Camino de Santiago del Norte

Days 14-15: Colombres to Villahormes

This is a camino of gratitude for me. Each day, I choose something I am grateful for in my life and think and journal about it throughout the day. I will share an excerpt from my journal entries at the end of each day’s post.

Day 14: Columbres to Playa de Poo ~  17 miles

4 October 2017

This was a LONG day, but I got my reward in the end!

Also, it was a beautiful day full of so many different sites that it was hard to record them all.

Lonely beach cove along the north coast of Spain
Lovely solitary beach along the coast.

There have been several times when the Camino takes me under freeways spanning gorges. As I walked among these behemoth legs, I wondered what it must have been like for those dwelling in this little farmhouse when the freeway was being built.

Very long legs supporting the freeway overhead.
Old water fountain in Andrin, Spain

When I was in the UK, it was sometimes hard to find a public water fountain to replenish my bottle, but here, I rarely have to carry a lot of water with me. Many small villages in Spain have these water fountains, and sometimes naturally flowing spring water.

In peaceful Andrin I came across a sweet restaurant where I ordered one of my Spanish favorites: Ensalada mixta, a salad with tuna, eggs, blanched asparagus, olives, tomato. It makes a light lunch so that it is easy to continue walking afterwards.

Meal of fresh salad with tuna in Andrin

Next to the restaurant was the old village fountain where the women still sometimes come to do their washing. The men say that they really come to habla, bla, bla…

See the sign near the ceiling with a dog with a  line through him? Many of these washing areas prohibit the washing of dogs and cars! I guess children are fair game.

Traditional washing tank where women used to do laundry

What??? Near the end of the day I walked alongside a golf course. I am not sure that this sign would do any good. By the time you hear the ball, it has probably already bonked you!

Sign next to golf course warning of flying balls

After 17 miles, I reached my albergue for the night in Playa de Poo (pronounced pō). It was a bit off the Camino path and I had to ask directions. No wonder I could not find it, I had to go through a very narrow alley that brought me out near the beach. This is actually one of many surfer hostels you find along the coast, but this one also caters to pilgrims.

David, the hospitero, greeted me warmly, and unlike in most albergues who begin the registration process right away, he said, “First things first…Sit down. Would you like tea? Café? He asked where I was from, how my day was, and I felt like he was truly interested. I ended up in a room of four beds by myself. It is a good time of year to be traveling here. Most pilgrims, surfers, and vacationers have left, but the hostels are mostly still open, so you aren’t stuffed in a room with 5 or more other travelers.

This albergue had so much character. There was a large back yard including an area for chickens. In the morning, I got fresh eggs from those chickens, along with freshly made jams (including fig jam from their fig tree!), and homemade cake.

Images from Albergue Playa de Poo--chickens in the yard, comfortable rooms, nice patio

This lovely home had little alcoves for relaxing. I wished that I had taken my rest day here, but the next day I had to move on. This and the albergue at Boo (pronounced bō) are my two favorites so far.  Boo and Poo!

Drawing on albergue wall showing evolution of the pilgrim
On one of the albergue walls
Camino: Day 14--Journal

Day 15: Playa de Poo to Villahormes  ~  7 miles

5 October 2017

In the morning, it was raining mist, but I wanted to walk down to see the beach and I was so glad that I did, for several reasons.

English speakers would normally pronounce the name of this village as “poo.” Playa means beach. I chuckled at this so many times: how many people would visit a “beach of poo?” But, on the contrary, the beach is sparklng clean!

At first, I was alone and was astounded that the sandy beach and the accompanying cliffs and caves that ran alongside and about a kilometer up the the river that flows into the Bay of Biscay here. The tide was out, so the river meandered through the sandy canyon bottom. Later that day, I would encounter more of these kinds of beaches, which I called alluvial beaches, although I am not sure that is an accurate term.

Alluvial beach near my alburgue at Playa de Poo

I walked a ways upstream and then back down to the ocean. A small tractor with a wagon, and then two much larger ones were grinding their way to the tide lines. The small tractor was accompanied by a man who manually forked red seaweed into the wagon bed. But the large ones backed right down into the waves and then seined seaweed dragging it up onto the beach in huge rolls. I assumed it was for fertilizer, but later learned that it is sold to companies who extract agar-agar from it.

Water tractors harvesting seaweed for agar agar.
Water tractors harvesting seaweed for agar agar.

My topic of gratitude for the day was “for perseverance.” It was appropriate, because, for some reason, I felt tired most of the day. I just wanted to lie down and take nap. At one point finally gave myself a shot of sugar in my tea thermos. (I normally drink my tea black.) It either worked or was a great placebo—at least until I burned it off. For part of the day perseverance and/or sugar was all that kept me going.

I was well into Asturias now and would be for a couple weeks. One thing you find in Asturias is an architecture that is characterized by bright, yet somewhat rich earthy colors. Some of the homes are quite striking. In front of the homes, you usually find a couple palm trees.

Traditional "Indianos" home in Asturias

This style came from the Asturian people who made their fortunes with plantations in the Caribbean in the 16th Century. When they came home, they built large mansions similar to the ones they had left behind complete with two palm trees flanking the front, to remind them of their second homes. As time went by, even middle-class families copied the style. 

As I passed many of these homes—even the modest ones, I could not help but feel saddened by the fact that  these fortunes were made on the backs of slaves in the Caribbean sugar fields. But, I reminded myself, this was no different from the many antebellum homes we have preserved in the southeast US.

Traditional water fountain in the plaza at Naves, Spain
Today, another kind of town fountain in the plaza at Naves, where I stopped for a café con leche.
Camino Day 15 - Journal

Other Blog Posts You May Find Interesting

Hams hanging over a stall at the Central Market in Oviedo

Camino: Day 20

We started the day at about 3º C—pretty cold—but by the time I reached Cerdeño on the outskirts of Oviedo in the late afternoon, I was hot, sticky, and completely wilted. I stopped in a grocery and bought cold water and cold orange juice and downed them all at once in a nearby park before continuing on into Oviedo.

Read More »
Yellow arrow pin given to me at the Monastery

Camino: Days 21–23

But I got to thinking about how taking advantage of this refuge fit in with my gratitude choice for the day—being appreciative of things that happen in my life. If you are appreciative for the offer of a gift or opportunity and accept it, then you honor the giver.

Read More »
Drawing on albergue wall showing evolution of the pilgrim

Camino: Days 14–15

David, the hospitero, greeted me warmly, and unlike in most albergues who begin the registration process right away, he said, “First things first…Sit down. Would you like tea? Café? He asked where I was from, how my day was and I felt like he was truly interested. I ended up in a room of four beds by myself.

Read More »
Picture of Cathy Fulton

Cathy Fulton

I am Cathy Fulton and I became a world nomad in 2014. Traveling has become a way of life for me. Except for the fact that I am a citizen of the United States, I don’t have a residence. I am retired and I like to travel solo and independently. I don’t know how many times I have heard, “You are living my dream.” My reply is, “It doesn’t have to be a dream. It can be a reality!"

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *