Day Four on the Camino Primitivo ~ La Espina to Campiello, 25.2 Kilometers

Day four on the Camino Primitivo was to test my strength, pride and perseverance. I became involved in a not-so-gracious race ~ but against whom?

“The geographical pilgrimage is the symbolic acting out an inner journey. The inner journey is the interpolation of the meanings and signs of the outer pilgrimage. One can have one without the other. It is best to have both.” ~ Thomas Merton, Mystics and Zen Masters


Day Four, Camino Primitivo Maps

Here are the maps from Eroski Consumer that I used for this stage. The first map of Etapa 3 (stage 3) where we started our day four on the Camino Primitivo in La Espina and onward through Tineo. The second map of Etapa 4 took us from Tineo to Campiello.

When you are walking, the maps are good to give you an overview of your day. Fortunately the Original Way is well way-marked, so unless the weather is really bad or really foggy, it is not easy to get lost if you are paying attention. 

The Combined Guide, compiled by Liz Brandt for your free use is what I recommend to be your companion guide. Download it from the link. It is all you need. 

Etapa Three Salas a TineoDay Four, Camino Primitivo, Map One
Etapa Four Tineo to Pola de AllandeDay Four, Camino Primitivo, Map Two

The Journey ~ Day Four on the Camino Primitivo

The morning walk started out sunny and cool. Both my husband, Rich and I were suffering from post-nasal drip now. I thought that my condition, that I had noticed first yesterday, was due to stress, but since Rich had it too, it seemed that we may have picked it up somewhere in our travels. 

My voice was beginning to sound husky, as when I get PND, the virus almost always progresses to laryngitis. I tried to keep from focusing on it as we set out. 

My belly was happy, for sure, as the sweet attendant made us tostada and café con leche at the Albergue, El Texú for a donativo.

Shortly after leaving La Espina, the Original Way heads westward and veers off on a path that follows the AS-216 to the north. It takes you through the first town, La Pareda in just one kilometer later. I found this town to be very photogenic. 

I said a prayer of gratitude, (as I intended to do at each and every chapel) at the Capilla del Cristo de los Afligidos, as I captured the moment on day four of our Camino Primitivo. It is a quaint little fifteenth century chapel with the Camino de Santiago waymark as well.

The hydrangeas lit up the entrance, but unfortunately, the chapel was closed. 

Capilla del Cristo de los Afligidos, La Pereda, SpainCapilla del Cristo de los Afligidos in La Pereda

The Primitive Way winds through lanes and walkways through the little town. 

Inviting Little Walkway through La Pereda, Camino de Santiago, Asturias, SpainInviting Little Walkway through La Pereda

I loved this building with the rounded corner and the waymark, leading us onward. 

Building with a Rounded Corner in La Pereda, Camino de Santiago, Asturias, SpainBuilding with a Rounded Corner in La Pereda

A Camino de Santiago enthusiast/supporter had decorated his house with shells. Seeing sights like this always lifts my spirit!

House Decorated with Shells, Camino Primitivo, Asturias, SpainHouse Decorated with Shells!

It looked as if we were going to have another clear and sunny day on day four of our Camino Primitivo. We had such great luck with the weather. I was keeping my fingers crossed for tomorrow, day five, when we needed to make a decision whether or not we could take the mountainous, Hospitales Route. 

Early Morning View of the Cantabrian Mountains, Camino de Santiago, Asturias, SpainEarly Morning View of the Cantabrian Mountains

The Way diverted to dirt lanes, keeping the view of the mountains always on our shoulder this morning. A munching cow took the time to gaze at us as we turned right to follow the waymark.

Cow Stops Her Meal to Gaze at us Walking By, Camino Primitivo, Asturias, SpainCow Stops Her Meal to Gaze at us Walking By

AS-216 can be seen down the hill to the south, but fortunately we stayed on these lovely dirt tracks, all the way to Bedures, another kilometer-and-a-half or so.

