25th September, 2019
- Day 18: La Vega to Amandi
- Distance: 33km
- Weather: Overcast but humid
- Accommodation: Albergue de Peregrinos La Ferrería, € donation (board, dinner & breakfast)
We all eat breakfast together and I feel full with gratitude of being able to experience the hospitality of Albergue Tu Casa, in the company of such wonderful new friends. Cyndi and I leave together in the dark and need our headlamps for the first half hour. The path is muddy and we both keep slipping! After an hour or so, Cyndi and I say goodbye as she’s taking the Primitivo route from Villaviciosa and I’m continuing on the Norte (I walked the Primitivo in 2014, my blog posts are here). I hope we’ll arrive in Santiago around the same time to see each other again.
I walk with Jörg for a few hours and he stops to fix his blisters on a bench beside this beautiful blush-coloured stone Church of San Salvador. I don’t take many pictures of churches but this one really catches my eye. I decide to wait with Jörg while he reapplies some bandages, and while waiting I open my Camino app to see where we are. The app suggests finding a local called Alicia as she has the keys to the church. I tell Jörg I’m off to find Alicia, and I find her waving from the second floor of her house opposite the church. “Llaves” I mouth while pointing at the Church (the Spanish for keys) and she nods and comes to the entrance. I shout out to Jörg and Alicia opens the church for a private viewing. It’s simple yet elegant and very peaceful inside. This feels very special.
There’s not many facilities today, so Jörg and I stop at a picnic table outside the albergue in Sebrayo and eat the snacks we’re carrying – hummus, tortilla chips, jamon and Jörg’s manchego cheese and bread. It’s quite the feast but we need the energy, we’ve still got another ~9km to go.
I stop at the last bar before leaving the town of Villaviciosa because it’s about time I have a Sidra (alcoholic apple cider), the famous tipple of Asturias. I ask the bar lady for a coke (this was my third choice, they had no Aquarius or sparkling water), and also for a glass of Sidra. She shakes her head and gestures to a large bottle. I really just want a taste, not a whole bottle. Oh well, “just the coke then,” I say.
She hands me the coke, then starts pouring a Sidra (the traditional way, at arms length) and points to some ladies in the corner. They’ve given me a glass from their bottle. I wave and say thank you, how kind! I drink the coke and as I’m leaving, the group on the table near the exit hand me another glass of Sidra that’s just been poured. Oh, go on then! Muchas gracias!
I arrive at the albergue after 5pm which is late and almost guarantees my clothes won’t dry by tomorrow if I wash them now. Sergio, the owner, is very warm and his albergue shows tender loving care. He cooks an enormous vegetable paella for dinner and if this wasn’t enough, we’re handed a deliciously sweet bread and butter pudding for dessert. Again, all donation. Thank you Sergio.