Day 13 – Netflix and chill

Villaviciosa rest day: 0.66 miles 🙂

My feet continued to give me trouble all through the night last night so I had pretty much decided before I even woke up this morning that I needed a rest day.

Last year these things, rest days, didn’t exist. I walked a good pace every day. But this year they seem to be all the rage, everyone I have spoken to seems to have a couple of days walking followed by a rest. Perhaps it is the weather this year, long hot spells followed by long wet spells, it has certainly slowed the pace down. Or perhaps it is just another way that the Camino has changed. I wasn’t going to succumb to the hype but my left leg wouldn’t even let me stand on it and the torrential rain outside, forecast for most of the day, convinced me to be lazy. I actually felt quite guilty for not pushing on, but as I keep saying I have time and perhaps I did need to suck up some of the culture rather than watch it flash past in a blur.

At first I hated the idea. I honestly couldn’t imagine not doing anything. But then you realise that even though you are hundreds of miles from home you can still have your entire CD collection (Spotify) almost your entire film/TV collection (Netflix) and your entire book collection (Kindle) at hand. So it didn’t take long to occupy myself.

I had breakfast included on the hotel bill so I sat talking to another couple of Yanks who turned out to be IBM programmers from the 70’s/80’s, great conversation for a geek like me. I stepped out of the hotel once, for some lunch and the roadway was flooded. You can’t quite see it properly in the photo but it was a bit wet to say the least. It would not have been a good day to walk, fit or not.

Here’s the rather lovely place that I stayed in, wonderful hosts.

Have a plan for tomorrow, 16 miles to Gijon. More rain forecast though 🙂

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Day 12 – For now I smell the rain, and with it pain, and it’s headed my way… ramble on.

Colunga to Villaviciosa: 13.45 miles

As soon as I hit the pavement today it didn’t take me long to realise something had gone wrong over night. My feet hurt, really hurt. Blisters I can deal with, that pain goes away after a while as I have been use to it since day one. But my feet hurt way beyond the blisters. Deep muscle pain and my ankles are on fire. Okay, tough day ahead.

This is the Bates Motel /  Hammer House of Horror I stayed in, allegedly alone, last night. But it was complete with a mystery guest who was heard but never seen.

The whole town had the look and feel of the old wild west.

Decided on a short’ish day today because the pain wasn’t going to go away and I have time in the schedule. No point permanently damaging anything.

Few hills climbed and a lot of woodland to navigate. A couple of long distance glimpses at the ocean but again most of this day was inland.

Well the pain didnt get any better so I gave in after 14 miles. Luckily the rain held off until 5 minutes after I rolled in to town.
205 miles now in total. If I do 15 again tomorrow then that matches last year’s trip in the exact same amount of days. 

I probably have 1 more day of walking after that and then I’m just going to collapse and go on holiday, for 2 days 🙂

Then the final afternoon of walking will be back to the airport on Sunday night. 

I have some breathing space and really not entirely sure what to do with it. I might even stay right here an extra day. My feet are dead and it’s a beautiful town.

Lovely hotel too, for £20/night.

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Day 11 – Angry skies.

Ribadesella to Colunga: 15.19 miles

​I hear you are all still baking in the UK? Well I have traditional English weather right here 🙂 

Wet weather gear required for the next few days. Thunder and lightning storms for most of today. Angry skies and angry seas!

Day 11 done. 15 miles on the clock. Close to hitting the 200 mile total.

I think I will walk until Friday to beat last year’s mileage of 220 miles. Then relax by the Sea for the weekend, probably to dry out before flying home.

Remember that house last year that I stayed in where I was all alone in a huge place? Same thing again tonight. The difference being that it is the centre of town but a really, really old building. The town itself looks like the O.K. Corral ( Google that if you are too young!)

The room is huge and the house is 4 floors with dozen of rooms, but it’s just me. Must be 100+ years old. Wonderful architecture,  sloping wooden floors, it looks and feels like the whole place could collapse at any minute. The door is about as secure as match wood and it should most definitely be haunted,  if you believe in that sort of thing. I’ll let you know tomorrow and take pictures.

EDIT: It’s now late, dark, and lightning. This place is like a flippin Hammer Horror film (Google that too if you must!)

EDIT EDIT: The bloody roof is leaking!!!

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Day 10 – In grand company…

Llanes to Ribadesella: 23.47 miles

I’m not sure how much sense this is going to make because I just got back from a great meal out, joined by my new good friends Janet & Steve from So-Cal. A starter, main meal, icecream, whole bottle of local rose wine and a coffee for £11 including tip!! I frickin love this town 🙂

It was a tough walk today but the company of good friends made it easier. 23 miles of more grey roads and a couple of good beaches  a hard slog in high temperatures, but we made it: “Just around the next corner will be the Ocean” was a wish we all had, from half way in. Those corners just dragged on and on but we finally made it.

Found a town called Poo! It wasn’t shit 🙂

Ended up in a  nice town too. Great old Hotel that I am staying in. €48 including breakie.

The weather is turning again tomorrow, I have 4 days of rain to look forward to. But, I could stay here! I have time in my schedule and there are things to see. I’ll see what kind of weather I wake up to. 