Horses Graze in the Meadow on the Original Way, near La Pareda, Asturias, SpainHorses Graze in the Meadow

Everyone asks me, "Elle, why aren't you in any of the photos?" Well, here I am, enjoying this scenic walk in the clear, cool morning. Once in awhile, Rich actually says, "Let me take a picture of you!"

Elle Bieling on the Camino PrimitivoHappy Happy Happy Elle

This charming horreo is a pilgrimage traveler rest stop, which greets you as you enter the hamlet of Bedures. Since we had just set out, we were in no need of a stop, but it was a great place. 

Horreo Rest Stop Walking Into Bedures, Camino Primitivo, Asturias, SpainHorreo Rest Stop Walking Into Bedures

More pilgrimage supporters along the route on day four of the Camino Primitivo.

Bedures Greeting on the  Camino Primitivo, Asturias, SpainBedures Greeting

Bedures is another quaint place. I snapped this as Rich jaunted ahead on day four  of our Camino Primitivo. 

Walking Through Bedures on the Camino Primitivo, Asturias, SpainWalking Through Bedures

In only another kilometer or less, the Original Way joins the AS-216 again and takes you through the town of El Pedregal. There didn't appear to be much here for pilgrim support and the whole town seemed asleep at 9:00 a.m.

Here is the town church as we walked by.

Street View of the church in El Pedregal, Asturias Spain on the Camino PrimitivoStreet View of Church on Main Street of El Pedregal

The church is a landmark, yes, but not very embellished. 

El Pedregal Church, Asturias, SpainEl Pedregal Church

Shortly after walking through El Pedregal, the Camino Primitivo once again turns off the AS-216 and follows it to the north on quiet lanes and tracks. 

Eventually, after approximately 6 kilometers, the Original Way comes out to a lovely park with a Bar, La Casina de San Roque. It was 10:00 a.m. and the bar was open. It looked like a great rest stop with picnic tables all around.

We decided to keep going on, and try to get through most of Tineo before stopping. We wanted to get to a more halfway point on our day four of the Camino Primitivo.

Café Bar La Casina in San Roque With Picnic Grounds on the Camino PrimitivoCafé Bar La Casina in San Roque With Picnic Grounds

A little chapel, called the Capilla de San Roque was just beyond the bar. I totally missed it, because I was enthralled by the cattle crossing in the middle of the city!

The chapel is just to the left of the photo and shaded park benches surround it. It would have been a lovely place for a rest and a bite. 

Cattle Crossing Thru Town by the Capilla de San Roque, on the Camino PrimitivoCattle Crossing Thru Town by the Capilla de San Roque

The walled road you see here is the Camino San Roque, or the TI-1. It is incredibly scenic, looking out over the valley as it goes toward Tineo. I didn't even mind going back to the pavement, with this beautiful distraction. 

Down the Camino San Roque Into Tineo, on the Original WayDown the Camino San Roque Into Tineo

We followed this road as it passes the photogenic pilgrim sundial. 

Rich at Pilgrim Sundial Landmark, San Roque in Asturias, SpainRich at Pilgrim Sundial Landmark

Yes, Rich volunteered to take a photo of me too!

Elle at Sundial Landmark in San Roque on the Camino PrimitivoElle at Sundial Landmark

The Cantabrian mountains frame the town of Tineo. It is gorgeous geography on this day four, Camino Primitivo. The town is on a steep hillside as shown in the photo, below. 

Tineo and the Cantabrian Range, on the Camino Primitivo, Asturias, SpainTineo and the Cantabrian Range

The Camino de Santiago drops steeply toward Tineo as the Camino San Roque becomes the  Calle Sanchez. It never goes all the way into the center of town at the bottom of the hill. Apparently Tineo was a famous pilgrim stop, and I would have loved to explore the historical sites here. We just did not have sufficient time. 

