Tony, Tim, Betsy & Ray's (not forgetting Geoff) 2014 Camino

GR65 (France), GR11 & Camino del Norte (Spain)

Villaviciosa Suplemental.

Villaviciosa Supplemental Well fro being a name on a map in a sub optimal place with no campsite Villaviciosa has amazed us We are in a Two star hotel that does pilgrim rates and it is in a 17thC Palace named after Carlos 1 who came to Spain from Holland in 1512 and this was where he landed. He was heir to qite a bit of Europe and in at the beginning of the Hapsburg dynssty. But he fsce a few revolts from the locals who were not keen on some foriegner from Austria or Holland running the place. The rooms we have are great Geof is in s sort of half cubicle half fourposter in the room he and Ray and Tony share. Floorboarfs are dark old wood that looks as though it was shaped with an adze. There are avenues of Magnolia Grandiflora and some large specimens in flower outside the church. All in all a worth while landfall. Tomorrow there is breakfast and a bread shop that claims to open at 7am


2.07.14 Wednesday Colunga to Villaviciosa. It starts to rain after 9 pm and continues most of the night. Tim our alarm clock is lulled by it and it is Tony who rouses the troops to a damp dawn. The front hss mostly passed and rain stops while we have coffee and toast in the bar in Calunga. The route heads a bit inland and rises undulating like a snake in snakes snd ladders to around 200m. Clouds manouvre sluggishly around the hillsides and the air though cool is saturated with moisture. At this point at Priesca we find the oldest church on the route consecrated in 912. It is of course locked. But just as we are about to leave a window opens in a house nect door and it is a safe bet we are being asked if we want to see inside. The ceiing paintings sre obviously original and barely visible, the font at the door shows signs of a millenium or so of use and the thin cut marble windows for light are typical of other ancient churches we have seen in Navarre. It has been maintained and is still in use. We meet again with Jaques and Kate a French American couple who we lad saw some days ago. Their camino started in Nantes and they are heading up the Camino Primitivo. We may see them again in Santiago or not. Nice people. We arrive in Villaviciosa before 1300 and get a good 8€ 4 course lunch servef by a waiter eager to practice his English and stagger out to find one of the two hotels that has bombarded us with signs and leaflets along the route. We find the Carlos 1 at under 15 € each including breakfast in two very nice rooms with en suite and wifi. There is even a washing line just outside the window. Pilgrim heaven at special pilgrim rates. 20km and a believable 660m up and down.


Supplemental Jurassic 1.07.14 We learnt this afternoon that this bit of coast is the equivalent of Dorset in the UK. There are a set of dinosaur prints in the rock just down the beach from the campsite. We all troup down to see if they are more convincing than some we saw in the Italian Dolomites. They were and much larger although we could not convince ourselves of the three clawed smsller feet those of diplodicus were convincing. And then Tim found their eggs!!!

1.07 14

1.07.14 Tuesday Ribadesella to Calunga. It rained in the night, the forcast is for rain but hey its not raining now. But it starts soon and we spend the day in our various wateeproofs. The good news is its not hot so we walk at a fair rate. The feature of the day is the Horreo, this is a building on stilts common in Gallicia but we have not seen them in Asturias before. Unlike the Gallician long norrow horreo the Asturias betsion is square. Why this should be is the subject of discussion. Opinions vary from, "cos", to the more erudite, its like "speciation by geographic separation". Who knows? There are lots but few usef for their traditional purpose of grain or maize storage. We get to Calunga early but our next documented camping or accomodation is another 18 km away we stumble into a sideria (yes a place selling cider) and discuss the situation Betsy plays her joker and forbids this foolhardiness so we have lunch in an excellent place where Geof charges his phone, Tony eyes up the main electric board behind him and Ray speculates on walking the camino dressed as Xaphod Beeblebrox. We stagger the remaining km and a half down the road to the campsite. The bar in town is open for breakfast at 7am so a light snack for later is obtained from the supermarket and off we go. 20 km not a lot pf up and down


30.06.14 Monday Barro to Ribadesela. The morning surge of energy and speed is a bit limited by photo ops today ss some nice reflections of a church and village catch everyones eye. A shrine to St Roche prompts Ray to ask why in different bits of statuary dotted across the landscape he is not consistent in the leg (left or right) or even the thigh or shin for his plague induced sore. One of his stories is being fed by a all dog while recovering from plague. On recieving no adequate response Ray labels him a hypochondriac or even a lead swinger. He is demoted in our personal pantheon. The day progresses scross the 10-20 wide shelf og farmland between the sea and the start of the Picos. The first of these rise to about 500m hiding mostly the still snowy peaks behind. We pass an albergue with a distance to Santiago 405 km a reminder of only 3 more weeks to go. A ruined monastry is atmospheric with back lit early sun and a large wall piece of ceramic tiles catch the eye. We get to Ribadesela in time for a good 10 euro lunch and cross the modern bridge to the campsite which in contrast to last night is virtually deserted. A bit more than expected 27km not a lot of up and down.


