Tag Archives: el Primativo

San Martin de Oscos To Vegadeo.

We did not sleep well, but did manage a bit. The dawn woke us though and we were on our way by five thirty. Despite lack of sleep and despite lack of coffee we seemed to make a good pace. We passed through two villages without life then we saw a sign for Villanova 7k, the GPS was now showing 66k to go. The route seemed to go round in a circle back the way we had come. I was in despair and after a way out, any way would do.

No bars were open but there was a rest stop with benches, then we saw the patron of a local hotel seeing off some guests. Worth a try, but he too was complet he did take sympathy on us and offered to allow us to use a shower. He had, however a better plan; where we were standing was a bus stop. There was no bus tomorrow (Sunday) but today at 9:30 was a bus to Vigadeo but only one a day. We did not know where that was, but he assured me it was on the camino.

So we had some coffee in his bar and waited for the bus. We had walked 71.3 kilometres since La Mesa. That is just short of 44miles. It was a joy to travel on a bus for a change, even if we did not know where we were going.

Turns out that Vigadeo is at the top of the river that flows out of Ribadeo, and before the bridge was built this was the route that the camino took.

We got off the bus (6euros fare) with no idea where we were. We still thought we were in Ribadeo but Viv spotted apartments across the square, the room was lovely and only 40euro. We were passed caring where we were, just happy to have a bed. It was though more of a suite, we had a large room with rocking chairs a bed settee, a desk and TV. The floor was shiny wood and dropped down into the bedroom. A door at the end out to a shared balcony where we could dry some clothes.

We booked in for two nights and enjoyed a rest. We had a wild goose chase looking for a laundrette, but there was good food here good beer and the locals were friendly.

We spent the next day finding our way around, finding out where we are and just relaxing. Hopefully it will be easier from here,  but just when we thought our luck was turning we got upsetting news from home.

Friendly locals

Our comfortable lodgings


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La Mesa to The middle of nowhere

Remember this; Viv said she would rather die than spend another night in an Albergue.

People were up at four in the morning rustling around packing their bags and getting out. It was before seven that we finally gave up and set forth. A young couple kindly offered us a coffee sachet but we had no milk and more importantly nothing to drink it out of.

The forest we past through was horrible. There had been a fire the year before and the landscape was a scorched mess. At one point we were advised to take a detour of 7k because it was not safe. Thinking that it was now more than a year we ignored the advice.

We passed and re-passed the couple who had offered us coffee, it was a long slog and that coffee would have been most welcome. The Hotel at Embalse de Salime had not yet come to life so we got nothing until Grandes de Salime 15.2k on according to the book. But we should, in hindsight have stopped in Embalse de Salime.

We knew where we could get breakfast here, but not where to stop. Every place we tried was complet, I was getting fed up with this and checked my GPS. It told me that Ribadeo was only 30k away, so I thought “lets go for it”

I then had the usual problems with the GPS, it was totally unclear which way to go. After circling the town umpteen times we finally ended up following the camino again. We stayed with it until Cereixeira where we found another bar. I asked for bocadillos and what did they have, the lady panicked and went into the back. Her (we assume) son came out with his phone and google translate. A bit pointless as all they had was jamon y queso, I could have understood that.

We followed the camino for about another half mile and then the GPS took us off to the right. The distance now started to grow and was now 54k I was not, as yet, unduly worried as I am used to it being erratic. We walked down a long straight road and some guy stopped to tell us we were going the wrong way. We assured him we knew what we were doing and thanked him. He continued on down that road until he was out of sight, a lift would have been nice, but I suppose he thought we just wanted to walk.

The road now snaked in a series of hairpins up into the hills. We decided to stop, seek shade and eat some of our supplies. It was going to be a long day and there was no point in getting sun stroke. Over the mountain the road snaked again down into a valley then up the other side all over again.

We were now past the point where we should have stopped, but there was no sign of rest or refreshment. After endless switchbacks we finally came to some straight road. It was late afternoon and the sky looked angry. We found a museum of farm life, it was closed but there was a tap so we could fill up with water and there was a recreation area with benches. I think that this place was called San Martin de Oscos. We stopped for another rest then heard the thunder, the sky went black, so I got the storm shelter out and improvised a tent over a picnic bench. I think we slept for ten minutes or so until the storm passed us by.

There was nothing else to but set off again. Just down the road a dog stood looking angry and making a lot of noise, but he just turned and followed us as we passed. Then another dog joined us for a while, I guess they get few visitors in these parts. After 2k Viv asked me to check our position, then I realised I did not have my glasses. I had dropped them under the bench where we had sat and they were, fortunately, still there. The last thing we needed though was to add 4k onto our day.

The dog was still following us though, I started to worry about him, but later he gave up the chase and headed off back home. It was now getting late and my GPS was warning me we only had 15 minutes before the sun set. It was time for an executive decision, to the left of the road was a bus shelter. It was spend the night here or walk on in the dark.

We wrapped up in the storm shelter for a damp uncomfortable night. As if things were not bad enough, someone not too far away was having a firework party, we could not sleep for the explosions.