We passed an open bar, but didn't stop. Surely there was another one on the other side of town? Tineo is not a small place. 

As it goes, there was not another bar, before the Primitive Way abruptly turns and heads back up a long hill and out of town! No café con leche boost for this girl!

After Tineo, you are entering God's country, and there is not a lot of infrastructure. The Camino lesson is grab what you can, when you can!

The street we were now on was aptly named the Calle la Fuente. I knew I was in for trouble as it climbed ever more steeply, passing several benches along the way for strategically located rest stops!

We missed our opportunity of finding a "perfectly placed bar" so we sat on one of the benches and had a picnic lunch from our packs. I did not know how long the hill climb was going to be, and I was physically and psychologically running out of energy. While we munched, three Spanish pilgrim gentlemen passed by us. 

I mourned the loss of a cuppa brew. Plus, my chest was starting to feel more constricted and it definitely felt like my post-nasal drip was turning into something more worrisome. 

The Calle la Fuente quickly becomes a rural road as it climbs. There are picnic tables farther up, when the street begins to flatten out, and the Fuente de San Juan - a pilgrim's fountain with benches. (not pictured).

If I had known, I would have pushed a little farther before stopping for lunch to enjoy the fantastic view across the valley, from these two resting spots. 

A native expressed my sentiment exactly, with his sign, in the photo below; "How green is my valley!" (zoom in on the sign to the right side of photo).

Que Verde es mi Valle, Tineo, Asturias, SpainQue Verde es mi Valle

My Not-So Gracious Race

As we walked by the pilgrim's fountain, the same three Spanish gentlemen, who we were soon to coin, "the three amigos," were having a bite. When they saw us coming, they hurriedly packed up and started following us. 

Down the road is Borres, a Camino pinch-point, and many pilgrims we had spoken to were interested in making it there by the end of day four of the Camino Primitivo. Borres is 3 km farther than our goal of Campiello for the day. Making it to Borres would shorten the long day on the Hospitales Route tomorrow.

The albergue in Borres has only 18 beds, and it gets mixed reviews. If you arrive and there are no beds, you have to return 3 km to Campiello. We did not want to take a gamble on it.

I tell you this information, because it seemed to us like the three amigos (and everyone else, for that matter) were on a race on this day, for beds in Borres. Oh well! We were not racing. We were going to stay in Campiello.

The Camino de Santiago turned off the Calle la Fuente and headed into the woods. 

Rich was having music player issues and we stopped as he fiddled with his head phones and cell phone. Our delay allowed the three amigos to happily jaunt by us for the second time. Their pace did not seem out of the unusual to me as I smiled at them and wished them a "Buen Camino." 

Then, the Camino started to climb much more steeply on its double track. Even though the three amigos had gotten ahead quite a ways, our faster pace allowed us to catch up to them rather quickly. I noted that they were carrying very heavy packs. 

As we neared to pass them, they started to speed up. They must have heard the clacking of our poles approaching.

Rich and I were both listening to music, to help with the climb. I had on Simple Minds, with a heavy, techno-beat. I eased off my pace, thinking they would eventually tire and let us pass. 

The exact opposite happened. Not only did they start to speed up more, but they were not yielding the right of way to let us pass. They crowded the track.

I thought, OK, I'll let them "win." We eased off our pace. Surprisingly, they eased off their pace. We followed behind them for some time like this, on their heels. If I would attempt to speed up again, so would they as they refused to yield the right of way.  

The view, immediately behind hikers in front of you is not all that pleasing. I disliked seeing their backsides and wanted to return to the open view ahead. 

After several minutes of this, I thought it was getting ridiculous. I was not going to not go my pace, if their only goal was to stay ahead of us. 

So, I decided that I was going to put it into my highest gear to get around them. And I did. I put my head down and booked. The hill was a real hump - very steep. It took quite an effort on my part. I am from Colorado and used to climbing mountains. It was amazing how determined they were to stay ahead of us on this day four of the Camino Primitivo, despite my all-out effort!

