11.07.14 Friday Pennarronda to San Xusto de Carbacos (don’t try to find it). Middle of no where.
Most of us sleep well on this site. It is quiet because the owner has decreed this because his wife wanted it that way. Her shrine is at the entrance as the site was her idea. He read the rules at 9.30 pm over the tanoy and everyone went quiet. We did not believe it spaniards on holiday on a campsite in bed asleep by 10pm!!
We get up at our usual time as quietly as possible and boil water for coffee quietly at the gate. Second breakfast in Ribadeo waiting for the supermecado to open. We also take in the Morena family home a classic art noveau pile trying to fall down (the family went bust in the 30s crash. Next door a ex library and another local hero provide Ray with a photo op.
We exit the town hopefully with enough food for the next 24 hrs. As we will be in the middle of sparsely populated Gallicia. Eventually after a good few km of lanes and Eucalyptus forest we arrive at an alburgue. It is not very obviously active. Betsy declines to phone the nimber on the door on the grounds she will not understand the answer and the three spanish girls we overtook are also jeading here. They arrive and phone. The alburgue is closed the next fortunately, is only 2km. We arrive it is empty except for us and the young ladies. There is a shower and limited kitchen facilities. We have arrived.
28km about 900m of up and a bit less down.
10.07.14 Thursday Cartavio to Penaronda.
We spent the afternoon pleasantly on the nearby rocky and pebbly beach with waterfalls and rock pools. The little truckers pension we stayed in was fine and reasonably priced. At first a race across the tarmac and onto tracks across level country and down into Tarpia de Caseriego, a very pretty beach port.. Shopping and beer later its across thetop of the beach and over the little river and up the other side. Observed today a rather freaky scarecrow and just after a kestrel, a black kite and a large raptor probably a dark morph of a common buzzard.
We arrive over the cliff tops to the beach with its campsite right on a good surf beach. Ray , Tim and Betsy are in the waves as soon as tents pitched and washing done. Very good for sweat rash engendered by carrying rucksacs in heat.
We are told on check in it is a quiet site with early silence. Time will tell!
24 km maybe 500m down and 400m up.
.07.14 Wednesday. Otur to Cartavio.
A very good night not even a ghost train to disturb our rest. The csmpsite man who wad very helpful in trying to see whether the next possible campsite existed or was an extint virtual presence on some two year old lists and the internet, expected to be busier next week. We should be out of campsites and on the home strait in Gallician alburgues by then. We are up and away in cloud with threatening rain that never really happens but is sufficient to scare some into waterproofs. The auto route is a close companion and we cross and descend on tracks built for its construction. A fine viaduct leads us past a house that must be owned by a fellow pilgrim come to rest, it is surrounded by bizarre camino and St James memorabilia evoking memories of Lourdes and its multiple souvenir shops.
The rapidly changing face of caminos in Spain is well shown by the traditional Asturian waymarker almost concealed by a new crash barrier.
After a while on the main N634 in Villapedra we get the best second breakfast yet, coffee ffresh orange juice and a pork sandwich for 3€. You know it will be good when the bar is full of men in hi viz jackets!
The town of Navia is not much further and the helpful tourist office fail to confirm the existence of the ghostly campsite. We are aiming for a hotel in Cartavio but spare a euro for a man playing Asturian pipes (probably badly) on the way out of town.
The day steadily brightens up and we arrive in time for lunch and a siesta before a bit of s wander.
21 km 500m up and down
A really helpful and friendly campsite with a comunal room to eat in when wet. It was cloudy but the night was quiet and well slept. Even with the little train track right next door. None ran over night and no children ran playing round the site till midnight. Sadly it may suffer from lack of custom.
8.07.14 Tuesday. Cadavero to Otur. Via Luarca.
After s great lazy afternoon in the sun yestetday visiting the little local hermitage on the cliffs we don’t look at the weather forecast for today. It is raining when we pack and continues most of the morning. Walking is along country roads and a great hill climb section to bypass several long hairpin bends. Eventually rain stops as we arrive in Luarca on this section of the C del Norte known as Camino Real or Royal route. The descent overlooks a sizeable harbour and town with the narrow gauge rail track running on a long viaduct around the bsck of the bay.
We get a good lunch from a restaurant in town and some salad for the evening. And climb steeply up the other side. A hour or so sees us in the middie of nowhere past Otur on what we hope will be a quiet little campsite. The only noteworthy thing on this section is a rather smelly billy goat proudly protecting his females.
The raiin has continued on and off all day it is still cloudy so minimal washing is done.
24 km probably less than 600m up and down.
7.07.14 Monday. San Pedro de Ribera to Cadavera.
This is billed as a standard day with cliff top and road walking. As we are packing up at 6.30 it starts to rain a hasty check of the forcast shows it msy continue till midday. We wrap up in waterproofs of choice and start off up the tarmac. Leaving the strange arrows outside the campsite, ideas that this might be a portal or matter transporter to Santiago are disappointed or the incantation needed to be in Latin. An unprepossessing start.
Highlights of the day are the Gayo Bar in Santa Marina which has been noted for some time and is not as it turns out, a gay bar, or not obviously to us, but appears just as a coffee stop is needed. Followed by a great bit of coastline up and down into jungle filled ravines and over the trembling bridge. This was apparently a famous medieval wooden bridge that shook when pilgrims crossed. Leading to a French song about who goes first and hopefully another nationality. It was replaced by a stone bridge several hundred years ago but the legend lives on.
