Day Two on the Camino Primitivo, Escamplero to La Dóriga, 20.8 Kilometers (12.92 Miles)

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On day two of our camino primitivo the challenge was about the juxtaposition of beauty and pain. 

"The experience of communitas sustains pilgrims as they traverse through the physical discomfort as well as the psychological and spiritual pain so often a part of liminal experiences." ~ Pilgrimage - The Sacred Art: Journey to the Center of the Heart, Dr. Sheryl A. Kujawa-Holbrook

Despite our perception of fitness, coming from the mountains of Colorado, nothing prepared us for day two on the camino primitivo and what the pavement pounding would do to our bodies.

While I was worried about our aging knees, it seemed that our wearing of elastic knee supports did nothing for the foot pain and shin splints that we both felt immediately upon embarking on our second days journey! This pain was to plague us all day. 

Day Two Camino Primitivo Maps and Stats

The Primitive Way on day two was beautiful and our original goal was to get to the albergue in Cornellana. But as Caminos go, we were redirected and stayed in La Dóriga instead. 

Here are the GPS tracks for the distance that we completed on day two. We did not make it to San Juan de Villapañada on Day One, because we also walked to the Naranco World Heritage churches that first day. 

This turned out to be fortuitous for two reasons: because of our developing physical pain on day two of the Camino Primitivo and because as you can see below, the climb to San Juan de Villapañada is quite strenuous, especially if you are doing it at the end of a very long first day!

Note the optional route to the historic site, the Termas Romanas, in orange, described in the text below. Please also note that the nearest open bar is in Paladín, 6.9 kilometers into the day. 

Here is our elevation profile for the day. There is significant elevation change initially of about 200 meters (650 feet), first down, then climbing back up, with a 60 meter (200 feet) bump in the middle to Premoño, just after Escamplero. 

We completed the day in La Dóriga, about 4.2 kilometers onward from the turnoff to the albergue in San Juan Villapañada, 2.0 kilometers before Fresno. This section included a 320 meter (1050 feet) climb from Grado to Alto del Fresno, before descending 230 meters (750 feet) into La Dóriga, 2.7 km before Cornellana. 

We could have easily descended 2.7 more kilometers to Cornellana on this day, but we do not regret our choice of the wonderful little albergue, the Acogida Cá Pacita in La Dóriga. See father below for photos and description of it. 

Elevation Profile, Day Two on the Camino Primitivo, Escamplero to La DórigaElevation Profile, Day Two on the Camino Primitivo, Escamplero to La Dóriga

The Journey

As we left the municipal albergue in Escamplero, we timed our departure perfectly, for viewing the sunrise. The air was fresh this August mountain morning, and the sky was aglow with the dawn-light (around 7:30 a.m). 

Escamplero, Spain SunriseEscamplero Sunrise

After the magnificent sunrise and moment-capturing through the lens of our camera, we began the long descent toward Premoño. We soon discovered that the long downhills, while easy on the lungs, killed our lower legs.  

While we knew this from hiking many, many mountains in Colorado, doing it on pavement, was indeed another story! Our bodies were just not prepared for the pounding on the pavement of the AS-372. 

Thank God the scenery was beautiful, the morning fresh with mist but no rain and the sunrise fantastic! I breathed deeply and focused my intention on gratefulness that I could feel this pain! It could be much worse - I could be handicapped and unable to have this experience!

I felt alive and well!

After approximately 1/2 kilometer, the Camino leaves the AS-372 for this quiet lane, below. 

The Descent Towards Premoño, Asturias, SpainThe Descent Towards Premoño

As we descended downhill on the pavement, I focused on using my poles as much as I could to take my weight off my lower legs. I noticed that the balls of my feet, just below my toe pads really started to hurt on this stretch as well. My right foot hurt worse than my left. Somehow I must have been striking harder on the pavement with my right foot. I tried to intentionally lighten my right foot strike. 

The morning freshness and the mist that hung low in the valleys was enchanting. This stone wall, below, that bore a waymark caught my eye, as the misty mountains framed the background. 

Stone Wall and Camino Waymark, Asturias, SpainStone Wall and Camino Waymark

400 short meters on the lane and the Camino merges once again with the AS-372.