I’m beginning to appreciate this year that it is more about the experience than the goal. The goal has changed. It’s not a goal of achieving a massive hike to the next town. It’s about enjoying some of it, don’t just survive it, and with other good like-minded people. People who I would never have met before have instantly become good friends. This is the beauty of randomness. The beauty of good karma.

Today I needed help to find a place to stay and there is always a local on hand who will stop and make sure you do not feel all alone is a strange town. A random guy stopped me, mid-20’s and walking a push chair containing his young child. He gave great advice, even called friends over, and made sure I knew where to go. So much good advice and I would not have survived without it.  Random strangers are the good in this World. I love it. Every day someone has helped me. It renews some faith that this World is not at all bad.

 Zen lecture over!  Here are some pics 🙂

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Day 9 – Roll the dice…

Unquera to Llanes: 20.74 miles

Truth be told, the last couple of days have really dragged because a lot of the walking was road walking. Sometimes it feels so boring and grey. They were punctured by the occasional stroll past a beach, but it always saddened me to turn inland. Climb another 1,000ft hill, just to scramble down the other side on to another road.

On paper, today was another of those days. With the heat, I had started to question what the fuck I was doing here.

You think, with all the time alone, you have time to think! But you don’t.  You have to concentrate on surviving and just figure out what to do for the forthcoming miles. Go from stop to stop. Find a bed, collapse in to it, rinse and repeat.

Thus, it can get boring and each day rolls on to the other.

The moral of this story: Push through the shit, survive, don’t give up, and you get a reward!

Today was a big reward. 

About 2 miles in, hilly and hot, I descended down another old dirt track on to another roadway and, according to the book, had 3 miles of more poxy road to the next stop. However, someone had painted a yellow arrow diversion simply adding “Costa” next to it.

Hmm… Costa! Either a great coffee shop awaited? Or my limited Spanish told me, and it doesnt take a genius to figure it out, that this also means “Coast”.

Fuck it, I thought, let’s follow it. Screw the guide book. What’s the worst that could happen? Well I could get lost, be miles off a known track, trip, break an ankle, dehydrate and someone finds my dead rotten bloated corpse in 6 weeks time, depending on which one of you misses me enough to call for help 🙂 But, yeah, what’s the worst that could happen!

Wow! Just WOW!

The next 4 miles were just breathtaking. The “Costa” led to a local footpath along the cliff edge. It was outstanding. Some of the pictures are below, but I must have taken 200 at least. I just kept stopping, and sitting, and staring, and listening to the beauty right in front on me. I thanked Neptune and his mates for creating such an amazing image. I had the biggest smile on my face the whole time. This was a massive high. This is the right time to think. This reminds you what it, and everything, is all about.

Eventually, sadly, this route came to an end and I had to get back on track and head in to town to find my stable for the night.

Bumped in to Janet & Steve again, we had a brief encounter a few days ago. Got talking to them and decided on dinner together. A couple of kind, cool, chilled out, Americans. All in all a great day was had.

That sums up the Camino. Some days are shit. It’s just bloody hard work. You have no idea why you are there. But the good days more than make up for the bad.

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Day 8 – By air, land and sea…

Comillas to Unquera: 19.44 miles

Today had a bit of everything. Long romantic strolls on the beach to see the sunrise, a great view of the Pico’s mountain range, fresh clean air at 1,400ft, grande cafe con leche for breakfast on a different beach, and lots of sea views.

A long slog through the day though. 20 miles with the Sun showing its face again and the heat was back on. Everything is now starting to hurt but fortunately you can fight through it during the day. Stopping is the worst thing. Everything starts to seize up. Beer, as usual, is a great coolant and muscle lubricant.

This will probably be the last Camino I do, which is a shame. It’s quite clear this year that it has become popular. I see more perigrenos every day than I saw in the whole trip last year. It’s too popular now. I pass through towns that appear to have thrown away their traditions to become part of the commercial camino. Time to find a new adventure.

2km short of target today but found a nice place to stay and wanted to take advantage of it, and the heat was draining the life out of me with every step over 15 miles. 

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Day 7 – Back to the Ocean

Santillana del Mar to Comillas: 17.97 miles

Day 7 done. Got a place right on the beach tonight, can hear the waves crashing on the beach outside 🙂 Expensive but worth it. I missed the coast yesterday so this makes up for it.

This side of the Camino is definitely more expensive than last year. Also a lot more people here, mostly Krauts and Yanks 🙂 There appears to be a lot of new companies set up to provide all inclusive Camino packages. Not only do I think this takes the fun and adventure away from the whole thing but it appears to have led to some commercialisation, and therefore a rise in prices 😦

Nice walking today. Dry and reasonably cool, about 23° mostly over cast so no new sunburn 🙂

Got lost a couple of times today but that’s no bad thing,  I found a local trail that gave me a better view of the coast.

Here’s a quick summary of the week so far:-

Distance travelled: 116 miles

Ascents/Descents: 11,000ft total

Calories burnt: 21,544

Beers consumed: 18

Coffee’s consumed: 43

Good folks met: 12

Weird folks met: 3

Views appreciated: Hundreds

Blisters: 10

Sunburn level: Sore 

Girls kissed: Classified

This is the town where I stayed yesterday:-

And here’s the town where I’m staying tonight:-

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