They were snorting and grunting and going as fast as they possibly could with their heavy packs. The fittest of the bunch was pulling ahead of the other two. He was also trying to prove something by not waiting for his Camino partners. However, I knew the whole group could not sustain this pace. They were just working way too hard. 

As I finally passed by them, I smiled to greet them, and they wouldn't even look at me! All eyes were down and forward, with an occasional glance to see where I was! They were taking it all very seriously! It was a serious race! Oh my!

I was able to take a better look at the three amigos as I passed them by. The one gentleman looked like he was actually in his mid-70's! The other two, maybe in their 60's, about 5-10 years older than us. I didn't know whether to be impressed or amused! Such fierce competition at that age! Wow! It was totally unexpected.

After we overtook the three amigos, and they snubbed me, I didn't look back. I kept the fast pace going until we came to the top of the hill that seemed to go on forever. The techno-rock was my driver. It was always good to get to the top. I was surprised at my stamina. I could dig deeply, if I had the will to do it. 

The forest had soon abated and these fantastic views appeared, below. 

When I finally looked back, the three amigos were nowhere to be seen. Apparently, without us in the picture they couldn't sustain the pace we were going. 

After my adrenaline abated, I worried that maybe I had given the "old" one a heart attack! I started to feel badly about what I had done. What if I had to share a dormitory with them later? How would that feel?

I processed and reflected on this for most of the rest of the day (see reflections, further down ~ At least I had something else on which to focus other than my shins and feet!)

Pastoral Scene on Day Four, Camino PrimitivoPastoral Scene on Day Four, Camino Primitivo

We had the Camino to ourselves, once again. The vistas all around were fabulous. This area, called La Guardia, was the high point of the day. 

La Guardia, High Point of Day Four Camino PrimitivoLa Guardia, High Point of Day Four, Camino Primitivo

After the long uphill, the Original Way flattened out, and started once again, to head downhill on the other side. The Primitivo is all about up and down! 

Open Country Afternoon Walk on the Camino Primitivo near Tineo, Asturias, SpainOpen Country Afternoon Walk

Our nice dirt track gives way to a grooved road downhill to the AS-350. There it turns right and follows it on a footpath to the south.

Camino Turns Downhill Toward Obona on day four of the Camino PrimitivoCamino Turns Downhill Toward Obona

After walking along the AS-350 for about 1/2 km, it veers back into the woods.

Into the Forest on the Road to Obona, Asturias, SpainInto the Forest on the Road to Obona

The deeply shaded track through the forest was such a wonderful reprieve from the hot sun. 

Forest Floor Relief from the Sun, near Villaluz, in Asturias, SpainForest Floor Relief from the Sun

On day four of the Camino Primitivo, it goes through Villaluz and finally joins the TI-3 near this photogenic horreo. 

Horreo Near Villaluz, on the Camino PrimitivoHorreo Near Villaluz

The Camino de Santiago stays on the TI-3 for 2 long, grueling kilometers on hot pavement, uphill into Campiello. While writing this article, I explored this road into Campiello on Google maps, and easily remembered how I felt in this moment. I could feel how hot the long climb on the pavement really was! It was not pleasant at the end of our day four on the Camino Primitivo.

I had also voice journalled how badly my feet were killing me on the hot pavement in this final stretch. 

Is it any wonder, we stopped, breathed and took a photo when we finally came upon the sign for Campiello. 

Campiello at Last ~ End of Day Four Camino PrimitivoCampiello at Last ~ End of Day Four, Camino Primitivo

The first bar we came to, we stopped for food and a beer, at 2:00 p.m. We had arrived in time before siesta closure. After about 20 minutes of enjoying our refreshments, along came the three amigos! Whew! They were alright. 

Then I found out that the Casa Ricardo doesn't close for siesta. Not only did the bar not close, but there was a well-stocked grocery store and brand-new private albergue that didn't close either. I thought I had died and gone to pilgrimage traveler heaven!