.06.14 Sunday Perdueles to Baro.. We are up at dawn the rain stopped in late evening and the night was fine and dry. Druy tents whooo! Today is Sunday we are gradually realising its Spanish significance. Unlike France shops are often not shut along this coast though since campsites are often week end chalets snd permanents there is a general exodus in the evening and camp bsrs snd shops tend to shut early. There are several villages and a decent town on our route todsy so we have light packs to start with. The air is clear and the Picos de Europa are very clear some ggreat views slong the cliff top path. This limestone country snother similarity to Somerset as well as a cider making heritage. We are alertred to the main attraction of the day by a booming noise. The Bufon de Arenillas blow holes and sinks in the limestone permit the swells grom the Mar Cantabrico or Bay of Biscay to surge up enlafrged cracks in gthe 20m cliffs and produce this noise. Even today with a calm sea it is very loud. With a rough sea waves must surge out of the holes with a noise audible for a mile or more. The route is along the e9 waymarked in the GR style and a grand march across cliff tops it is. We soon get to Llanes a town noted for some Spanish clonial architecture and get coffee and shopping. We intend a menu de dia and a snack evening some shopping is done. And a few more kms and we reach Celorio wirh two campsites within a km or two. The restaurants are set to cater for the sunday trade and we fail to find one that suits. Some more shopping and we are set for anevening meal some two good menus appear. Suddenly we are on a campsite, it is where we are heading. We go to reception and fill inpasport forms etc and get sellos (stamps) for all. We are then told there is no charge for those on foot on Camino. Tony and Tim have only encountered this once before in northern France we express gratitude and thanks and are shown a tight little pitch it is about all that is left on this site of permanent caravans. But hey its free, but the hot water for the showers is not! Some tough it out others get tokens. 22 km less than 600m up and down


28.06.14 Saturday Pechon to Perdueles. Today we don't want to go too far Ray needs a recovery day, there are limits to what Voltarol and Compeed can achieve. Heavy rain is forecast for the afternoon and it is always nice to have a patch of dry ground under the tent. So a merr 18 km is arranged the site has 2014 prices on the internet so it probably exists. The night was dry the tents nearly and Ray feels good so off we go. We can see the edge of the Picos de Europa and rapidly cross over the border from Cantabria to Asturias. It is cloudy and cool so us northern Europeans are racing along. The coast route not only hasthe Camino and the littlwcaostal slow train that brought Geof to us yesterday but until today there has also been a new motorway. The current extent of this has now been reached and we pass under a new bridge not yet in use on an old bearing the camino. Bridges as important in this part of Spain as ever. Betsy biys a new mug. Up till now she has been using a beaker bought early on our Via de la Plata trip but it is tapered and tends to fall over in the mornings. She hopes to find it a home at a spring/fuente along the Way. We arrive by 12 at the first possible campsite it is open and in its own little cove. Apparently more costly than the next but Ray needs consideration and the rain is on the way. As ever drying washing is the problem and it becomes a fine judgement when the washing on the line under the tree is getting wetter or dryer! A lovely site pity about the weather. 16 km a little bit of up and down

Duck kennels

To make clearer the reference to duck kennels yesterday.


27.06.14 Friday. Comillas to Pechon. Sad to leave Comillas a very nice place with excellent sardines. Quite apart from the architecture. Geof is in Bilbao and will meet us tomorrow evening. Only problem is even we dont know where. But hey we set off following the nice yellow arrows an concrete stones provided by Cantabria and soon point a Germsn girl in the right direction. First rule of pilgriming always make sure you know where you are syarting tomorrow. We are ok thete its the finish that's a problem. We know where there are stations Geof can arrive at and where thereay be campsites. Fortunately texts and good fortune stitch it all together and by the second third campsite ( first two closed for good as suspected for first but only dicoveted for second in a bar 500m away). Still three is good and had a shop and good wifi even if their pricing sustem means its a bit dear. Most of the day again on tarmac and over two significany estuary bridges one dating from15thC. We see some renovated old churches and a bolas arena. Bolad seems to be a popular village sport played with skittles snd large wooden balls the arena belonged to s top legue te and it seems popular round here. We saw man making the kit in his garage yesterday. Another echo from yezterday were the greylag geese and other waxers in the estuaries and reserves we crossed compared to the duck kennels of the day before. All in all a tough day and Ray is suffering with a large bister and an opposite shin splint, both dealt with by typical medical self prescription. It'raining here now and not a Wimbledon how wrong is that? Eventualy 31 km and less than 1000m up and down. Oh and Geof arrived in time for dinner with beer and a new sleeping bag liner for Tim. Thanks to all involved in getting it here. His feet no longer stick out the bottom end.


26.06.14 Thursday Santilla del Mar to Comillas. After a good night with a quiet site which switched out its lights at 11pm we are up and off by 0700. A day of mainly tarmac ewith occasional steep slippy concrete plus a coouple of short grit tracks, not great walking but enlivened by the gastropods all out after the nights rain, and sightings of what we all now agree are cattle egrets. These small white herons have extended their range from central Spain up to the north coast. Along the way we pass a large ecclesiastical building of some importance with an interesting pilgrim statue, a Carmelite barefoot convent and a lovely little chapel dedicared to St Roque our saint for the journey. When we arrive in Comillas we find it has a small lighthouse just outside an expensive bar and a Guadi house. His first we later discover covered in sunflowers. Before that there is the possibly best graveyard ever on the top of a hill constructed from the remains of an old church and some great marble sculptures. All this in a small seaside town, back to camp for a rest. 20 km less than 500m up and down