After this some great coastal views from green lanes with wild honysuckle and fuchia.
After a while during which Betsy and Tony forge ahead and Ray and Geof refuse to go off road again we arrive in the spread out village of Cadavera. This, inspite of the name has a beating heart! A small but good campsite behind the village shop and bar. Result. The weather is now good with a drying wind and a washing machine.
22km and anything less than 900 m up and down.
6.07.14 Sunday Domingo. Aronces to San Pedro de Ribero.
The promised rain arrived about 4am and continued till 9 or 10. We slept in and had a short day planned. This worked well first passing through El Pilo with a large well tended stately house and then visiting the town of Cudilero a small fishing village reminiscent of Polperro.
We are now back in coastal rural Asturias after our spell in Dantes Inferno. We walk along country roads and forest tracks across a valley leapt by both the N 623 main road, the newer autoroute and the narrow gauge track of the Feve railway on its viaduct older than both. It is instructive that this northern route as well as the Camino Francais finds the obvious line across difficult terrain such thst all subsequent routes follow it although the ease of passage is better with the more recent civil engineering.
Eventually we find the campsite it is small and full of permanent caravans but room for three small tents. It is Sunday and a proportion of those here will depart in the evening back to their towns
5.07.14 Saturday Aviles to Aronces.
The pension was quiet all slept well and we slid out of Aviles, which turned out to have a lovely old part with many Roman style old spanish colmns as walkways very similar to Chester and probably a similar age. We get a good breakfast with lots of fresh orange juice and toasted croissants in Le Biblioteca and start out through suburbs with a last lingering view of the industrial complex. And across not very exciting countryside with an advert for an albergue mentioning breakfast and hot skewers. We are still unsure if this was a hangover from the Inquisitio or a translation error. We were then advised independentlyby two people thst thw the route ahead was impossible and so stuck to the main road others who went that way got to Soto el Barca before us, an encounter with an open bar on the col on the main road may have been responsible. A good lunch at 6 € each and we are across the bridge and up to Muros where Betsy and Tony about half a km ahead,went the sensible route to the campsite and Tim at first heading for a totally different site leads Ray and Geof through vertical eucalyptus forest and someone’s back garden to eventually arrive at a nice site. Well before the cold front bringing rain to this north coast.
27 km and a bit of up and down
4.07.14 Friday Deva to Aviles through Xixon.
We knew this was a not good day but the night before with what was a chalet of young spaniards having a party just 20 m away did not help. Limited sleep excess distance through built up industrial areas you get the picture. We were impressed by the number of old folks homes in Xixon/Gijon various names including Casa Geriatrica, Hojar Ancianos and one for people of the third age. By the time we go to ground in Aviles we feel we should have stopped in one of them.
In between we have seen what Xixon has to offer. On the way in a very odd stone carving in a recess and a defunct cidrr making plant. A large glass sculpture of cider bottles, and the buried Roman forum opened by Octavian in the first century. Now reburied so not visible. Followed by the steel works and motorway on the way out of town. The next delight is a section of nondescript countryside in which we may have seen a dolmen. Followed by a bar and another 10 km of industrial heartland culminating in Dantes inferno and a plume of fire and smoke from a petrochemical works fortunately the haze from this did not reach the right side of the tracks. However reaching the right side was a problem for Geof who in a bit of s daze got hooted at by the train possibly as a warning possibly just as a friendly pilgrim gesture.
We collapse into the second bar we come to unable to resist temptation any longer and then through the nicer old centre of Aviles. Fortunately we find an open tourist office just before we exit the town and they book us into a pension only 2 streets away recognising we have walked far enough and some team members are on their last legs.
34 km maybe 600m of up and down
3.07.14 Thursday Villaviciosa to Deva (nearly Xixon).
Farewell to the Carlos1 with a good breakfast plenty toast and coffee etc. This is a recomended stop for anyone on this route.And off out of VillaV towards the little church on the outskirts in Amandi. It is a nice little church with a big porch in which a fellow pilgrim is sleeping. Even those sleeping rough get supiperior accomodation in VillaV .
Onward and upward we say hello and goodbye to Rachael an Australian who has given up a job in the UK and is walking the world. We may meet in Santiago she is off up the Primitivo so may arrive before us.
On the way to the parting of the caminos we meet a man collecting caracoles (snails to eat) he is wearing clogs, they appear to be specially made to fit his slippers and have rubber knobs on the bottoms!
There are two significant hills today to return to the coast, VillaV being at the head of a long estuary. We start to climb and everyone goes at their own pace. Geof and Ray are lollygagging at the rear and miss a vital turn, 300m up later we stop and wait. And text and wait and text they are off route and will catch us up. This happens just as a bar comes in view down the hillside. Typical. But it is closed with a drinks machine outside we don’t stay long. Soon we are off up the second hill and then together down to the coastal plain outside Xixon or Gijon depending on political view. The campsite appears on the lrft and we roll through the gate having found an open village shop (sort of a bar with customers and owners older than us) that sold beer. We also spotted a cooperage presumably making barrels for the local cider makers.
23km or 25 for Ray and Geof with 960m of measured ascent which we feel may be believable.