- Wednesday 1st October, 2014
- San Juan de Villapanada Albergue, €5
This morning started off different to any other walk I’ve done because sunrise isn’t until 8:20am and I didn’t want to walk up into the hills in the dark with all the Asturian bears and wolves! (And I met a Spanish pilgrim yesterday who told me I shouldn’t start until at least 7:45am because it’s too dark). So I left at 8am and it was still dark but Oviedo was busy with all the locals on their way to work and I could find my way with the street lamps.
I’m doing the number one thing you should never do on a camino – breaking in a new pair of shoes and insoles. After 3 pairs of Salomon shoes in 15 months I decided it was time to try a new brand so I tried on every pair of women’s and men’s shoes and found that a men’s pair of Merrell non waterproof with a Vibram sole were the most comfortable… So this is their test!
The arrows out of the city were good and soon I was walking up into the hills with the smells of the country – that sweet, sickly cow manure smell! I stopped quite a few times just to listen to the cows and horses with their bells on, it really is a lovely sound.
Within about 2 hours of setting off I had already met 4 other pilgrims, French and Spanish. I walked with Alfredo (Spanish) for a while and then when I stopped for my morning cafe Americano, I met Neil from Australia. Neil has also walked the same caminos I have and has the same plan as me on this trip to walk the Primitivo then Ingles, so we may be seeing each other quite a lot!
We had the same pace so we walked together, up and down the many hills, through the lovely tiny villages and passed at least a dozen other pilgrims. I saw more pilgrims today than I saw on my entire Portuguese camino! The scenery was beautiful and it felt like a summer’s day. We walked alongside a river with rocky outcrops and small bridges, along country tracks, past quite a few horreos, lots of cows and quite a few barking dogs too!
The albergue we are staying at is quite isolated with no bar or restaurant nearby so Neil and I stopped at a supermarket in the town 4km before (Grado) and picked up supplies to make a salad and pasta for dinner. After leaving Grado the path suddenly climbed very steeply and I was glad to finally arrive at the albergue, even if it is 1km off the track!
I must admit my feet were a bit sore when I arrived (the new shoes!) and I have a blister at the bottom of my right toe, so I’ve taken out the new insoles and will see how I go walking tomorrow with the original Merrell insoles.
I’ve had a wonderful evening sharing meals and wine and stimulating conversation with Australian, Polish, Dutch, Spanish, Estonian, French and Italian pilgrims, I think there might be 20 people here. It was an excellent day!