Twenty pilgrims, two toilets – not a good ratio! I rose early for a brief visit before too many people were moving around and then waited until most had done their business before I attended to mine. Timing is everything!
We four made a leisurely start, stopping off at the bar for breakfast before setting off, by which time almost every pilgrim in town was on the road. We are all finding it a bit of a strain to have so many people around us when previously the highest number in any albergue on the Camino de Madrid had been six.
Still flat and straight, but the tracks are narrow, running alongside the road. There are a couple of adobe ruins in a freshly ploughed field and they are hardly distinguishable due to the precise match of colour – the colour of mud!
We can see the outline of the Picos de Europa ahead, giving us a reminder that tomorrow we will set off on a new path, the Camino San Salvador, which will take us across the Picos towards the city of Oviedo.
Oviedo was an important destination for pilgrims of old. The cathedral was called Sancta Ovetensis owing to the quantity and quality of relics contained in the Cámara Santa (Holy Chamber), the chief feature of the cathedral containing the most precious relics of the Holy City. It was taken from Jerusalem to Africa, and after residing in several locations was finally placed at Oviedo by Alfonso II in the 16th century.
Until late this afternoon I hadn’t recognised any of the Camino Frances which I walked with my daughter Ella in 2012. But a section towards the end of this stage looked familiar, and tonight we are staying in the same albergue that I stayed with Ella.
Not many words today – not a very inspiring walk.
But we are staying at a lovely albergue, the San Pelayo. I booked ahead, single beds again in a room of eight. There are also two dorms of bunks, each with 16 places. It is actually very quiet here, no more than a dozen pilgrims. There are three showers, three loos and four washbasins. Lots of relaxing areas, a reasonable kitchen/diner, a restaurant for breakfast and dinner, a generous lounging area and a fab garden which we could take advantage of this afternoon. Our single beds are 10 euros – well worth it in my opinion.
Today’s distance 25.8 km
Accumulated uphill elevation 7 m
Accumulated downhill elevation 78 m
Total distance 390.4 km
Average per day 26 km