Pig's Ear Park and Other Adventures

Month: August 2017 (page 1 of 2)

Tineo with tinnitus

Well, had a nice ring to it…Mine host was going to Tineo but I resisted the temptation…got a lift to La Espina where aeons ago the the Inquistior General, sounds nasty, founded a hospital.A nice walk from there to Tineo, thankfully not as steep but about half was paved road. Think the camber at the side of the road with one foot often lower than the other contributes to a few aches and pains..Some nice forest though, collected a double acorn the other day , now a single so will not be coming home…

Tineo is a great trout fishing area and the van I saw in Grado with a trout on the side now makes sense, must be a commercial operation. Quite a few stone houses, well with all of it in the ground makes sense.

Made it into town with time to spare. Very few pilgrims around today, my shorter days put me out of sync. The fast ones are long gone and the next group is still  to catch up…

Bit sad about not making it to Santiago but have made it three times!!

I walked over 700 ks so quite pleased about that and conquered  the pathetic way I had started to stop on hills, just plodded on as I used to…

Plus managed a few high bridges over large expanses of water without  having a panic attack and wanting to jump in.

Did I find God, not really, but nature is pretty damn amazing and there are at least 12 French bulldogs in Spain. But a zillion Yorkshire terriers. Still not keen on food,the wonder drug for bp may not be so wonderful.

Waiting for the bus and so looking forward to the great bed at the Only You hotel.

Have tomorrow  at least in Madrid so will revisit Guernica at the Reina Sofia gallery plus there is a Picasso exhibition on.

May even sneak in a shop!!!!

Home soon, just waiting on Sue to confirm…

Buggered up the pikkies..arrow of stones was a novel new guide..

one of the thirteen, Brutus!!!

First picture if you look carefully is a kennel complete with shade and barking dog. Weather was nice today, bit cooler.

Nice stream but nay trout

Two overgrown dogs

Bridge from days ago!!!

On to Salas

After a night behind the lift shaft in a funny /odd hotel in Grado,which is more interesting on its back streets.,time to set off again. Not the 900 m hill but 600, not so bad as goes up in 300m increments each day. The mountains are the Cordillera  Cantabrica and I realise the start of it can be seen from Oviedo. Asturias names lots of things Cantabria, including the sea off the coast,which the Basques call something else,Bezama sea or similar.

Anyway ,raining when I set off after a nibble at a tortilla,doing this on little food, thank heavens for my stash of muesli bars,replenished by David ,and a bag of hazel nuts…

Three other,male peregrinos at the hotel, arrived after me. One,a giant of a man was very poorly, maybe he had eaten tortilla the night before. What they call tortilla is a big egg and potatoe thing, sometimes the egg in the middle is not cooked and a bit runny, I avoid that when served, just leave it, but you never know how long it has been sitting in the unrefridgerated cabinet..Alternative is ham and cheese or egg rolls..

Set off for Cornella, 11 ks away, thankfully a short day. Was to be collected there and taken to Salas, town of about  6000

Rain stopped all was good, not much road walking, THEN, the stomach whimpered..that accursed tortilla…next few hours were not memorable as I dived behind trees, snakes, who cares…

Took so much imodium may never go to the loo again.

Scenery was dramatic, nobody about…but that is now a worry. At least not hot enough to get bitten by biting flies, have about six lumps on my upper body from bitesTHRU my top. Thank heavens for David’s tube of burn cream, have used it for blisters and now bites..

Duly collected  in Cornella ,could not get accommodation there, full… A hotelier way back organised this for me. Will not be backtracking…

Am thinking of calling it a day after today, writing this the next day,too pooped last night, nibbled at a bit of soup..lack of serious sustenance is a real issue, it is a available, well, fish soup and stew, but turns my stomach, plus have insomnia, suspect it is the  new wonder bp drug…

Have got Sue to check flights home and if the ducks line up will get a bus from Tineo to Madrid getting in about midnight ,then big white bird late tomorrow. Will not get to Toledo!!!!!!


Lots more birds around, less people? Certainly hear less shot guns going off. Farms are now farmlets, how do they survive..

Saw two different places ,farmhouses ,obviously having inside plumbing installed, my goodness they were cutting thru almost solid rock…Alongside one trench were two enormous rocks, similar size to the big ones of hinura  stone that T used to carve. How they got them out of the ground heaven knows as they were only little diggers…

No pikkies, never took any, not yet and may not get to the granite countryside..



