Thursday, May 2, 2024

Spain's Camino Primitivo: Day 4 - Tineo to Campiello

This was the day where things did not work out as planned.  Up until this day, there had just been 3 or 4 of us in an albergue every night.  Ronnie, from Israel, stayed with us the first couple of nights, but chose a private albergue in Tineo.  But we saw him during our walk that day, and he reported that the hostel we planned to stay at that night was completely full.  Because that hostel was full, a hostel in the town before that had filled up, so we ended up cutting this day very short in order to obtain accommodations for the night.  This meant a longer journey the next day, which was already planned to be a pretty long day.  This was also my fewest daily steps of the first 10 days I was in Spain and not traveling by train.  Our hostel was in a place that had only about a dozen buildings - you could not even really call it a town!  So there wasn't even the option to walk around and explore.

Day 4 on the Camino was Saturday, March 23rd.  This was the first day of "Easter Week," the week before the Easter holiday.  I learned that many schools in Spain are closed for the entire week.  Spaniards often take to caminos during their breaks, and we found that a high school group had reserved our planned hostel for the night.  It was just as well that we didn't get beds there, but our alternative was my least favorite hostel of my entire trip.

We left Tineo in the rain that morning.  Nagore left with us - the first of many days when she would hike with me for the entire day.  Tineo was kind of dreary as we climbed out of town, and we started the day using our rain gear, but it cleared up as the day went on.

We climbed for much of our first 4 miles, ascending about 800 feet.  Along the way, Nagore taught us how people have communicated across valleys, mountain-to-mountain, through the generations in Basque.

Near the top of our climb, we came to a signpost giving us an optional route.  

Up until this point, we had been pretty strict about staying on the main camino route and not using a varient.  But this route took us through a little town to an old monestary.  I thought it would be worth seeing, and the group decided to take the variant to the monestary.  Shortly after that, we began a two mile descent that dropped 950 feet and bottomed out right at the monestary.  

The monestary of Santa Maria la Real de Obona is a national monument in Spain.  It was constructed starting in the 13th Century and reportedly was very influential at one point.  But it now it is totally closed.  Here is a video of the place, made by some guy with a drone, using info he got from Wikipedia: Link.

Near our 7 mile mark, we stopped at a small roadside picnic table for lunch - you can see it in the back of the photo below. It was here that Ronny from Israel passed us and told us about the issue with our anticipated hostel that night.  We made a few calls and agreed that we would stay that night instead at a hostel in Campiello, where we met up with Ronny again.

While at lunch, a local farmer yelled over to us from near his barn.  I did not understand what he was saying, but Antonio interpreted, saying the farmer would stamp our passports if we would like.  Never passing up that opportunity, I joined Antonio in the barn and got a stamp for my collection.

After we left our lunch spot, we merged onto a road that was a more major artery, with cars zipping by us at pretty high speeds every few minutes.  Farms had dogs on chains barking aggressively at us from nearby fences.  It was one of my least favorite sections of the entire camino.

As I said earier, the hostel was not at all to my liking.  There was no kitchen - it was run by the same family who ran the restaurant next door, so why provide competition to their other business?  And it was attached to a large barn, which meant that it was cold and the heat was never turned on.  Although there were three bathrooms and showers, only one was unlocked - no doubt because there were only the four of us staying in the albergue that night. There was nothing to see in the little crossroads. I had been really looking forward to the albergue that the high school kids took over.  And I had trouble connecting to the internet, so I could not report back home.  This issue would continue for several days, but at the time I blamed the albergue.

With time to kill, what was there to do?

That day we met another pilgrim, a woman from Toronto. She remembered me from way back in Oviedo, as she stayed in the Green Hostel - the place I had reserved for the wrong night.  She said she remembered me because of the green Hokas that I wore then and now.  This night, she stayed in the hotel portion above the hostel, saying that she was tired of being cold and was considering ending her trip prematurely.  But the next day promised to be the most spectacular of the entire Camino Primitivo.  Some say that it is the most spectacular day of any camino!  I invited her to join our little clan as we made our way through the next day's remote climb.  And she did, though she ended up leaving a few days later.

Day 4 Camino stats:

Date: March 23, 2024
Distance: 8.8 miles
Time: 4 hours, 39 minutes
Start time: 8:06AM
End time: 12:45PM
Total daily steps: 26,248

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