Camino de Santiago del Norte
Day 20 of our Adventure: WALK!!
CAMINO Day 12
Thursday September 21, 2017
Expected: 25.2km / 13 miles / 8 hours
Actual: 15 miles, 6.5 hours
Total Ascent: 1181 ft.
Total Descent: 984 ft.
Difficulty Rating: Terrain 3; Waymarking 2
Scenery Rating: 3
Oviedo to Grado
After being awakened by very loud music at 2:00 AM (turned out to be the Gipsy Kings playing at the Plaza 3 blocks away from our hotel in Oviedo for the Feast of San Mateo), we were up and out by 7 for our journey to Grado. It was a gorgeous walk, with views of the mountains and valleys and some fog to add to the beauty. We met up with a couple from Alicante, a port city on Spain’s southeastern Costa Blanca who were starting their Camino today, and chatted with them for a short while. They want to come to the US to drive on “Route 66”. Too funny.
Our walk was like a roller coaster, up one hill, and down again…. For several miles. At one point we saw an elderly man who finished his walk and opened what appeared to be a wall safe (but without a lock) in the outside wall of his house. Turns out to be an actual “bread box” where apparently the panadería dropped off his bread. I wish I’d taken a few pictures!
We had no rain, and only a very small amount of mud – not enough to even coat our shoes. If I hadn’t made such a big deal of it in past posts I wouldn’t even bother to mention it. We stopped a few times for breaks and to consume caffeine (coffee con leche in the morning, Coca Cola in the afternoon).
During our walks the sounds are very calming. Songbirds, crows, roosters, ducks, donkeys, cows, dogs, the rustle of the leaves and babbling of the brooks and creeks, an occasional bicycle whizzing by, people wishing each other “Buen Camino!”, the sound of our footsteps and trekking poles, and the ever-so-occasional profanity (usually precipitated by mud and/or a never-ending steep uphill climb) out of one or both of our mouths.
Eventually we made it to Grado for lunch. I made the mistake of ordering a hamburger. WHAT was I thinking??? We had a salad to start, and then my “hamburger” was actually like a double whopper with cheese and all the fixings, but no bun. Given the size of the meal, plus another side salad and fries, I surely didn’t need to add a bun to the mix. I barely touched the burger, and for once I passed on the Postres.
Our hotel for the night is about 10 miles away from the Camino, so we had a car pick us up and drive us to what is a very charming, very clean, first class B&B run by a charming couple, Bea and Pablo. Casa de la Veiga, is a “Hotel Rural” in Sama de Grada. So far, this is my favorite place that we’ve stayed on our trip. We’re the only guests staying here tonight, so it’s very quiet. We skipped dinner but did have a cheese platter of Asturian cheeses, including the famous Cabrales Blue Cheese (very strong, but delicious if you like blue cheese) and some Rioja tinto vino.
If you ever want to stay in a place that is convenient to the Asturian beaches as well as the Picos de Europa and some of the ancient caves, I’d highly recommend this lovely Inn.
We’ll be picked up tomorrow to go back to Grado to continue our walk where we left off, and we’ll head to Salas on Day 13 of 25. Almost to the half-way mark!!