Camino Primitivo to Grado

Astral travelled with Elsa bus for the first 5 ks, suburbs,remember I do not do them on foot. Still managed to do 20 ks.I was fine until 2 ks out of Grado then the sun came out and although I had drunk plenty of water when I asked in Spanglish where my hotel was  and the response was at least another k up hill , my heart sank  and I thought bother it ,so politely, I will just go back and get the taxi I saw.Wasn’t a taxi ,was a driving school car…Fell on a poor defenceless  man and begged for a lift,he happened to be coming out of a driveway. He was very nice and carried my pack across the road for me.

Fantastic, would have carked on the road if he had not taken me to the hotel. Offered menu de dia, you get what you are given here, managed the soup but the stew, chips and salad was too much, nearly went face down in it..Staggered to my room and snoozed for a time…Dammit missed my meal. Should have snoozed then eaten…No coffee today, who knows where the cafes were that the guidebook said existed, plus two were shut on Mondays.

The walk. Well only saw about 8 pereginos,one man all but ran past me..everyone else just walked passed me..Definitely moved back a few years in this area,saw another scythe and in use.

Scenery is lovely, very green and very damn hilly. Some nice off road walking but at least half has been dodging cars on the road. Spaniards love speed,who was the famous racing driver?

Lotsa dead frogs squashed on the road,plus snails indulging in snail sex.

just before Grado noticed lotsa leaves on the ground, bit further on beans on frames with all the leaves ripped off,  any vegies, tomatoes etc all leafless ,all apples all over the ground. Hotel owner said had been hailstones size of tabletennis balls….but it was very localised

My bp has been trying to explode me from the inside,I do not need a terrorist…very helpful chemist in Cartes sorted it out.

1.Dear wee church 15C

2. Two tortisoes , one demented in the corner, on someone’s terrace. Hoping they will be stolen?

3.Lovely place  for walking

4. Shredded beans


No contact for a few days

Thanks to Vodafone. Now using the hotel’s address and it is great, Orange, which I used a couple of years ago, will be changing back to it. Went down to the village of Figuera for lunch and my internet was hopeless, so screw ’em…

The last few days since Soto de Luina have been very  pleasant, warm, some nice walking, not too much road walking and reasonable accommodation. I even had a massage, much needed after a killer hill. Never had persperation dripping off my nose before.

Met a local farmer at the top of the hill who laughed at the sight of a dripping me. Spoke to others who all agreed, killer stuff.

Interesting  the next day, having coffee outside the reasonably pleasant hotel I was staying at in Queras, loads of walkers arrived from everywhere, and this was the morning I was sneaking off for ten ks in a taxi to Luarca, still 18 to go. Anyway it rippled around about the taxi and two girls asked to come with me. The peer pressure was so great one decided to walk and she was hobbling from the previous days hill, daft!!!!Hotel was the first coffee stop after the alberque lurking further back.

If anyone asks how I made such good time I just say I used astral travel!!! Many of the group that morning were millenials, race to get to Santiago, tick, done that, next… I asked a young Irishman if he had noticed the hens living under houses in the rural areas and cows living in barns attached to houses, of course not! Thought the smell may have alerted him!!!

Spaniards do not seem to come out of their morning inertia until about 10 am. I was chatting to two nice German sisters who said in the Albergues they are going to bed as the Spaniards are going out for dinner. On a Sunday when they all go out for lunch they do not arrive until at least 2.30, just as I am leaving!!!

At the hotel Blanco , in Navia where I had the massage , they had a formal dining room. Wow, what a menu, meant to photograph it but got waylaid. Had lunch in the less formal cafetetia and that was some of the best food I had eaten this trip. White anchovies on half baby gem lettuces with a tomato vinegar dressing , followed by my fave, octopus served on lovely boiled potatoes..😃

Unfortunately the waitress was extraordinarily grumpy!!Managed to get a smile but honestly….

So lounging about now until Tuesday in this nice hotel, ah hardship then bus back to Santander to see the English Parkers.

Back on the trail from Oviedo on27/28 yet to finalise the start of the Primitivo epic.


1. Fern/bracken under pines , could be NZ

2. Cyclists chop up the paths

3.Sideways view of houses on the bank of the river in Luarca

4.What a busy motorway at 8.30 am on a Sunday morning.


Count your kilometres

…before you book. Have just spent two evenings trying to book the Camino Primitivo. Got close to Santiago  about a 100 ks out and absolutely no accommodation so thought sod it and skipped a town. Of course I forgot that you must walk the last 100  ks into Santiago…To get your luvvy certificates does not matter about the hundreds of Ks before…

The accommodation will be taken up by all those who only do 100 k.