Soon into this day two of our Camino Primitivo, about one kilometer after the albergue in Escamplero, along the AS-372 and after entering the small village of Valsera, we came upon a small pilgrim chapel, the Capilla de Fátima, pictured below. We stopped for a short while to look at the chapel. Unfortunately, it was locked. 

I had set an intention, that every little chapel that I would come across on my Camino, that I would stop, and at a minimum, say a little prayer of gratitude, for my journey and all that was available to me. 

Capilla de Fátima, Asturias, SpainCapilla de Fátima

By the chapel, a turn to the left off the AS-372 and after another immediate left, the Primitive Way becomes a paved lane, below...

Quiet Lane with Stone Wall, Asturias, SpainQuiet Lane with Stone Wall

Through freshly pruned vineyards...

Walk Thru Vineyards in the Mist, Asturias, SpainWalk Thru Vineyards in the Mist

And then, a sweet turn after 1.1 kms on the paved lane took us onto a semi-paved lane and sweet relief for my aching feet and shins!

Deeper into the Countryside, Asturias, SpainThe Lane Becomes More Remote

The glorious blackberries were everywhere, lining the path, also a welcome relief to our aching stomachs that had not yet had any breakfast. 

Blackberries Line The Way, Asturias, SpainGlorious Blackberries Line The Primitive Way

Deeper into the countryside we went.

Deeper into the Countryside, Asturias, SpainDeeper into the Countryside

Here Rich is harvesting our berry breakfast. 

Rich Harvests Our Berry Breakfast, Asturias, SpainRich Harvests Our Berry Breakfast

Our country lane soon re-joined a paved road after 3/4 kilometer, as it climbed into Premoño. The uphill portion gave our sore shins, a needed break from the downhill pounding. The uphill was most definitely easier on the shin pounding!

After 4.2 kilometers into the day, in the heart of the hamlet of Premoño, the Capilla of Santa Ana de Premoño greeted us. Once again, we stopped and filled our hearts with gratitude.

Capilla of Santa Ana de Premoño, Asturias, SpainCapilla of Santa Ana de Premoño

A beautiful, raised hórreo, or granary greeted us in Premoño, however, there are no services in this town.

Raised, Asturian Horreo on the Camino PrimitivoRaised, Asturian Hórreo

About 350 meters after the chapel in Premoño, the Primitive Way again turns into a path to the right. The path leads you into an entanglement of wild blackberries, below, which we continued to receive as our gift on the Camino! 

Waymark on the Path to Valduno, Asturias, SpainWaymark on the Path to Valduno

After approximately another 3/4 kilometer on this path, you have a choice to make if you wish to see the historical attraction, the Termas Romanas, or Roman baths, only about 400 meters off-Camino. The Camino goes to the right, on another nice path through the countryside, but you can go left toward the town of Valduno to see the historical site.

There used to be a bar in town too, but, unfortunately, it is now permanently closed, however the Villa Palatina, just 1.6 kilometers ahead has a bar and restaurant after approximately 6.9 kilometers from Escamplero.

There is a nice shortcut back to the Camino from Valduno, shown on the map, so visiting the site will not require you to back-track, and no additional walking is necessary. 

If you stay on the Camino, instead of the optional detour to the ruin site, after about 1/2 kilometer, join a dirt road, heading left and west for not quite another 1/2 kilometer, when you come to a T-intersection next. Go left at the T and in only a few meters more, come to another T-intersection, this time turning right onto the pavement. This is where the shortcut from the ruin site joins the Camino.

We took the side trip after visiting the now-closed bar, but it wasn't really worth it, as a church had been built over the ruins of the bath and all that is left is the foundation walls.

We soon were back on the Primitive Way and walking toward the next town of Paladín, on this shortcut, shown below. I have marked this shortcut in orange, on my interactive map, above. 

Long, Flat, Paved Road to Paladín, on Day Two of the Camino Primitivo, Asturias, SpainLong, Flat, Paved Road to Paladín on Day Two, Camino Primitivo

It was on day two on the Camino Primitivo that I really began to notice a sore throat that I thought was merely a passing nuisance from insufficient hydration during our long-flight the day prior. Until now, I hadn't paid much attention to the thickness and dryness that was developing in my throat. 

