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.
We started the day
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
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? My guidebook indicated that the peregrino albergue 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 work to catch up on for a
client, so I needed good wi-fi. La Peregrina was recommended. 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 Portugal. It is not much celebrated in the US, but you can
imagine how important it is to the Portuguese. 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.
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.”
Then 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!).
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
exploring today. On the list was the large indoor food market. BUT FIRST:
as I was walking there 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. I think I will see them
I don’t really believe in
coincidences much anymore.
I love markets and
this one was so very colorful and lively. One woman only sold ingredients for fabada!
And the fish!
Makes me wish I had a kitchen.
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 Marisa.
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.