Another dry start to the day. The walking was on the road or the first 8 km, once out of Pola de Lena the road was quiet, but what traffic there was whizzed by at speed. The worst offenders seem to be the buses that barely give breathing room when they pass. Car drivers are much more considerate and the occasional lorry slowed right down and gave a wide berth.
We made a gradual descent and swapped the road for a riverside path that was much in use by local walkers. We stopped in the town of Mieres at 13 km for a hot drink, and when we got back on the road the fun began with a continual and steep ascent of almost 400 m over 3 km, by which time we had walked over 20 km entirely on asphalt. There was then a brief respite of 500 metres on a soft track and then back on the road for a few more km, descending even more steeply than we had gone up, and then, would you believe it, we were back on the up and up, and up even more, and then down, and then back up and down (just take a look at today’s elevation profile!)
My body heat matched almost identically the rise and fall of the walk. Stripping off and covering up depending on the exertion required. The rain came and went and came and went. In the end I just remained stripped down to sleeveless T-shirt and enjoyed the rain as it cooled me down. And the benefit of rain is my opportunity to take some raindrop pics when it stopped and the sun came back out.
Overall probably 7/8’ths of the walk was on hard surface and even some of the tracks were also on hard stones, so a bit of a slog. But on a positive note the blisters have abated and my feet are generally feeling good.
We arrived at the albergue in Oviedo after 31.8 km. It was a bit of a surprise to find the huge albergue behind an anonymous ‘hole in the wall’ type door where we rung a bell and the door was magically opened by a hospitalera some 50 metres away. The Albergue de Peregrinos de El Salvador is huge with 50 places spread over various rooms, some with multiple bunks and others with fewer single beds. We two mature peregrinas were allocated a room with two singles and our very own wash basin. There are separate male and female loos and showers, plenty of each, a dining room with fridge and microwave and utensils provided, and a washing machine and tumble dryer. 6 euros.
As we have today completed our second camino, the San Salvador (from León to Oviedo) we could claim a completion certificate, a Salvadorana. This is available either from the albergue or the cathedral. We opted for the cathedral and the normal entry charge of 7 euros(!) is waived for pilgrims, but there is a charge of 4 euros for the certificate and protective tube.
Just after we left for the cathedral the heavens opened and emptied their contents upon us. Our first real soaking in the 500 km since we left Madrid. Not bad going.
We bought food (and cava) for supper and I ate a lovely healthy salad to compensate for the rather less healthy alcohol intake.
We’re expecting more rain tomorrow, but we’re hoping that the forecast is wrong again. No harm in wishful thinking!
Today’s distance 35 km (including walk to and around the cathedral)
Accumulated uphill elevation 515 m
Accumulated downhill elevation 607 m
Total distance 535 km
Average per day 26.7 km