Thursday, May 2, 2024

Spain's Camino Primitivo, Day 3: Salas to Tineo

On Day 3 of my Camino journey, Antonio and I started a little later than we had the day before.  Nagore had already left, and much like the day before, we found her along the way and hiked together for the last part of the day's walk.  

Unlike the previous day, our elevation gain was entirely at the beginning of the day and then remained fairly constant after the initial climb.  

I was starting to develop a theory about our route.  It seems that much of the western portion of the route was somewhat near a relatively new divided, limited access highway.  Also nearby was the local highway that the new highway superscedes.  We were on the original highway, sometimes dating back to Roman days based on signs at some of the bridges.  These routes are now used by pilgrims and sometimes farm tractors.  

The bridge below is a little more recent, as the sign states it was built in the 17th-18th centuries.

After an intial climb through the forest on the old road, we came out to the a newer road that is still used for vehicles, with the new superhighway well above our location.

We passed through Bodenaya, with its albergue that was not yet open for the season.  But a sign indicated that I was now 256 km from Santiago - the first of these signs I would see along my route.  And I had progressed almost 50 km already!  

In the fog, we passed several other albergues along our route, but I don't think that these were open yet, either.  Because of the fog and the fact that this was a shorter day than the previous two, there really weren't many landmarks of note along the way this day!

We stopped for lunch next to a fountain and an empty vending machine.  I was still working on the baguette I bought way back in Oviedo.  During lunch, up strolled Nagore!  I'm not sure how we passed her!  But she walked with us for the rest of the day and stayed in the same municipal hostel we slept in.

During the afternoon, we came across the first church that was open to pilgrims.  I took photos of every church along my journey and tried the doors to a good many of them, but most were locked when I passed by.  I was grateful for the opportunity to see the inside of a church and add a stamp to my passport.

Along the way, we passed a small sign advertising the municipal albergue in Tineo, our goal for the day.  This was my favorite sign on the entire journey, featuring a "superhero Jesus."

Tineo is the second largest city in Asturias after Oviedo, but it is much smaller and appears to be shrinking.  The latest population I saw was in 2007, at 11,539.  But it had been 14,927 in 1991.  Our route took us by a town soccer stadium and an old chapel, before we dropped down to the albergue, which appeared to be the first floor of a municipal building.  When we arrived at the albergue, we waited outside for a caretaker before one of my colleagues called a number on a posting and we were told how to access the key to the front door.  

We still had a lot of the afternoon left, Antonio and I went out and explored some of this hilly city.  The photo below, taken the next morning from our alburgue, shows what a workout it was to explore Tineo.

Along the way, we passed a Parador in Tineo - a high end hotel.  You can always tell the class of hotel in Spain by the number of stars on the blue sign next to the entrance.  This one had 4 stars.  My friend and camino advisor Linda stayed here on her Primitivo journey a few years back, but she started much further east than I did - she earned that stay!  We payed 8 euros for the night.  The Parador costs 157, according to its website.  But they will do your laundry for you, according to Linda.

We also stopped at a pharmacy, a hardware store, and a grocery along the way.  All are smaller than similar stores in the U.S. But you cannot beat the wine prices! We bought dinner and a bottle of wine for that evening, which the three of us enjoyed at the albergue. 

 City Hall looked festive, so I snapped a photo of that, too.

Our dinner featured a cheese from Basque, which I heard about from my colleagues.  Good stuff!

Day 3 Camino stats (not including Tineo wanderings):

Date: March 22, 2024
Distance: 12.1 miles
Time: 5 hours, 28 minutes
Start time: 8:00AM
End time: 1:28PM
Total daily steps: 35,096

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