Through the mountains and petrified forest

Should have stayed here

Embalse de Salime

Just look at that road, the long way to nowhere


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Campiello, Hospitales to La Mesa

As I thought breakfast was a bad idea, we would not catch up with the Colombians today. They were an hour up the road and we were an hour late starting.

When we got to Borres the albergue was open for coffee and breakfast so we could well have started at seven and had our breakfast here, now it was gone nine and we had a long day ahead.

The split here is obvious so we had no problem going the right way, but it was a long hard climb. The scenery was stunning though and many were stopped on the grass just admiring the view. We had provisions with us so, we too, stopped to take in the scene and some food. (Obviously not because we were knackered and could go no further uphill.)

At the top I stopped to take photos of the view and the old Hospitales buildings. As we crossed Pico del Palo I hoped that the guy with the van would be there with coffee, but no, there was no sign of him.  We were now headed steadily down hill and the going was easier but there was another climb into Lago. The book says that there is a bar here and there was. I remember he was expensive, taking advantage of the fact that he had no competition. Outside the bar was a group of Spaniards looking confused. They were talking about going back down the hill to look for the bar I pointed to the house behind them and told them that was the bar. I assured them I had been here two years ago and after some milling around, they followed us. I was not sure that was a wise move because we now had a posse after us and maybe more competition for beds.

In Berducedo there was not a bed to be had. The Dutch couple were there and she seemed overjoyed at our predicament. We stopped for a meal as we were unsure if, or when we would get another chance. The Colombians who had two hours on us at the start had not been here long but managed to get beds. There were more albergue further up the village but all were complet. we sat and chatted to the Colombians, this would be the last time we saw them. Not knowing this at the time, we regretted never saying goodbye.

It was another 4.5k to La Mesa and my recollection of the place was, it was not good. They have a new Albergue here very modern and clean. Unfortunately they take advance bookings and were full. What this did mean though was there was room in the municipal albergue and there was drinks and provisions to be had. Two years ago there was nothing here but the municipal albergue  and food only delivered on Tuesdays and Fridays.

So after a 33k walk we did not get the best sleep, but at least we had some alcohol to help.

It begins here

The ruins of Hospitales

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Tineo to Campiello

It was going to be short day today of less than 14k because of the length of tomorrows stage. We intended to have a lay in but try as we might the urge to press on was too great. So we were out at seven thirty and fortunately there was a bar open so we had  breakfast of coffee and toast.

It was a steep climb out of town with some odd garden furniture. The rain started as we climbed so we had to stop to put the wets on. At the top leaving town is the home of El Ultimo de Filipinas, we still have not seen him and wonder if he is actually still there.

There are a lot of wet muddy paths but still not as bad as yesterday. We passed a couple, I think that they were New Zealanders, they were making some very odd moves to avoid the mud. There is no point, it will get you in the end and that is why we buy waterproof boots.

In the woods we come to the diversion for Santa Maria de Obona Monastery and decide this time to take it. Apparently in the days of Alfonso11 you needed a stamp from here to stay at the Hospitales. It was a let down, nobody there, no stamp and we had to walk back the way we had just come.  The wet slippery cobbles did there best to cripple us so all in all not a worthwhile diversion. Then climbing back through the mud we slipped and generally got quite dirty.

It was road work then up to Campiello so we used the grass at the side of the road to get most of the mud off. At Ricardo’s it was like a homecoming so many faces we knew. I went over to Herminia’s to book a room and left Viv and the bags at Ricardo’s. At the counter I was told to go through to the shop. In the shop I was told to wait for La Chica. Then I was following people in and out of the shop trying to get a room. When I did get one it was small but clean and a good bathroom also lots of open shelves, no wardrobe or chests of drawers, ideal for backpackers. Viv meanwhile thought that I had disappeared, I was so long. The Colombians had turned up as well, they were continuing to Borres, but we know that there is only a small albergue there and it does not have a good reputation. Tomorrow they will be doing the hospitales so we may see them again.

I booked breakfast and evening meal with our room, I am not sure breakfast was a good idea as they do not open until 7:30 but the evening meal was good. Viv was not so sure, we had two soup courses, and she did not stop going on about two soups for days.

Very odd Garden furniture


Monastery Santa Maria de Obona

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Salas to Tineo

We were out fairly early, but the bar top of town was already open. Somebody, at last,who realises the potential of a number of Albergue emptying out in the morning. We were kept waiting for ages though to pay, I just wanted to be on my way, but she was being “mine host” to everybody. When we did get our bill she was not about to let us go, she gave us a doggy bag. I did not want to seem ungrateful, but I had to dump the banana further up the street. It was a bit on the ripe side and would not have kept until Viv had eaten hers.

The road out of town went up and up, and we soon caught up with The Columbians. We walked with them a while and found out that they were mother and daughter. We pass Bodenaya with no signs of any place to stop but in another kilometre we reach La Espina. Here I turn off the camino and Viv again doubts my memory, but we come onto the main road where there is an autoservicio bar. We stopped here last time, but this time I knew that there was no point. A little further up the road was Bar Dakar. We stopped here last time but this time we will carry on after a coffee and some food.

