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:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.