Day 23 Slow and Steady

Thursday Oct 20. Villaviciosa to Gijon. 8 hours. 31.2km. 2 notable mountain climbs; first was to elevation of 475meters; second was after descending to 100m, a climb back to 275m.

Walking out of Villaviciosa was easy as within 30 mins, we were on country roads. Traffic was much lighter on these roads.

About 3.7km, the route splits into the Primitivo or Del Norte. We kept on the Del Norte as our Correos luggage service was for this route. In hindsight, I should booked Correos from Irun to Villaviciosa on the Del Norte, and made a separate booking from a different carrier from Villaviciosa to Oviedo. Correos only starts their Primitivo service from Oviedo.

Our Cicerone guidebook advised staying on road VV-10 after Casquita. That shaved off 2.4km as the Yellow Marked route took a more circuitous route through the countryside. When later route joined up with us, it was the start of the climb to Alto de la Cruz.

Joon had been coping with a low grade fever, so we took it slow and easy. We started this climb just before 10am when it was still cool. It was generally an unpacked path, dirt at times, rocky and stony at other times. We climbed 350m in 2km. We were able to reach near the top where a road meet us within an hour. There was still about 80-100m of elevation gain on the road before we started a long descent.

Near the summit of Altos de la Cruz. The overcast shores cleared up by mid afternoon when we started feeling the heat on the second climb.

The descent was pleasant as the gradient was gently and didn’t force our toes against the boots/shoes. As we reached Peon about mid-day, we saw the two pilgrims that we had briefly seen at the start of the climb (they were about 50m ahead, one was carrying a very distinctive yellow backpack). They were having a cup of coffee seated outside a restaurant. I wrongly assumed the cafe-restaurant was open; their small cup of coffee was from a vending machine. We took the opportunity to rest, have coffee and our snacks. The guidebook had alerted there would not be any services available and it was right.

The couple were the only pilgrims we saw today. We suspect most have diverted onto the Camino Primitivo.

The second climb, while to a lower elevation, was perhaps more taxing as it was mid afternoon with the sun shining, and after we had already walked for 5+ plus hours.

We started walking through residential areas. It was interesting to note the interesting features and decorations of homes.

This home had very interesting external sculptures. This was one end.
This was the main sculpture. It hints at some ancient depictions and stories.
This picture angle shows the ‘snake/serpent’.

When we finally were on level ground, the route took us away from the major road into Gijon for safety reasons, as heavy traffic was non stop. But going through residential areas is never a straight line, and I estimated this added another 2km or so. Gijon is a big city, and getting into the center from the outskirts was another 2km.

Our walking style is a slow and consistent pace. Our rest stops are short, sometimes a couple of minutes, sometimes 5-10 mins.

When we age, we all wonder, where did the years go?

Author: Ben & Joon

Residents in the great Pacific North West. Living life as it happens, learning our purpose and trail blazing our own paths. Namaste.

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