Camino del Norte Day 23: Oviedo to Avilés

Getting back on the trail after a rest day is both wonderful and challenging.

Stiff. A little … unmotivated.

Today, 30k from 8am to 5pm. The ks came a bit slowly!

Something to note, that happened today as well as just about every day of the walk so far. People are so nice to Peregrinos, and it’s common for folks to honk and wave, or yell out ‘Buen Camino!’ or give a thumbs up as they pass us on the road. Often, people stop us and ask if we’re headed to Santiago. From there, I can’t usually follow much of the conversation, but it’s often animated! The day before yesterday, on our way to Oviedo, we encountered a man in his garden who stopped us: “Wait, wait! I have some apples for you!” Apparently he’d done the Camino before, or at least the walk from Vega, as he said “you must have left Vega at 8 to be here now.” OK, then.

For the most part, people here seem to love the pilgrims, although I think restaurants and store owners find them a bit challenging, what with packs and the smell. (Yes, we all smell sometimes.) We often make a point of either sitting outside, or having one of us go in without a pack while the other stays outside with both packs. It seems the most respectful, and folks react positively. Because so many of our stops are at local bars, where we can grab a coke and some pintxas (bocadillos, tortillas or other little num-nums), I’ve spoken to a lot of bartenders, in very broken Spanish and signs about walking the Camino. All have wished us a good walk.

So, what’s it like being 23 days into this walk, with lots of people throwing out support and encouragement? Well, their comments certainly help! But I have not in my life been walking for this long, and it becomes pretty surreal. A bit of a grind, a slog, a zone-out. I love having my camera (it’s always in my hand, strapped to my wrist), because it’s great to just, well, notice stuff. A lot of times I forget where I am, where we’re headed, how long we’re walking or how far we have to go, but I can always take a moment to just look around, sometimes through the lens, and just take stuff in. Kinda makes a body feel stoned after a while, but it’s not altogether unpleasant!

As for aches and pains, there are still a few, yes. Feet still sore at the end of the day, usually starting between 15 and 20k, depending on what we’re walking on. But injuries have, thankfully, been a non-issue. Besides our feet (and sometimes ankles/calves) we’ve both felt great, and been amazed at how strong we’ve become in 3 weeks. The packs feel heavy when we lift them and buckle them, but we both forget pretty quickly that we’re carrying them. I don’t know about Lisa’s, but mine is probably 25-30lbs, depending on water and food present, and to be able to forget about that weight is awesome. I guess that’s something that comes with walking with a pack for three weeks straight.

Got some work in, and shortly we’re headed out for a treat: sushi!! (For Lis this will be veggie sushi, but still!) This will be a set of flavors we’ve craved but have not had for a while. Afterwards, pictures to download, select, process, and upload tonight.

And tomorrow, we’re officially back on the Camino del Norte and the coast. Woo-hoo!

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