I am only two nights shy of having booked the  Primitivo so that is good , I think…..




A really nice path for about a hundred yards but to be treasured, not muddy or steep

They quite like blue houses

Had a beautiful walk today some parts v steep but some glorious distance views, google says 7 floors and 16 ks.

Not much road walking between El Pito and Soto de Luina. Lovely little villages , saw one man going out with a scythe…Said my father had one, he got v chatty and we decided in Spanglish they are better than  weedeaters

He only had about four teeth.

Managed lunch at 2.30, sort of over deep fried or maybe pressure cooked then fried, chicken.

Horrors !!!!!I am sharing a bathroom with about seven people!!!A woman cyclist about my age appeared about 4.30 when the woman in the office was ringing two of the Primitivo places for ne, Spanglish does not work on the phone…No rooms but mine host organised a room in a private house..

Sunny today but I will not moan as up 7 floors there is a bit of breeze..

28 ks tomorrow so taxi at 7.45 for first 10!!!!

  1. Beach at bottom of long valley

2. Bridges at top or near top of valley

Ribado in my headlights






‘The’ beach at Gijon , note the tiny Camino sign on the post.

Seaside houses, that is all there is the rest are huge apartment blocks

Pipe band in Orivedo

My hotel, honestly..

Then it is only160 ks BUT have a trip back to Santander to catch up with David who is over here near me in Cartes from 22-26. Then I will decide on my next move. To Primitivo or not… Met a Spaniard this morning, about my age but tres fit, who looked me up and down and said’Si Senora you can do it’

Said very steep but very tranquil, yeah all the pilgrims are lying collapsed along the route.

Have noticed the body odour around a lot of the younger ones is really bad. Caught a bus from Avilles this am to avoid a 39 k day, did 10 on the bus  and foreshortened the end as well, well it is a v steep .

Anyway I was amazed at the number of pilgrims on the bus, most quite young and none got off with me…think the distances done on this one per day are much shorter as there is a shortage of the dormitory type accommodation(shortage everywhere else as well!  )

Also heard….aaah the Camino grapevine…there is quite predatory behaviour by some of the young men…

BUT I managed the hills so much better today, a nasty one seemed straight up for 50 metres then gradual for 200m, I was not quite greyhound like but much better.

Walk was pleasant, not too much road walking and overcast as well, think I now prefer rain to sun…

Some trivia

Bougainvillea is everywhere, the purple one is draped all over houses.

Had a really pleasant four days off, two in Gijon and two in Oviedo.

Had a good half day in Aviles, despite the pollution is an interesting city. Nice old central square, a fishing quarter so called but now just has a lot of fish restaurants plus some intetesting old houses.

Suggested to the hotel receptionist that his hydraulic lift needed bleeding..He looked most impressed and called maintenance, it was not whistling when I returned three hours later, thank you Terry. Murray , it was a Rae lift..

When lost ask a street cleaner they know the streets. Never seen such regularly cleaned streets.

Have learnt to be cautious with tortillas, if raw looking egg in the middle do not eat…

coca cola is 2.20 a glass, wine often only a euro

They all smoke!!!

Man playing strange instrument in Aviles

Me after living on Spanish food

Backstreet in Avile

Lady trumpeter in Avile




A bus trip…

Paint your succulents and below,three different styles of architecture,oldest said 1906,one in the middle.


Lovely morning, but one to lounge around, still gnawing away at the Camino Primitivo idea… checked the steepest part of the Via de la Plata, 920 m , does two years make a lot of dufference,….steepest part of the Primitivo is 990 m but the next day is similar. Biggest issue is the 990 day is a 30 k day too. I am trying to find some accommodation in the middle,place called Barcia…no reply but plenty of time…Two  of the joys of the harder route would be no trucks and fewer people…

Had a long chat with the owner of El Babu, it is very trendy, very moderne…she owns it with her parents, been there eight years…desperate to sell. July pays the debts, August pays the mortgage and any little bits the rest of the year feeds them.

Anyway lept on the bus at Carrales for the hour plus journey to Hohon  which is how the locals pronounce Gijon. All good,5.50E….stayed good until a very well dressed woman lept on and saw my pack occupying a seat and had to sit with a smelly young man across from me…she huffed and puffed then pounced on my pack and threw it at my legs!!!. Hang on, Hang on says I knowing full well she had already brought up a welt right across my left shin,damn her… I  checked and she had, they take days to go…wrangled my pack between ny legs and pushed her over a bit…much huffing and puffing but obviously I was preferable to the young man. He was not as pongy as the old man behind me!

