My Camino Route in 2016

My Camino Route in 2016
This year, I will be walking Camino Madrid from El Escorial through Segovia and Valladolid to Sahagun. I will have a few more days of walking and am currently thinking I might then walk from Astorga to Zamora on the portion of the Via de la Plata that I did not walk in 2014. In all it w=should be about 18 days and somewhere between 250 and 300 miles of walking.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Vilalba 29 September

Originally I planned a short walking day of ten miles to the next albergue as that walk was almost all steep uphill, an elevation gain of about 1600 feet. Starting at 7:30, I arrived at the albergue in Gonton at 11 am, but it was closed and would not open until 1 pm. So I decided to keep walking until the next albergue in Vilala. The rest of the walk was some up and down, but not too bad. Since this is Sunday, most restaurants and all grocery stores are closed. It was a sparsely populated section, anyway, so no place to stop. Even here on the outskirts of Vilalba, nothing is open, so will rely on my cache of grocery store food today and tonight. Total mileage today was 21 miles.


A wooded path on today's walk- many times these are sunken 10 or more feet below the land, sometimes with stone walls, as if they have been used for hundreds of years, which they probably have been.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Mondeñado 28 September

I decided to walk a little longer than normal today, about 18 miles. While much of the terrain today was up and down (very little of Spain seems to be flat), tomorrow's walk will be really steep up in comparison, so I have a walk of 10 miles planned for then.

It rained hard last night, but I was lucky and there was not so much as a sprinkle until after I arrived at the albergue today. Of course, it rained after I hung up my clothes, so they are now hanging by my bed. Much of the walk today was through farmed forests of eucalyptus and the moisture made everything smell good. I walked most of the without seeing any other walkers.


Walking through the eucalyptus farms


Man taking his donkey out to graze.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Vilela 27 September


The very large Riá Ribadeo as seen from the very long bridge over it.


The view outside the albergue window of fabadas beans. It was raining hard when I took this photo.


The view outside the albergue in Vilela. This is the road we will start on tomorrow.









The morning walk today was confusing, as the albergue at Tapia was on an alternate camino route. There were at least three routes given to the bridge going into Ribadeo, but I ended up doing none of them, just a combination of walking in the direction that I thought was correct, but with some consultation with my guidebooks and the map on Pocket Earth (highly recommended Ipad/Iphone app) It was about 7 or 8 miles into Ribadeo, including a walk over the Ria de Ribadeo on a bridge that was nearly a kilometer long. The walk was easy and mostly fairly level, just confusing, because you had to get to the bridge as it was the only way over the water and into Ribadeo. Once in Ribadeo, I found a cafe for a cup of coffee and a small bocadillo, while I caught up on email, etc., with the free wi-fi. There is no wi-fi here in Vilela, so this will be posted a day late. After a once again confusing exit from Ribadeo, I finally found the camino waymarks for the next 8 km (5 mile) stretch into the wide spot in the road, Vilela. Except for a few houses and a little chapel, there is only a bar/cafe and the albergue. I arrived here at 1:30 pm, first one in, but no electricity. After my shower and clothes washing, I walked to the bar to see why no power. Turns out they are working on the transmission lines in the area and the power should be back by 4 pm. I sure hope so, as the bar/cafe is not serving food right now because of the outage. This is cow country, too, as so much of Asturias and Galicia is, and there are a million flies around, can not seem to escape them. Oh well, at least no mosquitos. By the way, when I walked across that long bridge into Ribadeo, I walked out of Asturias and into the province of Galicia. Also, the camino is now turning away from the coast and over the mountains to Santiago. I got my first taste as it was mostly uphill this afternoon. Tomorrow's walk will be even steeper as the mountains come into view. Oh, and one more thing, it rained lightly for most of the afternoon walk, enough to put on my pack cover, but not bad enough to require my rain poncho. The forecast for the next few days is for off and on rain showers.

Three hours later, 5:30 pm- Now it is pouring rain. Good that I don' have to be out walking in it, hope it clears up tomorrow. Three hours till the cafe opens for menu del dia.

All of a sudden I got the bright idea that the cafe might have wi-fi,perhaps it was just off when the power was off before. Sure enough they do, so I can post this today.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Tapia de Casariego 26 September

Todays walk was about 17 or 18 miles, not flat, but mostly not too steep as we are still on the coast line of the Mar Cantabrico, the north coast of Spain. One more day along the coast and the trail turns inland towards Santiago. I figured that I passed the 250 km or 150 mile mark on my walk today.

Todays albergue here in Tapia de Casariego is on a bluff overlooking the sea, very picturesque, but on the outskirts of the town, with a steep walk up to the center. The town itself seems pretty dead, but the tourist season is over, so not unexpected.


The port town of Navia, my morning cafe con leche stop. The RióNavia enters the sea here.


