Camino de Santiago Primitivo

Day 20 (plus two rest days)

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 20: La Vega de Sariego—Oviedo ~ 16.8 miles

11 October 2017  

This would turn out to be mostly a long, uninspiring day. Except for the first few miles while I walked and visited with Caitlin, the way had little variety and the last half was on suburban and industrial pavement with little variety. The only upside was that there were few ups and downs.

There was a short stretch in a lovely wooded area where I captured these mushrooms.

Mushrooms on the trail

We started the day with temps 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.

Medieval bridge near Cerdeno
Just before entering Cerdeño, I crossed this medieval bridge.

And then it happened…the hostel in Oviedo I had picked out to stay for a few days was CLOSED and it was almost 7:00 pm. Why do these things happen at the end of a LONG day? Besides that, Gerry and Caitlin had said they would meet me here tonight. I was looking forward to more lovely conversation. Since we had not exchanged contact information, I was REALLY disappointed that I would never see them again.

My guidebook indicated that the peregrino albergue at the local Catholic University would be closed by this time of year, but I decided to try it anyway. When I got there, the hospitera assured me that it is open year-round. I had a bed for one night at least and was grateful for that!

Oviedo is the official start of the Camino Primitivo and many people who are doing just this Camino fly here to begin. At the albergue, I visited with two Australians and one Danish woman who were just starting their Camino. It felt funny to be the Camino “expert” of the group.

12 October 2017

The next morning, I had to leave the peregrino albergue and find another albergue privado where I could stay a couple more nights. I had quite a bit of on-line work to catch up on for a client, so I needed good wi-fi. La Peregrina was recommended by the hospitera at the pilgrim’s alburgue. It turned out to be pretty run down with no kitchen, but I had a room to myself and the wi-fi was good enough for me to upload files and use Skype. Also, it was very cheap: 7 €!

October 12 is Columbus Day in Spain. It is not much celebrated in the US, but you can imagine how important it is to the Spainish. Shops are closed and there are many festivities. I came across these bagpipers in a plaza. Did you know that bagpipes originated here in Asturias, Spain? Evidence of them has been found beginning in the 14th Century.

Even though I worked quite a bit, I had time to go out and explore (and eat!) in this compelling city. I visited the main park, Campo de San Francisco, and sat on a bench catching up on my journal for a couple hours. Then I walked around admiring the public art, especially these captivating statues.

Two statues one of a wealthy woman from the 1800's; the other of a young girl reading a book while walking
Statues of women in Oviedo
Statue of woman photographer

I was intrigued to find this famous sculpture of Woody Allen. He made a movie partially set in Oviedo (Vickie Christina Barcelona) and he fell in love with the city. The plaque nearby quotes him (and can’t you just hear the voiceover?):

“A delicious, exotic, beautiful, clean, pleasant, tranquil and pedestrianised city….As if this world did not exist…Oviedo is like a fairy tale.”

.

Statue of Woody Allen

I explored the neighborhood and discovered a knitting shop (YAY!) that was closed for the holiday (BOO!). But it would be open the next day (YAY!).

Chocolate Cake and Cafe at Brotchen Cafe

Then I came upon the Brótchen Café and enjoyed a huge piece of chocolate cake baked with dark beer and with a cream cheese frosting. I almost stopped the server from adding whipped cream on the side and then came to my senses, “OK!” I laughed. 

It was so rich, I only could eat half of it and packed the other half in my bag for later. All these extra calories don’t seem to matter…I am still losing weight!

13 October 2017

I got some more city exploring in today, between bouts of also getting some work done. On the list was Oviedo’s large indoor food market.

BUT FIRST: As I was walking to the market, looking out for an ATM on the way, I heard, “Cathy!”

At first. I ignored it—who could know me here? When I heard it again, I turned and who was walking toward me but Caitlin, who I met two days earlier!! I could not believe it—the likelihood was so remote that I would meet her and Gerry again, even though I was hoping we would. I had so enjoyed their company. It turned out that I was passing the hotel where she and Gerry were staying. They were sitting by the café window and just happened to look out as I passed. We enjoyed one last café together before they flew back to Ireland and I continued on to the market. This time, we DID exchange contact information. I think I will see them yet again!

I don’t really believe in coincidences much anymore.

Then I was bound for the Mercado El Fontán.  I love markets and this one was so very colorful and lively. One woman only sold ingredients for fabada!

Stall selling only ingredients for fabada at the Central Market in Oviedo

And the fish! Makes me wish I had a kitchen.

Fish at the Central Market in Oviedo
Hams hanging over a stall at the Central Market in Oviedo
Many kinds of mushrooms at the Central Market in Oviedo

Next was an obligatory (!) return to the yarn shop, Lana Y Punto (“Yarn and Stitch”). The shop was not busy and I spent almost an hour visiting with the shopkeeper Marisa.

Colorful yarn I purchased at Lana y Punto at

I purchased a striking ball of multicolored merino/poly blend. Not sure what I am going to do with it, but is sure is pretty and does not take up much room in my pack, where I also have stashed a couple needles and small spindle in case of a fiber emergency. (There’s always room for fiber stuff!!)

For dinner, I entered a restaurant that advertised a menu of fabada and a bottle of cider with arroz con leche for dessert. The fabada was okay, but they obviously added the sausages right before serving because they were cold. I had to pour my own cider and could not even approximate the artistic pour I had witnessed in Vilaviciosa, but it was all good enough.

Tomorrow I would hit the Camino trail once again.

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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!"

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