So much for well dressed women travelling on buses…

Been meaning to mention the bread deliveries..little vans go around the villages and leave what must be pre ordered bread on the front door. I remember once in Portugal thinking how kind the hotelier was to leave about 10 bread rolls in a bag on the counter for me. Night before having been told my departure was too early for breakfast…rolls kept me going for days…

Sadly said goodbye to the kiwis, Robin and Richard in Ribasella, we managed to meet three times!!!

Gijon has a population of 250, 000 and seems quite prosperous. Nothing taller than about 7 storeys..I am on the sixth floor of a featureless hotel, clean, well positioned near the centre.

Nice harbour area, and two good beaches.Off to Oveido tomorrow,2.50 E….about an hour…think it is more historical certainly has significance in Camino history as the first,9C caminos seemed to start from there…

Man practising playing his trumpet (badly) on the Gijon headland.


Mad  but luvvy civic flowers

Camino goes along the beach

Not sure if these are the houses Jackie…a few oldies left along  the beach…

And on we go..

After three weeks bashing up and down hills I can actually say I feel fitter! Had a chat with a German pilgrim  in Carrales where  I landed up today, his verdict , toughest of the Caminos. I have found it tough but the last few days have got up the hills without having to stop!

So just as fitness strikes am having four days off, going to be in Gijon for two days then bus to Oviedo for two days . Oviedo is quite a way inland  and I shall bus there then back to the coast to continue the Camino del Norte. If I was insane would do the Camino Primitivo from Oviedo. It is much shorter so that is a temptation… nah!!!

Todays walk, left Ribadesalla at 7 am, raining of course and did on and off for the next 17 ks. Road walking most of the day and it was a tiny verge. Lots of trucks so hard going. Got drenched going over the  river in Ribadesalla, car went passed and hit a puddle, had the red hobbit cape on but still got wet hair as a solid wall of water hit me….ugh

Some lovely sea views, walking parallel about 2 ks away. The surf looked useable. Arrived at Carrales just before 12, had stopped three times so not bad time.

Carrales is a dot on the map but has this very chi chi hotel called El Babu. Pub next door so went and had lunch, 13 e and good solid food. Bean soup, casseroled chicken, chips of course and creme caramel plus water and wine, I was modest!  Can tell when the food is good, all the local tradesman come and eat (and drink).

Booked in, very nice, big room, bath!!   Could stay here for a time! Alas fully booked!

Hotel Jardins de Eugenie turned into a disaster as the grumpy male owner just snarled at me in Spanish everytime I asked him about anything. E.G can I get out at 7 am ? <#£%<£ was his reply. I had a terrible nights sleep wondering if I would be able to get out. Of course he was there, glowering behind his trendy desk which had no room to put anything down…Oddly he managed to ask me to input my bank code in English!  We did not exchange farewells!

Luck was with me as after him and my drenching and the rain I was a bit glum but there was a open coffee shop just ten minutes out of town. Heaven , coffee and a big wedge of orange cake!!!

Rained heavily on and off all morning, I can become a red hobbit in no time flat!

So adventure by bus next few days..

1 Poor wee puppy, think he had a injured leg.

2. Ancient food storehouses, different in style to Galicia

3. NZ cabbage tree

4. Laden apple tree, in cider country, called Sideria here


Shoulda known

Said the frog to the scorpion  when the latter hitched a lift across a creek and bit him before the bank…

Well, Hotel Jardin de Eugenia should have alerted me. Next stop after Nueves, day dawned bright and clear, cows in the next paddock had brought themselves down to the lower paddock, next time I looked about 6.50 am they had gone but for a solitary heifer…

So on the road for  Ribadsella by 7.15. Obedientally followed the Camino signs and did not follow the road sign that said R etc  was 10 ks away and walked thru cow pats, mud and puddles to a  Albergue  in Cuerres hoping for coffee, nada… 15 ks later…

But met my lovely kiwis again. They had enjoyed a great Camino night in an alberque  just after Nueve  with a real united nations, a Pole, injured foot, know how he feels, a Czech girl and ? plus them.