The view from our aslbergue tonight in Tapia de Casariego.

Piñera 25 September

Since the albergue in Almuna was only about 9 miles. i decided to walk on to the next albergue in Piñera, but it meant a walk of 20 miles, even though there was a bit more level ground today. The albergue was in an old converted school building and was typical of the government owned ones, adequate, but nothing to compare to some of the privately owned ones.


A lunch snack enroute today in the delightful port town of Luarca. A large mug of beer and a tortilla bocadillo.


Here is a new autovia under construction. They don't fool around, I am impressed.


The converted school house that was our albergue tonight. It smelled like stinky old cheese after one "pilgrim" arrived- I think he was a homeless person looking for free shelter for the night. We had to oppen all the windows to make it tolerable for sleeping.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Cadavedo 24 september

The worry today was whether I could get a bed in the 10 place albergue here in the small village of Cadavedo. So I walked on pretty steadily for the 15 miles to arrive here today. The walking was mostly on wooded roads with occasional views of the sea. The sea and the sky was so close to the same color that it was often difficult to tell where one ended and the other started. Anyway, I was the third person in here, just after a Spanish couple about my age.

After the usual shower and clothes wash, I went to the restaurant across the street and promptly had food coma for the second day in a row. My primer plato was fabadas asturianas, a dish that I have tried to reproduce at home. To find it done right, I guess you have to be in Asturias, and this place did it right. Large white beans, with the classic addition of onions, chorizo, morcilla (blood sausage), and salt pork, all seasoned with olive oil and paprika. I noticed the salt pork was much meatier than we seem to be able to find at home, plus I have been afraid to try it with the morcilla. The morcilla added some good flavor and taste, so perhaps I need to try some as well next time. The segundo plato was a light breaded white fish stuffed with a thin slice of ham inside the filets. I don't know how they did it, but it, too, was delicious.

Tomorrow my choices are to walk about 8 miles to the port city of Luarca or to go for about 20 miles to Pinera. I guess I will decide then. It is getting a bit cloudy, windy, and cool. Forecasts for the next week along the coast are for chances of rain,so I will need to be prepared for walking in the rain, which is never fun.



My Fabadas Asturianas



A view of the coast line on today's walk


The pilgrim


A view inside the restaurant where I had my mid day meal.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Soto de Luiña 23 September

Today is my rest day so I walked only 7 or 8 miles to the town of Soto de Luiña. This seems to be the perfect little camino town. Not too big, but big enough to have a good grocery store, pharmacy, several restaurants, and other stores, along with a centrally located albergue. The waymarking of the path today was unusually poor. Several times the yellow arrows indicated a path away from the highway. When I took the path, it usually forked within a 100 meters or so, but there were no more arrows to indicate the direction. I mostly just turned around back to the road that I knew would lead me to this town. The weather continues to be perfect shorts and t shirt weather, warm but not hot and so far no rain. Tomorrow I will be back on track with a 14 mile walk to Cadavedo.

I am writing this up in a restaurant as I finish my afternoon menu del dia. This was the best meal yet, with a primer plato of patatas con pulpo- a potato soup with octupus flavored with paprika and saffron. The segundo plato was grilled sardines and the dessert a tarta con queso (cheesecake with berry topping).


A typical walk on the road, with another pilgrim ahead.


Also not much room to walk on this bridge, but at least separated from traffic.


You gotta admire their audacity in leveling out the autopistas by raising them high over the valleys.


My patatas con pulpo

Sunday, September 22, 2013

El Pito 22 September

The next albergue from Aviles was 40 km or 24 miles, a bit too far for one days walk right now. So I walked about 15 or 16 miles to the little village of El Pito, just past Soto del Barco and Muros del Nalon. Tomorrow will be my rest day with only an 8 mile walk to Soto de Luina.

On the Salvador, all the walkers were Spanish. Here on the Norte, most seem to be Germqn speaking, plus some Spanish.I don' think that I have met a native English speaking peregrino in a week of walking! Weather is perfect- cool and foggy in the morning and warming up into the 80's by the afternoon.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Áviles September 21

Another longer day than I wanted at this time, about 29 km or 18 miles. Most of it was on pavement, too,ugh. At least the elevation changes were not as bas as the previous days. Áviles is a seaport town on the northern coast of Spain. For the rest of the camino,I will stop heading north and turn west along the coast until it is time to go back over the mountains to Santiago.

I had a hamburger with bacon and fried egg and a large beer for lunch,. I know its weird, but it just sounded good. I got some tortilla at the grocery and will try cooking it later for dinner. The problem now is to find wifi to get all my stuff done. So far, I have not been successful. Maybe I will walk down by the port and see what happens.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Oviedo 20 September

I shared a cafe con leche in a little bakery with Axel this morning before he headed of on the way to Leon and I on my way to Oviedo. It was a long walk at 34 km, or 20 miles. And most of it was on the highway, watching all the time for approaching cars and smelling exhaust fumes.The first 12 km was nicely gentle downslope along the Rió Caudal, but the rest was a series of steep ups and downs into the valley of the Rió Nalón. It was a pretty grueling day. The Camino del San Salvador is definitely the most difficult of the ones that I have completed.

