Nearly 18 miles today. Seems short, but that was average for the first week through the coastal mountains. Again, not going exactly by the recommended stages in the book, but doing what needs to be done. Tomorrow might be even shorter, but as today is already Wednesday, I need to find some WiFi soon to check on Mass times for this weekend. None today; we are in an old monastery on the outskirts of town.
Two days ago, I left Vittorio and Tash at the monastery in the valley, fully expecting them to catch up to me at some point that day. But they didn’t, and I pushed on to Oviedo alone. I met a man from Spain that night who didn’t even understand my basic Spanish. Up until then I had been at leas least a little understood by everyone I tried to talk to. This was much more difficult, but I’ll chalk it up to him probably not having much contact with foreigners, and the other people interacting with non-native speakers more regularly. Anyway, there were 3 other people at the albergue that night, but in different parts of the dorm and not very social. So, I set off yesterday alone.
And continued all but 10 mins alone. That was when I was overtaken by a very fast retired man from San Sebastian. Nice guy, friendly, and covering way more miles than I. He was at the albergue when I arrived yesterday and shortly thereafter, along came Tash and Vittorio! They had just walked through Oviedo and as I took a slow day, had only been about an hour behind the whole time!
The 4 of us were at that albergue last night and the other man was walking further, so I figured we wouldn’t see him again. But, he ran into another guy in the woods and they were discussing the Camino, and it came up that he had cooked for us the night before. So this second man is at t h e albergue here in the monastery with us and had already heard all about us! Also in this monastery is the man from the other day who doesn’t understand me. Which is surprising as he is on bike and I am 2 days walking from where I saw him last.
Tash and I set off together this morning quite a bit before sunrise. Even needed headlamps to see! But it was a great morning – overcast and chilly enough to be comfortable walking weather. We got through one town and to another by mid morning, so we stopped for a coffee. Then, we reached Grado by noon and I was hoping to find something to eat at their bi-weekly market. Which was more of a things market than a farmer’s market. Three times as many clothing, books, baskets, etc. booths as food booths. And nothing of much interest, so we bought empanadas at the grocery store and walked out of town, up a hill, and to a ridge to sit and eat.
Then things got more challenging. It was great getting a good distance done before lunch and before the sun came out in full force. There were some serious hills today! And we’re not to the toughest ones yet. A good day. A challenging day. And a day that is almost over. Time to go make tuna salad for dinner.
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