Below is the entry to the Albergue. You can find Ricardo at the bar to secure your space.

Privado Casa Ricardo, Entry and Courtyard in Campiello, Asturias, Spain on the Camino PrimitivoPrivado Casa Ricardo, Entry and Courtyard

Here is the lovely courtyard that is the center of the rooms and dormitory. There are tables where we pilgrims gathered for dinner.

Ricardo was so proud, as he, himself, gave us a tour of the facility. In almost perfect English, he explained that he had everything custom built, preserving the historical flavor of all the buildings. 

The facilities were wonderful, modern and new. We cooked dinner, with the direction of the Camino mother (see day one) and about eight of us sat down here for a shared meal. 

Interior of the Private Albergue, Casa Ricardo, Campiello, SpainInterior of the Private Albergue, Casa Ricardo

For 20 Euro, we could have stayed in the dormitory (10 -each), which was truly lovely. For just 10 Euro more, we chose the private room with its own bathroom. It was a delight. 

I can highly recommend the Casa Ricardo. It was a surprise and welcome respite before the difficult day five which lay ahead. 

Double Private Room, Casa Ricardo, Campiello, SpainDouble Private Room
Private Bathroom, Casa Ricardo, Campiello, SpainPrivate Bathroom

Reflections

Fortunately, I kept a voice journal from my Camino experience, so my reflections truly were from day four of my Camino Primitivo. Not months later when I am writing!

Most certainly, upon reflection, I did have an egoistic need to prove that I was faster and younger and stronger than the three amigos. My recorded words actually say, "I wanted to allow them (the three amigos) to sit back and relax and be old men. I did not want to be doing CPR on this guy (the 70+ amigo). This guy was really pushing, because I was humping it! I think I am a really strong climber. Very interesting. This is part of my motivation, I guess, or it was part of my lie to myself." 

Yes, I certainly did want to get around them. I did not enjoy the view that was in front of me. Yes, I was going at a faster pace than they were. Yes, I could have yielded anyway and enjoyed the moment. No, it didn't matter if I arrived at Compiello at 2:00 or 3:00. Yes, it probably made a difference to Spanish gentlemen that I was a female ~ and with grey hair at that!

Indeed, going forward we did not only have to share the road, but mostly likely we would have to share rooms! Had I tainted my relationship with them forever? 

I journaled; "All I wanted was to just get around them. And I actually think that some of it had to do with proving to myself, that I was doing well, despite the exercise-induced asthma (from my virus-caused post-nasal drip). Plus, I hated this day ~ Long, steep hill climbs, then down, down, down, pavement, pavement, pavement."

Indeed, for most of the afternoon I was miserable. The Primitivo was to prove to be more intense than I realized. Now that my body was acclimating, somewhat, after day four Camino Primitivo, I was getting sick with a virus. 

I was supposed to be at the top of my game. I was needing to prove to myself that I was physically equipped to handle this challenge. 

As it turns out, I was to suffer the same physical challenges that plague most pilgrimage travelers. I didn't have the super strong immune system. My body does have limits. However, on this day four Camino Primitivo, I suppose proved that I was better than average. I needed to prove that my not-so-gracious race had made a difference to me that day. 

Now, I am graciously accepting my lack of graciousness. I am human. I needed to feel strong, fast and young in the face of my own personal adversity. I needed to persevere. And so it is/was. Hindsight is 20/20 now when I look at my day four Camino Primitivo.

What do you think? Have you had similar experiences? You may leave your feedback below!

Salutation

May your own Camino de Santiago aid you in your inner and outer journey. May you be at Peace that they are often so interconnected that you cannot tell the difference. May you merge with your experience, such I did, through hope, adversity and yes, humanness. May your pilgrimage travels bring you new insights on your life's journey, as mine did on my day four on the Camino Primitivo. 



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