As we left the Dutch couple arrived, it seems that they found their house last night. We wished them well and carried on. At the end of town we decided to take the muddy route. Last time we took the road, it was not going to be much better this time but we had elected to do things differently. We lost it at some point and ended up on the road but got back at El Pedregal. It was, as described, dirty muddy and heavy going. There was nowhere to stop and rest but we found a wall backed into the woodland where we ate our lunch. As always a hundred yards later on there was a picnic bench.

Once back on the road we spent some time cleaning the mud off our boots before heading into Tineo. Bar Corona was closed but when we rang the bell we got service and were given a room. It seems that they are not in business because they are both ill, but as returning customers (and probably off the books) they made an exception for us.

Windmills on the hill

The views from Tineo

The views from Tineo

The views from Tineo

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Grado to Salas

Nice to leave again with a breakfast. The walk out of town was not obvious though, we had to turn around at the top of a hill. There were a few others doing the same, unsure if they were on the right road or these people going the other way. Soon though we were on safer ground, once out of town the waymarks are always better.

The walk to Santa Eulalia seemed a lot less arduous this time, maybe because we were fresher, last time we had come all the way from Oviedo. Just glad we had stopped in Grado this time, the shed and dirty shower were not exactly calling to me.

After this we passed under the now completed road works. Where there had been diggers and men climbing up pillars like ants, now there was a beautiful flying road. As we pass above it and look down on the one car passing over, there is the obvious question “How much European money was spent on this?”

After clambering over the hills we come down to a big roundabout and the road into Cornellana. The turn left away from the town has now gone and everyone is now directed past the shops and bars. The result of this is we no longer have exclusive access to the café in the garage here. There is still room for us to sit though and have a coffee. After our break we are again sent past the semi derelict Monastery, there are signs that some parts of it being restored to use. It is a lot of building to remain unused.

A steep climb up a concrete path to an empty house, we remembered an old lady struggling getting stuff up the hill. Obviously it was getting too much for her and she has either left for an easier life or died and no one else is willing to accept the struggle.

We arrived at Salas from a completely different direction this time, missing the flood area park completely. We stopped at a café at the bottom and off the camino. Early enough to enjoy a coffee and croissant.  We continued up the hill and soon passed a private albergue, we asked if they had private rooms and they did for 30euros. They also had a laundry service and a free beer as well.

We stopped in the local park for our tea, food courtesy  of Coviran supermarket. We came across the Dutch couple from yesterday unable to find the place they had booked over their phone. Well we just rock up and stop at the first place we find.

Later we stopped in a bar for some beer and the rain started, we were not equipped for it. All our stuff was in the room, which had the window wide open to dry our stuff. I rushed back but the cleaner had gone into our room shut the window and mopped the floor. I was most grateful.

Santa Eulalia, no shed for us tonight

The Monastery at Cornellan

The Monastery at Cornellan

The River at Salas

Time for tea in the Park

The top of Salas

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Oviedo to Grado

There are yellow arrows on the path outside our hotel, but I am not sure. Viv is insistent so we follow them. As we climb the hill  out of town the GPS is showing our destination as getting further away, that alone bothers me less than the compass bearing. I am used the GPS being all over the place, but I am really sure we are going the wrong way by compass bearing.

At the top of a hill we lost the arrows, it was time to back track, but then we found arrows pointing the way we had just gone. I was now convinced we had come out on the Norte Link, not least because I recognized nothing of where we were.

A Spaniard came up and I asked him, but he tried to answer in English and I got a very complex answer. I tried “en español por favour” again this was only a little help, until he said “costa”. That gave the game away. We were definitely on the link route.

The GPS was directing us along the Sendero (footpath). it was a sweeping path around a picturesque valley. Obviously an old railway casement, it was a lovely walk spoiled only by the fact that it was unnecessary.

It seemed to go on forever and by the time we were back on track we had covered 6k and were back in Oviedo. We passed and re-passed a couple of Germans and then Spaniards, then finally the Colombians. We were glad to see them, friendly faces and the knowledge that we were back on track.

We stopped in Peñaflor, knowing we had less then 4k to go, for a rest and a shandy. The run up to the Grand Prix was on the TV, but Viv was not about to let me stop and watch it.

When we got into Grado we struggled finding a Hotel. We had a fix on the GPS but, as usual, it led us a dance. When we finally found Hotel Autobar it was fast approaching 4 o’clock and they all but insisted we had the menu el dia. We were given a four bed room but not until we had eaten. I had no idea what this was costing or when we would pay, it was all a bit come day go day.

There was a Dutch couple here panicking with their phone app, unable to find a bed for tomorrow. Whatever happened to spontaneity?

It came to 63 euro with the food breakfast next morning and some drinks, I have no idea how it broke down but it sounds fair enough.

The sweeping footpath, once a railway.

He really is that big

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