Day 10, April 14: Tapia to Ribadeo, New Spanish Region, New Camino

Amazing coffee in bar overlooking beautiful beach

Post by Wynette: We walked about 8 miles today. No drama, but we saw a gorgeous beach. The Camino took us over a little sand and a little boardwalk, over a very long highway bridge, and lots of quiet roads. It was sunny and we were really hot when we got to our hotel in Ribadeo. Before we left our little apartment this morning, we ate fruit and cereal and then around noon found a rickety bench in the shade in a tiny rural village and ate a picnic lunch. Four friendly pilgrims and about six friendly locals passed us while we were eating and just about every one wished us bon apetit or buen provecho.

We have left the Spanish region of Asturias and have entered the region of Galicia. We have left the Camino del Norte and are about to begin the Camino del Mar.

Pretty hotel we passed
600 meter bridge we walked over to cross the estuary that separates Asturias and Galicia.

Natural Salt Water Swimming Pool

Post by Wynette: We saw this on our stroll around Tapia today. It’s situated so it’s protected from the waves but fresh sea water comes into it. We speculated it might be for swimming and would be less cold than the direct ocean, which is very cold here. A man and woman walked by so I decided to ask “is this a pool for swimming?” He said yes. It used to be a place where they farmed shellfish but they stopped doing that and then eventually decided to make a swimming pool out of it. He said (if I understood him correctly) this is very rare in Spain. Maybe one or two others except maybe more in the islands. I asked if very many people swim in it. He said yes but not till the summer.

Kate and Bedbugs

Kate from Poland/London

Post by Wynette: We walked with Kate (I think really Katya or close to that) for a while a few days ago. She is from Poland but has lived in London the last 20 years. She is walking the Camino a week or two at a time, anytime she gets some time off of work. We met the morning after we all stayed in Luarca. We asked her where she stayed there. She laughed and said she would show us a picture. It was of her sleeping bag in a store doorway. It was in a covered alcove so she was protected from the big rain that night. She explained that she doesn’t like to stay in albergues because she’s terrified of getting bedbugs. She said she’d gotten them once and it was painful both having the bites and also having to take all the steps to make sure not to bring them home. I think she occasionally stays in hotels but mostly camps out.

We’ve been lucky not to encounter any bedbugs on any of our Caminos, considering we are in a different place almost every night. I don’t think bedbugs were a big problem on the Camino Frances or Portugués when we did those. I don’t think they are a problem on the Norte now, especially this time of year when there are few pilgrims. But we’ve heard there are now more problems on the Camino Frances. We haven’t stayed in any albergues on the Norte. Mostly pretty nice hotels and such. The day we met Kate we had planned to stay in a certain hotel that night, but when we started seeing that hotel advertising heavily to pilgrims on the trail (the first such advertising we’d seen on this trip) it kind of freaked us out, having so recently heard the bedbug story, and we ended up staying another place.

Hotel people always make us feel welcome, but I wonder if they wonder if we are bringing them bedbugs.

Little Hórreos and Slate Roofs

Little hórreo with slate roof

Post by Wynette: On the first part of this walk, most houses had red clay tile roofs, but now they are mostly black slate. Sometimes they use red clay on the ridge lines. As mentioned before, we see dozens of hórreos every day. They were used in the past to store crops, to keep them dry and protected from rodents. The closest thing we have to these in the states, that I know of, is a corn crib. Now I think the hórreos are used mostly for storage. Many are very old and ramshackle. We’ve started seeing little dollhouse-sized ones that are close replicas of the big ones. Very cute. Note also in above photo the Camino shell on house wall and statue of St. James (Santiago). I imagine it is a source of pride to live on Camino.

Day 8, April 11: Villapedre to Navia

Walking on a little road

Post by Wynette: We walked 7.2 miles today. That includes 2 km round-trip to/from the laundry after we got to Navia. And we didn’t get lost or anything, so it was an easy day. Mostly on quiet roads like above photo. A little was on muddy trails through a pretty bosque and about 100 yards was through a field on an 8 inch wide trail pushing through what we are pretty sure were stinging nettles. (Photo below.) Our legs were stinging a bit at the end, even though we had on long pants. Still feel a little itchy. I can’t imagine going through there in shorts. Surely they mow a larger path through this section in the busy, warmer season. As Charlie said, it was very nettlesome.

