Day 1. Beautiful valleys and hellish hills.


The view from tonight’s albergrgue. Tonight those mountains will be behind me.

Oviedo to La Escamplero.
Distance: 14 km
Steps: 17,818
Flights of stairs equivalent: 36
Agony level: 7
Note: the above data will always be “with backpack”. I can easily add a kilometer or two or three after completing the day’s walk but won’t include it.

Leaving Oviedo, I had an escort for one kilometer in the form of a lively little old man who appeared after I’d been lost for perhaps ten minutes. When he was sure I could make it out of the city he cut me loose with a warm smile, a firm handshake and a “Buen Camino.”

As I began what many people call “the 95% solo Camino”, a man came along dressed jeans and a ratty pair of tennis shoes and carrying a tiny backpack. Juan, from Barcelona, became my walking buddy for the day. I’m always amazed at how quickly my Spanish improves when there is no other language option. We chatted for a dozen kilometers, well, make that about ten. I couldn’t speak a word of any language during those last two kilometers.

There is only one place to stay tonight and it’s pretty basic, just the barest necessities. What do you expect for five euros? There are only a few of us here and the plan is to go down the hill for dinner as a group. Then, of course, we have to walk back up!

This was a short day to help me get in Camino mode. Tomorrow will be a bit longer–slow and easy is my plan.