Camino del Norte Norte Cantábrico Gallega Ingles Spain

Day 7: Colunga to Villaviciosa

Not a lot to tell about today, met a number of fellow walkers and a Spanish guy spoke Swedish to me.

Today was the shortest day of walking on this trip, 18km. Last night I read that there was a dinosaur museum close to Colunga, that would have added 5-6 km to my walk to Villaviciosa. As I woke early and it didn’t open until 10am, I decided to give it a miss. Given Villaviciosa, where I arrived very early, had so little to offer, it may have been a better idea to make the detour.

The walk was pretty much like yesterday with countryside, back roads and dirt tracks. No coastal walking today – a brief view from afar at one point –  two climbs, steep but short and a total elevation of 450m.

There was no breakfast at the hotel, so first stop was a baker for some bread and a napolitana (the Spanish equivalent of a pain au chocolat) and a bar for a coffee.

It was great to meet a number of fellow walkers today. Within an hour of walking, I’d met or seen 10-12 walkers, including a group of 4, from Holland, Venezuela, Germany and France. We walked and talked for 5-6kms, before they stopped up and I continued. We crossed paths a few more times during the day. They had been five, but a 2m tall Dane, Thor, had feet problems and had taken the train to Gijon in hope of resting and continuing from there. The French guy was a bit sad, as it was his last day walking before returning home.

The area is a big cider producing area, and just outside today’s destination, Villaviciosa, is a large producer of cider, El Gaitero. As many people had emigrated to the US from the area, they wanted to export cider  to the US, but it went flat on the journey over the Atlantic. They experimented by adding carbonated bubbles to the cider and calling it Cider Champagne. It was a resounding success as it enable the cider to be transported to America without losing its flavour. There are guided tours, but only in Spanish and not today. Their facilities are declared an Industrial National Heritage Site. The picture below shows how you are supposed to pour cider – if you don’t use the machine I was given yesterday.

I reached Villaviciosa by 12.30, but couldn’t check in before 13.30, so I walked around town, which didn’t take long. I was sitting enjoying the sun just in front of the hotel and a Spanish man asked if I was resting in Spanish. I didn’t understand, and he asked in English which languages I spoke. I told him English, Danish and a bit of French. So he started speaking Swedish. He had read at University in Stockholm 45 years ago, learnt Swedish and kept it up to date via radio and newspapers. His Swedish was fluent and to my ear, without an accent.

I checked in and was recommended the restaurant next door. It was full and they told me to come back at 15.30. So another trip around town – nothing new. I returned at 15.30 sharp and they found me a table. A four course lunch with water, coffee and cider cost 20€. I was finished just before 5pm, and took a couple more rounds around town, watched the 100 or so kids playing in the park, more walkers arriving and took another coffee.

I love the picture above of the old watching the young. Whilst it was probably good for my feet and legs to take a shorter day, doing so means that I have a lot of time to kill. When the town isn’t particularly interesting or has nothing to see, then time goes slowly (and I washed clothes yesterday). Today it was a matter of staying here or walking another 28kms to Gijon, I wasn’t able to find anywhere to stay in between.

A change in weather, for the worse, is expected tomorrow, with the possibility for rain each day, worst on Saturday where 40mm is expected. Let’s see, here on the coast I get the impression that the weather is very unpredictable, so I’m not worrying (yet)! I just spoke to a friend walking the Camino Frances, and he has experienced snow and 2-3 degrees, so I’m also not complaining (yet!)

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