensive accommodation on this stage is some distance before Gijon that would make for a very long walk tomorrow, which I don’t want. So I kept walking into the city, assuming I would come across an information office where I could be told of cheap hostals. I didn’t find one, and my iPad data allowance had run out so I couldn’t Google. I called into a hotel to ask for a map and discovered that a single room would cost 35 euros, and decided to stay. I’m sure I could have found a better priced place to stay, but my feet were aching and I didn’t want to wander around with my backpack, so just went for it. And I have treated myself to a bath. The last bath I had was at the end of my first Camino in 2013. I almost fell asleep. And kept topping up with hot water. The freedom of a private room is quite liberating when you are used to always being discrete and considering others’ needs as well as your own. I have spent a couple of hours thinking only about myself and have very wrinkly toes as a result. A small price to pay I think!

I wandered around the old quarter of Gijon for a while and found a shop in the commercial centre to top up my data sim and then did a bit of shopping for supper and tomorrow’s journey. The sun put in its first appearance at around 8pm – a welcome, if rather belated sight.

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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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11 Responses to Day 18, Camino del Norte – Amandi to Gijon 27.2 km

  1. Buen Camino! Enjoy that relaxing room to yourself!

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  2. Stephen Fox says:

    Maggie,

    The answer is yes, cows often lick their noses in the way you described and photographed. Especially when they have colds.

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  3. Henk Slabbekoorn says:

    Indeed, a cow likes to put her tongue in her nose. I have seen it very often and on the internet are lots of pictures showing that behaviour.

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  4. A luxurious soak in the tub does a body good. The cow made me laugh out loud.
    Stunning pictures as always, Maggie. Thank you for sharing. Hope the hotel overnight did you a lot of good and your feet are behaving. 🙂 ❤

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  5. Nadine says:

    Uncharted territory for me (I peeled off to the Primitivo last year), so I’ll be anxious to read about your adventures on this section. I’m heading back to do this part in July, and I have a feeling your blog will provide me with invaluable insight. So glad you enjoyed the room and bath!!

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  6. sixwheeler says:

    Cows: yes, don’t worry about them licking their nostrils, they do it all the time. Don’t let them lick yours though as their tongues are VERY rough.

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  7. sandyleone2404 says:

    The cow pictures were just what I needed after reading about the poor little dog. I can’t understand how some people treat such dear creatures so badly. Shame on them! All the way to Gijon now, way to go Maggie!

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  8. Gracethepilgrim says:

    Hi Maggie, I think it’s been said above but I’d love to re-iterate about the sad dog story – hoe inhumane some people are. I am sure you felt helpless to intervene but gtateful that you could at least give it some much needed love.
    Enjoy your continued travels on the Norte and I look forward to your wonderful story-telling. Cheers, Grace

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  9. mary lynch says:

    Dear Maggie your photos are getting better and better! The bad treatment of animals is the one thing I hate about living in Spain but they are getting better (The Spanish, I mean.) Saying goodbye to your travelling companions must have been a little sad but I suppose you are used to doing it on the Camino and perhaps it gets easier?Buen Camino xxx

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  10. Joanne King says:

    I saw some very sad dogs between St Jean and Valcarlos last fall, in a similar situation to the one you describe. There were no houses nearby. They were caged on the edge of a very steep slope beside the road. One was all tangled with its chain so it could hardly move. I did take pictures. I wonder if there is anything one can do to help them?

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