Camino del Norte Norte Cantábrico Gallega Ingles Spain

Day 6: Nueva to Colunga

Yesterday I was sitting in the sunshine, today it is cold and cloudy, and just now I am doing my favourite activity whilst travelling, washing clothes at the local laundromat. I carry clothes for 5-6 days – I’d rather carry more clothes than wash more frequently – some people only carry clothes for 2 days and wash them every day! The weight of 3 days extra clothes and an extra pair of shoes is less than a bottle of water. I have never really understood the rationale behind always making your pack as light as possible. One should find out what one can easily carry walking the distance you expect to walk and then prioritise what’s important to bring along.

After a good nights sleep and excellent breakfast, I was on my way by 8.45 and in sunshine. It was 8 degrees so I was wearing both the two fleece jumpers I brought with me, but I haven’t given up on my shorts yet.

One of todays highlights were the many painted stones I passed at one point – there were stones along ca. 50m of the lane.

Today’s walk was long, 33kms, mostly through fields with cattle, great views of the nearby mountains and occasional views of the coast, to which trail took me four times, albeit briefly as the trail soon passed inland again. It seems that in this area, the villages make an effort out of the signs for their village – below are three of the many different I saw today.

On the road into the largest town I would pass today, Ribadesella, I passed the local football ground. I smiled and couldn’t resist taking this picture. The small ticket holes, reminded me of the very first years I saw football in England. Many grounds had small holes like this where you purchased a ticket.

It was up and down all day with four short but steep climbs sticking out. Infrastructure was lacking, but I managed to get a coffee and slice of sponge cake in Ribadesella, (after 12km). Leaving Ribadesella, I walked along a long beach before a long stretch with road and roundabouts. One of the roundabouts was decorated with a dinosaur.

Despite the gray weather, there was lots of “cultural” elements in the walk today – the village name signs, a green dinosaur, painted stones, wooden signs of where people come from when the walk the Camino, ticket holes at a football ground, and a large painting on a wall stating that “All the Camino’s are THE Camono”.

I met a man from California (I’d asked if he was from the USA, he answered “no”), a little older than I am. He was tired, very tired and still had 4-5kms to go for the day. He told me that he had walked the Camino Frances last year and found it great but hard and doable. Everybody told him that the Camino del Norte was even harder, so he thought he would find out. And true enough it was much harder due to all the ups and downs. We walked together for a couple of kilometers, and I left him when a Spanish walker caught up with us and I still had 12 kilometers to walk.

I saw six other walkers today – the man from the US, a man from Korea, a young girl from Germany, a Spanish guy and a couple putting on their rain gear, even though it wasn’t raining (yet). There are many Korean’s that walk the Camino’s. In 2023 they were the 10th largest group by nationality. 35% of Korean’s are Christian or Catholic, are encouraged to walk the Camino at many universities and finally there is a TV soap of a Korean couple opening an Albergue in Spain to cater for Koreans, whilst only fiction, it has created a lot of interest. We spoke briefly as I met him as the rain was starting. He was busy putting his rain gear on, and couldn’t understand I wasn’t. It didn’t take long before I needed mine as well, but only for 10 minutes.

I arrived in Colunga by 4pm and found the hotel. The lady at the reception told me that it was not opening for dinner today. The town had nothing to offer as far as siteseeing goes, so I’m here washing clothes. I read that Colunga’s greatest claim to fame was in 2006, when millions of anchovies, died on the beach here, for no apparent reason – possible trying to escape hungry dolphins or tuna.

In the evening I found a restaurant that opened at 8pm and ordered dinner and a bottle of cider. Cider is normally poured from a great height here and drunken immediately. If you don’t feel comfortable in a restaurant trying to hit the glass from a height, they have a machine that simulates it. It is important to only fill a bit in the glass and drink it all, immediately or the gas disappears and according to the waitress is undrinkable.

Tomorrow is the shortest stage this time around, only 18kms. I’d planned for a lie in and a long breakfast. Turns out that this hotel isn’t serving breakfast tomorrow either.

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