I arrived at the albergue in Oviedo about 3 pm, just after it opened. I was lucky in coming across it as I was making my way towards the spires of the cathedral. It turns out they moved the albergue from the location shown on my three year old map, so it was pure coincidence that I walked past it. After shower, grocery shopping for tomorrow, and clothes washing, I went to view the Cathedral del Salvador. I love cathedrals, even though I am not a religious person. It was amazing that they built these magnificent places almost a thousand years ago, very moving to visit them. Right now, I am in a bar with "zona wifi gratis" publishing this report and getting caught up on my other email, all for the cost of a glass of vino tinto at €1.20 (about $1.50). Later on, when the restaurants open at 8 pm, I will wander around for a good menu del dia, since I arrived here too late for a mid day meal. Life on the camino in España can be grueling, but also very good.

I am now finished with the Camino del San Salvador- it was 5 days of walking and 72 miles. Tomorrow I will start walking on the Camino del Norte to Avilés.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Pola de Lena September 19

Today's route was 15 miles, but it seemed to be all either steep uphill or steep downhill. Plenty of exercise, but why can it not be more gradual sometimes. I think they want to keep us away from the highway, but walking through a narrow canyon means we have to walk up and down the sides of it to get away from the highway. I guess it is better than walking on pavement and smelling Diesel fumes all day.

I got into the albergue here in Pola de Lena about 1:30, then had a mid day menu del dia ( lentils with potatoes and baked chicken) with the Spanish man that i met two years ago on the Camino Primitivo. Then another amazing coincidence happened late afternoon in the albergue- in walked Axl, a German that I met in Portugal two years ago on the Camino Portugues. Marge and I shared a meal with him then, but he is a fast walker and I did not see him again. He is still walking on paths all over the world, including the pilgrimage trail in Norway and in the Negev desert in Israel. He is walking the Camino San Salvador in reverse towards Leon, then the Camino Frances, so I'll probably not see him again. Two big coincidences is too much!

I'm having trouble with Google's game of uploading photos to Picasa before I can load them on my blog, so will just go ahead and post this, then try to add photos later.

Pajares, September 18

Last night we were down to four people in the albergue and one of them wants to walk farther today, but we have one who walked from Pola de Gordon, so we still have four tonight. So far, I have met only Spanish pilgrims and all of them seem to be very competent hikers with no problems. I have no blisters and do not expect any, but my usual problem is happening with toenails. So far, two are loosening or turning blue and I will probably lose them. No one that I have met here speaks more than a few words of English, so my limited repertoire of Spanish is getting a workout. I know I'm messing up my verb endings and my vocabulary is limited, but I try. Plus they speak so fast and my hearing is not so good, so that adds to my problem. It's funny, but the new pilgrim here tonight remembered me from the Camino Primitivo two years ago. It's a small world!

Today's walk was a shorter one at 8 1/2 miles, but it was all most all either steep uphill the first half of the walk or steep downhill on the last half. The trail was covered in small loose stones and little clumps of stickery bushes, which did not help. Going downhill on the real steep parts is almost as hard as uphill. Uphill gets you breathing hard and your heart pumping. But downhill can be very hard on the knees and leg muscles, and for me, the toes and toe nails.

Anyway, the scenery was very beautiful. We passed the highest elevation on the Camino San Salvador at 4800 feet. Also we left the province of Castilla y Leon and are now in the province of Asturias. And have completed just over half of the 120 km. camino. I am aiming to be in Oviedo in two more days.

I was lucky to find wi-fi last night, but I searched the whole village to see if I could find a signal and there are no unsecured ones. So this will post at least a day late. The only cafe is closed for their vacation, but the hospitelera cooked three of us a good meal of lentejas con chorizo (cooked lentils with chorizo sausage), salad, pork chops, bread and wine.

Tomorrow will be a longer walk at about 16 miles, but will be mostly downhill and into a larger town.


The mountain pass on the road going into
asturias. The pass that we walked over on the trail was higher yet

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Poladura de la Tercia, September 17

First an addendum to yesterday: There ended up being 8 people, all men, in the albergue last night. 6 of them were out past 11 pm, but they came in so quietly, I barely heard them.

Today's walk was pretty brutal, mostly because I'm not yet in as good shape as I should be and, hopefully, will be in a few more days. I always thought it would be nice if a trail did not have constant ups and downs, but now I'm not so sure. This walk was a constant uphill for twelve miles, including an elevation gain of 1000 feet in the last two miles of the 12. It ended with a steep downhill for the last three miles. Those steep two uphill miles were rough with mostly loose rocks and stones for a trail. I was glad to get to the summit and start down.

