Walked from: Oviedo Cathedral
Walked to: San Juan de Villapañada
When: 12 October 2019
(Image: View from tonight’s hostel)
What a stellar start to my third Camino route. An overcast morning gave way to a beautiful sunny afternoon and a really fun evening.
I started late. I had a poke around the Cathedral in the morning, waiting for the tourism office to open at 10am so I could buy (although it turned out to be free – result!) the all important credential – basically a passport you get ‘stamped’ as you progress along the Camino. It gives you access to the municipal hostels, sometimes gets you huge meals for a low price, and is needed for your completion certificate at the end – the one that absolves all your sins.
(Image: back on the Camino again!)
Leaving Oviedo took concentration – the way marking is always harder to follow in towns – but just one hour after leaving the city centre I hit countryside and the not-so-sweet smell of manure, as provided copiously by the local cows. I saw a few people as I was leaving, but walked on my own for the first few hours.
The route got really interesting, and much more sociable, after Gallegos, when a steep drop down a conker-strewn path into a ravine was quickly followed by a stiff haul back up it and towards Venta del Escamplero – which was around the time I met my first group of fellow walkers. A few chats, a quick lunch stop along the lovely Nalón river, a much needed lemonade at the cafe by Peñaflor’s Romanesque bridge and suddenly the various chats and the really lovely landscape had got me up quite a few hills and within spitting distance of the municipal hostel (albuergue) in the hamlet of San Juan de Villapañada, where I had one of the most fun evenings I’ve ever had on the Camino, thanks to the gracious hosting of Domingo and the friendliness of my fellow guests.
(Image: the wonderful Domingo serving up dinner)
Am absolutely cracking first day. My stomach is going to bed groaning with the weight of the pasta from the communal meal.
(Image: view from the hostel at night)