Camino del Norte – Day 17 – Celorio to La Vega, 32km

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24th September, 2019

  • Day 17: Celorio to La Vega
  • Distance: 32km
  • Weather: Overcast
  • Accommodation: Albergue Tu Casa, € donation (board, dinner & breakfast)

Cyndi and I walk together in the early morning and the kilometres fly by. We have hopes of staying at Albergue Tu Casa, but it’s 32km away, there’s only 7 beds and they don’t take reservations. So whether we can or not, lies in the hands of the Camino Gods…

A colourfully painted stone wall along the Camino del Norte

A colourfully painted stone wall

Stones painted with pilgrim images

Stones painted with pilgrim images

I’ve been passing walnut trees every day of this trip but keep forgetting to take a photo. I wonder who it was that discovered walnuts? I understand why you would think it’s edible, it looks like a fruit. But once you pick it and peel away the skin, you’re left with a hard shell. So why would you think to pry it open and how would you know that the nut inside is edible? Crazy. I google this question and find a website about The Nutcracker Museum which states,

“The oldest walnut remains were discovered in Iraq, and they are believed to be from 50,000 B.C. The Greeks and Romans were fond of the walnut, and they were considered food for Gods by early Romans…”

A walnut tree on the Camino del Norte

A walnut tree

Starting to see more and more apple trees on the Camino del Norte

Starting to see more and more apple trees

I stop for lunch in Ribadesella then head to a supermarket for supplies for dinner. Once I reach San Esteban 5km away I need to call the 7-bed-no-reservations albergue (which is 2km further), and they’ll tell me whether there’s still any beds available. If not, then I need to stay at the albergue in San Esteban and there’s no facilities nearby, so I’ll need to cook dinner. I walk around the supermarket like a zombie, I can’t think of what to buy and leave with a tub of hummus, jamon and tortilla chips. Real healthy.

Playa de Ribadesella

Playa de Ribadesella

I catch up with Cyndi just before San Esteban and we call the albergue together. We can’t believe our luck when the lady on the phone tells us there are currently only two other pilgrims there! We high-five and let out a sigh of relief, thank you Camino Gods!

Soon after, we arrive, ring the bell and the kind owner tells us to take off our packs and relax for an hour until it opens. A few minutes later Michael arrives to stay and we decide to look around the village (maybe there’s a bar open?). We find beautiful paintings dotted on the buildings, it’s very charming. The bars are all closed but we do find a shop and buy a few beers and a bottle of wine to have with dinner.

By the time we get back, the albergue is open and we’re instructed to leave our backpacks outside. We’re given plastic tubs and told only to bring in what we need for the night. The beds have sheets so we don’t even need sleeping bags. It’s a beautiful home and the smell of food coming from the kitchen is divine. It’s all donation too, the bed, dinner and breakfast.

Just before dinner the owner receives a phone call, then asks if anyone has met a German man called Arnold? No-one has, but he’s on his way and we’re excited to meet a new pilgrim. Within the blink of an eye, Jörg walks in and seems upset that we’re not happy to see him. We are of course, but we tell him we were expecting Arnold and he erupts in laughter. ‘Arnold’ is the name he gives over the phone because people have trouble understanding Jörg. Then he does an Arnold Schwarzenegger impression and we’re all in tears with laughter. Good times!

Albergue Tu Casa, La Vega

Albergue Tu Casa, La Vega

Dinner is a vegetarian feast and every morsel tastes like it’s been made with love. It’s easy to see why this albergue is described as a ‘gem.’ It truly is, and then some.

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