When one mentions hiking the Camino most people are only aware of the main route, the Camino Frances. Instead, we’re hiking the Primativo, which you can spot on the map. It should be a different experience, even for Mandy, as when she hiked the main and northern routes, back in 2008/09, she didn’t have access to many of the electronic assets we’ll have at hand. When she hiked the Northern Route all she had was an English cyclist’s idea of a hiking guide and nothing more. She was mentioning this to her boyfriend, Karma, the other night and I loved his response “you sound like an old person”. Old at 28, ya gotta love it. This time, though, we have a wonderful new guidebook, we have electronic maps, we have info in I-books and of course, the route markers themselves. Even these two “old” ladies ought to be able to find our way easily.
After a somewhat restful sleep we arose at 7 and were on our way before 8. Walking through Oviedo we found the market we were told about, however we were there before it opened. Even the associated farmer’s market was just setting up. Instead we opted for a coffee and croissant at a little bar/restaurant. They serve the coffee as espresso with milk in small cups – so good I could easily have downed 3-4, but stuck with just one, so Mandy didn’t have an overly caffeinated mom to deal with.
Following all the shells (the symbol of the Caminos) and the yellow arrows we made our way through town. We met three hikers from Texas who were also just beginning the hike and were more of the neophyte category even than me. Oviedo was delightful in an old, European way, just what I think of when I imagine towns here… Rustic buildings, narrow lanes, flower boxes and pots out everywhere and people all willing to answer a smile and”hola” greeting in kind. We stopped to buy baguettes, fruit and cheese and continued out of the city, now and again meeting other hikers.
The day took us up and down through small villages and along some charming wooded paths, over a bridge originally built in the 13th century and past some beautiful vistas. At one point we crossed over a tiny stream with several choices for crossing. Mandy crossed over then stopped and turned around to tell me the logs she used were very slippery. I chose another way and once over she said “nice”. Now that’s high praise from my hiker daughter.
We were charmed to run into another mother/ daughter duo, from San Diego and Australia, Diana and Kelsey. We walked along together until we came to a local restaurant where we all decided we ought to stop for lunch. After a great meal of roasted vegetables and lots of conversation we mosied along to find the local Albergue, which come up fairly soon. Mandy was taking pity on me as we’re starting out having the first day be an easy 7 miles or so. Along the way from registering we met another hiker who seemed a mite down trodden. Mandy inquired how she was doing and she responded that “her back hurt, her feet hurt, in fact everything hurt!” Guess I should count my blessings. No aches or pains yet.