Anyway we trotted on, many big puddles on the back ways this  am after the rain yeaterday, bikes make it so much worse… Rained now and again just to keep us awake…

I was definitely slightly seedy after demolishing over a wet afternoon  a yummy bottle of temparillo rose.,. Well it was wet.,

But managed the few hills without stopping, did bribe them  once with hazel nuts and jelly babies, Richard was onto me.. We arrived at a very grumpy bar , did not like packs and wet gear over the place even though we spent an average of 5e each.   Pereginos inject millions into the economy but are treated quite often v badly. Some little bar owners are great but some are just awful. Mind you most Spanish are not good in the am

I just leave now in the mornings  having made arrangements the night before to just go…they like it, one less for brekkie. Means I have to organise my own my lunch rather than steal it,

usually in the am have a piece of fruit , some water to wash down the various drugs then about two hours walking later, a bar , and have tortilla, I have called them frittatas and very strong coffee.

So sadly left my kiwi friends and found my tres twee hotel. mrs speaks some English, Mr just acts arrogant.

He and I had sort of words about my question about

my next stop, he was so rude that as

new customers walked in I said’I hope you speak Spanish as you will get no help otherwise.. and stamped out

Found a restaurant for lunch, 2pm, no seats and they hate solos anyway. Waited a time then they gave me a seat (and table) facing into the door. Suddenly there were hordes of Spanish waiting for tables, must have been three deep around the bar, restauranter

Handed out numbers, mine was 10,I saw 20’being handed out, I munched on…

Pretty ordinary food, salad, pork snitzel and chips (classic white food) then a choccy thing plus water, wine and bread all for 14e. Hence the numbers I guess. Back to Mr Grumpy.NZ 210 Mr Grumpy!!!

T always hated trendy little hotels, must say the big big chains  usually pull it off. Out of here at the crack of light, about 7.10 for a place I am not sure where it is in relation to the camino  so shall just walk N634,,

Just hope the door is unlocked..

Despite all that Ribadesalls is an attractive little town at the mouth of a nameless river…plus it has famous neolithic caves which I guess all the grumpy kids get dragged to…


1, Someone imitating Agustin Ibarrolo just out of


2.View along the river ? at Ribadesalls

3. Stunning view of carpark from my room.



Just made it to Nueva

Before it bucketed down with rain again..20 ks by my reckoning. Scrambled out of Llanes by 7.10…for the next 25 minutes saw all sorts of Peregrinos scrambling out of hotels,hostals and one said everything was so full he had to sleep on corrugated cardboard on a church floor!!!!

There was a recent film on German t v about the Camino del norte and this influx of walkers is predominately young Germans..

Must mention my day off in Llanes…slept till 9.30!!! Then phaffed  about, shower , hair(A BLOWDRYER!!!) then marched off back the way I had come into Llanes to the Don Juan Hotel,had seen a really good menu, checked it out made a booking for 1 pm and duly reappeared.23e for three courses plus wine and water. Two great courses. Salad with octopus ,prawns and little dribblings of caviar (type of!!!) plus a swanky cake and sorbet dessert but not too sure about big cow chop. Next time I will stick to fish…

However it all helped with the energy level today.

Llanes was a place where the people who had made money in South America (Indianos) came to late 18c and early 19c and built  yummy houses. Photos included somewhere…Some are still beautifully maintained,some are apartments ,some are slowly decaying.Most have palm trees in their gardens, one had a cabbage tree. How indigenous to us are they

Also dragged myself out after the big lunch to visit the art work by Agustin Ibarrola, a Basque  born in 1930? He painted ,probably late 60s ,could not find a date, a heap of the huge blocks that get placed at the bottom of sea walls. They look better in the Google pictures than now as they are quite faded. Were stunning. He also painted tree trunks, rocks…

Todays mission was  Nueva , lovely mix of mountain views,top peaks shrouded in cloud, and sudden snapshots of beaches  while rolling merrily along. Amazing what a day off and a ‘big cow chop’ does to one. The beaches have been a huge surprise, lovely white sand and they just seem to go on endlessly .Not sure how warm the water is but always people in the water.

Met up again with my lovely kiwi pair and walked for a couple of hours with them , I stopped in Nueva and they were going on further. Last day for them, bus to Gijon then home.. So nice to be able to talk and know the context is understood….

Saw a farmyard full of lovely black pigs and black chooks,about half an acres worth,all happy as the proverbial pig….

Flower chat has been slim, lovely hydrangeas, pink mainly,plus luvvy dahlias but all the little wild flowers have been pushed out by echium ,dandelion  and scruffy daisies. Saw some gentians up in the hills one day.

Home orchards are full of apples and pears with at least a month to go. Now in Asturia which regards itself as cider territory. Been thru Cantabria  was Castille and left Basque territory quietly gnashing its teeth.


Indianos houses.. The little leaning blue house was the gate house for the big blue.I walked thru a village called Poo

A ruined 14c monastery.


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