I am in the little village of Poladura de la Tercia. It has an 8 place albergue and a church, but no stores or cafes. I did bring plenty of food (which definitely weighed my pack down) and had canned alubias (white beans) with chorizo tonight. If I can find wi-fi, which is doubtful, I will post this today. Otherwise, there will be two or three posts a fews days from now.

Tomorrow's walk will be shorter at about 8 1/2 miles, but will have a steep ascent to the highest point on this camino. After that it will be mostly downhill to Oviedo.


Some photos from today's walk. The nice lady in the Casa Rural let me use their wi-Fi.

Monday, September 16, 2013

La Robla

Leaving Woodland Friday morning, I arrived in Madrid Saturday morning. Then a long wait at the airport for the bus to León. At least it was a Supra bus, meaning free food and drink (including wine and beer) on board. Arrived around 7 pm for a short walk to my pensión. On Sunday it was a rest up day, but I also met up with Austrian (Gerhard and Chris) and German (Renate and Uwe) friends, all of whom I met 3 years ago on the Camino Portugues. They just walked into León on the Camino Francés, then will take a train to Santiago to walk the Camino Finisterra. We spent a leisurely afternoon and evening visiting the cathedral and enjoying a meal together, getting caught up on old times.
Me, Gerhard, Renate, Uwe, and Chris

Off the asphalt and onto some good hiking

The view back to Leon

A nice walk through some Holm Oaks


Today I started my own Camino in León about 8 am. The first 7 or 8 km were the usual dreary suburban sidewalks of most large cities. Eventually, the camino became a rocky dirt path leading away from the city. Some was open scrub brush and some nicely shaded oaks. The middle 16 or so km was on a rocky path with not another person around, except in some of the small villages I passed through. There were a few steep ascents and descents today but nothing too long as the path mainly went uphill following the Rió Berengsa. Total elevation gain was about 1300 feet, but the net gain was only 400 feet. Total walk was 28 km or about 17 miles. Not bad for 6 hours of walking on this first camino day by such an old 64 year old. Sure I am tired and a bit sore, but that is to be expected.

I arrived at the albergue about 2 pm, but everything was locked up with a telephone number that one must call to have it opened. A problem since I do not have a phone that works in Spain. While i was pondering what to do next, another walker showed up, luckily a Spaniard from Alicante, also walking this camino. Of course, he did have a cell phone, so the problem was solved. So far, we are the only two people in this albergue, quite a difference from the hundreds of pilgrims each day on the Camino Frances.

Tomorrow will be a more difficult day It will be 15 miles, but I will really get into the mountains with an elevation gain of 1600 feet, most of it in one long steep climb in the middle of the walk. Weather has been good, very cool in the mornings, with highs in the 70's in the afternoon, nice breeze blowing, too. However, the midweek forecast is for possibility of rain showers.


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Almost ready

Almost ready now with most of the last minute preparations done Will be posting from Spain soon.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

On on my fourth Camino soon

I will be leaving on September 13 for another Camino, my fourth one, in Spain. This time I plan to walk at least 400 miles and on a different route than previously. I plan to start from the northern meseta city of Leon and walk the mountainous Camino del Salvador to the Oviedo. From there, I will continue on the portion of the Camino del Norte that I have not previously walked. This will be along the northern Spanish coast until it turns inland and back over the mountains to Santiago de Compostela.

I have been preparing by doing a lot of walking around Woodland on the levees of Cache Creek, Yolo Bypass, Ridge Cut Slough, and Sacramento River. To get some mountain practice, I have also been going on walks in the Cache Creek Wilderness in the Coastal Range upstream from Rumsey Canyon. This has included a few times on the Blue Ridge Trail from Cache Creek low water bridge to Fiske Peak, a strenuous 2200 elevation gain in four miles, followed by a reverse descent. Mostly I walk along, but have had some walking partners, including Matt Boehm, Ed Morris, and Marlene Hanson, who is now on her own camino in Spain

I will try to post daily on my walk, but may miss a day here and there when I can not find internet access. For those who already follow my blog, you should continue to receive an email each time I post. For those who are not yet following my blog, it is easy to do so. Just enter your email at the "Follow by Email" link on the main page of this blog. If you want to comment on any of my posts, please feel free to do so.


One of my favorite local hiking spots, a springtime shot of the Fremont Weir State Wildlife Area along the Sacramento River south of Knights Landing


A view of Rumsey Canyon and the Capay Valley from fiske Peak on the Blue Ridge Trail in Cache Creek Wilderness

Thanks for watching and I look forward to sharing my walking experiences with you.