Stage 19 – Pajares to Pola de Lena, 28 km

The day dawned a little rainy and overcast and with gusty wind. We are due to descend over 1,000 metres on this stage and I reasoned that downhill walking required great care but little exertion, and so I wouldn’t be getting too heated from within. I therefore decided to wear even more clothes today. Almost everything I have with me, including fleece and gaiters.

And I have to say, I’m really rocking this “wear all the clothes you’ve got”
look (ie…I look a total idiot but don’t actually give a toss).

Immediately on leaving the village the descent was extremely severe – 250 metres in the first 1.7 km. then we gained 150 metres, and then we dropped another huge amount – and this set the pattern for the day. Down a lot, (i) up quite a bit, certainly enough to get the lungs working overtime, down another ridiculous descent…repeat from (i) many, many times. A total rollercoaster of a walk. Much of it along narrow woodland paths on the very edge of a steep drop to the bottom of the bottomless valley, some of it along very quiet country roads, most often with the views hidden by the trees, and occasionally opening up to a breath-taking view of the surrounding mountains.

We woke this guy up from his early morning slumber

The rain actually held off and we received no more than a light splutter for a few brief moments. But I wouldn’t want to walk the trail if there had been substantial rain – I imagine it would be alternately very slippery on wet stones, or very slippery in wet mud. As it was, there were frequent muddy sections where animals and mountain bikers (I resist making a connection!) had been in evidence and there were several narrow streams to cross.

I was delighted to see more wild flowers today, including many roses, geraniums, aquilegia, gypsophila, clematis, honeysuckle and best of all, wild strawberries which we were very quick to put to good use.

We came across a few gates that had openings suitable for very skinny children, and not at all suitable for grown-ups carrying backpacks – a lot of squeezing and tugging was involved before we could make our way into the next section of trail.

We took our first wrong turn today – I guess not bad over 500 km of walking – but unfortunately it happened on the steepest imaginable descent so we had to turn around and climb back up and retrace our steps for quite some way, adding a total of around 1.5 km to the stage.

The first refreshments available after leaving Pajares are in the town of Campomanes, some 16.5 km (or 18 + if you make the same mistake that we did), so it would be prudent to have a snack available en route. And then it is a further 8-ish km to Pola de Lena where we are staying the night.

The albergue here is situated in a municipal building and has 36 beds, more loos and showers than I could be bothered to count, but no kitchen or sitting area. Very clean, wifi available, 7 euros.

A hard day, but extremely pleasant, and should have been around 25 km rather than the 28 km we walked, as we didn’t pay attention to our guide regarding the whereabouts of the albergue and almost walked out of the far end of the very long town of Pola de Lena before we realised our mistake and doubled back (yet again)

Today’s distance 28 km
Accumulated uphill elevation 366 m (but it felt like a lot more!)
Accumulated downhill elevation 1,043 m
Total distance 500.3 km
Average per day 26.3 km

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
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10 Responses to Stage 19 – Pajares to Pola de Lena, 28 km

  1. Wearing everything and being comfortable means you have packing exactly the right clothes!


  2. Lovely photo of the pre-Romanesque church. Was it this one:

    Did you go inside? Dont miss the famous ones near Oviedo!


  3. meg says:

    Loving this trip…and walking it with you…Thank you for the wonderful and beautiful photos!!!


  4. Mary Lynch says:

    Morning Maggie and well done on a very impressive day. I can see why you had a sleepless night worrying about whether it would rain. I imagine the trail would have been almost impossible if it had been raining. Excellent photos as ever. Loved the cows and the calf. I guess wearing all your clothes helps with the weight of your backpack. Much love and buen camino.xx


  5. sixwheeler says:

    It looks absolutely stunning and wild strawberries are always a bonus.


  6. Juliet says:

    I am walking at the end of September, please tell me what kind of shoe it boots that can take the mud, rain and stay dry through out the whole walk? Or do you carry another pair of shoes or boots? Thank you!


  7. Amanda de Klerk says:

    Well done on a challenging day! Lovely pics! You seemed to effortlessly manage the ups and downs by now. But wrong turns on hard days are no fun. Buen Camino!


  8. maxpatbuch says:

    Wow! Gorgeous photos but sounds like a very challenging day.


  9. Susan says:

    Great photo’s Maggie. Enjoying your blog, we fly out tomorrow so hope to catch up before we leave again. For some reason whenever I read your blog the Proclaimers jump into my head, anyway thought I would share that piece of nonsense with you. Xx


  10. lynharrison4wind says:

    High entertainment photos and high on pictorial content, too. How are the blisters?


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