Nettie in the nettles

Charlie in the nettles

Navia is a little town of 10,000. Towns this size in this part of Spain are so vibrant and alive. Of course, they seem huge to us after the tiny villages we walk through. Below is the ayuntamiento, or city hall.

Ayuntamiento de Navia

We checked into our hotel then walked to restaurant for a delicious menu del día and then walked to the laundry which was in a large supermarket. The sign in photo below says While you do your shopping or have a coffee, do your washing.

Doing the laundry

Day 7, April 10: Luarca to Villapedre

About a third way through the tunnel

Post by Wynette: We walked 9 miles today. We spent an anxious 45 minutes on a tiny fraction of those miles. We sort of got lost. We have some GPS tracks that supposedly someone else has walked before and labeled as the Camino. We came to a fork where the Camino went right and our track went left. The track looked much more direct so we decided to follow the track.

The track took us over the large A8 freeway where the A8 went way below us through a long tunnel. This was a rugged dirt road we were on, but so far so good. Then the GPS track took us to a 50 yard long concrete tunnel that went under the A8, far below the A8. (We couldn’t even hear the A8 at this point.) It looked as though no one had gone this way for a long time, but we’d already come down a long downhill to get here and didn’t want to backtrack.

So we went into the dark tunnel. Even though we weren’t far from the A8, it seemed miles away and everything seemed remote and foresty. Of course, we figured there’d be a nice trail at the end of the tunnel. There was a walkway through the tunnel with a small stream flowing beside it. We couldn’t see but used our phone flashlight. We finally got to the other end. The walkway ended and the stream widened and we discovered there was no path at the end of the tunnel. Only a thicket of spiny gorse and thorny blackberries. At first it seemed impassable but man we didn’t want to backtrack at this point. We could tell from our Google map that there was a trail not far away. We managed to find a path of sorts through the thicket. We were wearing our rain coats and that helped.

Emerging from the thicket

After pushing through this for about 15 minutes we spotted a more open area down the hillside. Charlie headed for it and, because the hillside was uneven and he was top-heavy with his backpack, he fell down twice. There was so much vegetation it cushioned his falls. Luckily no injuries. In the more open area, we walked through viney ferns for a while and then spotted the trail. We headed for it and, to our surprise, first thing we saw was a Camino post! The Camino took us down a rocky creek bed but the Camino never looked so good. OK, we have had enough adventures for a while.

Back on the Camino

Pote Asturiano

Post by Wynette: Some variation of this stew is a first course choice on just about every menu del día we’ve had. I’m not sure how appetizing this photo makes it look, but it is delicious. The stew usually has fava beans, two or three types of sausages, greens, a hearty broth, and often potatoes. I’ve asked about the greens and they always say berza which Google translates to cabbage, but, of course, it’s not what we call cabbage. We think they might be collard greens. The Asturians are very proud of their food, as is every region in Spain (and probably the world). They often proudly describe a dish as típico, meaning it’s typical of the region.

Day 6, April 9: Cueva to Luarca

About to descend into Luarca

Post by Wynette: Today was another easy day. We walked 6.5 miles, not too much up and down except for final steep decent into Luarca (photo above). Here is the track. Luarca is a pretty and vibrant town of about 10,000. We walked to our hotel, left our stuff, immediately went to the harbor area looking for a good seafood restaurant. (That walk around Luarca added another 2.5 miles to our day.) We had a seafood lunch that couldn’t be beat. The waiter (probably the restaurant owner) gave Charlie a lesson in how to drink sidra. This is a video of that. Might take a minute to load. But Charlie learned his lesson well. (Another video.) Charlie wanted me to explain that the sidra is a bit sour.

Scallops for lunch