I kept walking, and soon we were in Paladín after 600 meters from where the shortcut joins the Camino. There is a private albergue with private rooms here, the Villa Palatina, mere steps off Camino in town, that gets rave reviews. It also has a fantastic bar and restaurant, as stated above, at 6.9 kilometers into the day’s journey. 

Town of Paladín, Asturias, SpainTown of Paladín, Asturias, Spain

Just beyond Paladín the Primitive Way continues for about 800 meters along the secondary paved road, then turns left to follow a dirt lane for another 150 meters. The lane briefly turns into another sweet path, following along the River Nalón for another 800 meters, below.

Forest Path, Camino Primitivo, Asturias, SpainInteresting Forest Path

Asturias has invested in some Camino infrastructure, as you can see in this lovely foot bridge and all the signs placed along the way. 

Camino Footbridge, Asturias, SpainCamino Footbridge

The path joins the AS-372, again, continuing along the river to walk into Peñaflor, not quite one kilometer later and a total of 9.6 kilometers for the day.

Just after the Bar Casa Aurina on your left, the Camino leaves the AS-327 to turn left and cross the River Nalón on the historic medieval bridge, the Puente Medieval de Peñaflor. Rich posed on the historic Romanesque bridge over the river, below.

When you have reached this bridge you are not quite 10 kilometers into the day.

Rich Standing on the Bridge over the River NalónRich Standing on the Bridge over the River Nalón

This photo shows me looking back on the bridge we had just crossed. It is a dramatic place with the rock wall and the river gorge. Apparently this bridge was the site of several Peninsular War battles. 

Elle on Bridge over River Nalón, San Juan de Peñaflor, SpainElle on Bridge over River Nalón

After crossing the bridge at Puente de Peñaflor, we turned right onto the busy N-634 and in 280 meters, this lovely little stone country church greets you, below left. Leave the N-634 by the church and head into town on a side road to the right. 

Iglesia de San Juan de Peñaflor, Camino Primitivo, Asturias, SpainIglesia de San Juan de Peñaflor

The town proper, of Peñaflor, is a lovely little town, so historic and quaint as are many Asturian towns. You meander through town on narrow streets, following the yellow arrows, until you reach its west side. 

Thru the Town of Peñaflor, Asturias, SpainThru the Town of Peñaflor

On the west side of Peñaflor, turn right and walk under a railroad bridge to a long, flat, paved path that leads the pilgrim onward to the next town of Grado. It is Grado that you see in the distance in the photo below. This scenic open path is paved, then turns to dirt and lasts for about 1.6 kilometers until it meets town. It is a track frequented by the locals, out having a morning walk.

Pilgrimage Lane to Grado, Camino Primitivo, Asturias, SpainPilgrimage Lane to Grado

On the way to Grado, we passed a field of sunflowers. How delightful they were as they greeted us with their sunny faces!

Sunflowers Greet Us Along the Way, Camino PrimitivoSunflowers Greet Us Along the Primitive Way

On the northern fringe of Grado, the Primitive Way crosses over a railroad track and three blocks later joins the main road again, the N-634, 50 meters before the bridge, shown below, after about 2.2 kilometers from Peñaflor and goes through the town of Grado. There is a lot of uphill pavement walking through town, which is not the most pleasant. 

In about 500 meters from crossing the river Cubia at the bridge, and after passing a city park on your right, you will see the turnoff to the right, for the Albergue de Peregrinos de Grado, at about 13 kilometers total for the day. It is another 150 meters up the hill to the 2-story, stone building that houses the albergue (not shown).  

Entering Grado, Asturias, SpainEntering Grado

In another 300 meters, pass by a brand-new private albergue on your right, the Albergue La Quintana, in a restored mansion. They have both an albergue and private rooms for the night. There is also the Hotel Areces in this area, just one block south of the N-634. 

We thought we would take advantage of the route through town and stop for another café con leche and a bite to eat. We found a place called the Auto Bar on the far side of town, after another 350 meters. It is also a family run hotel, so if you wish to conclude your day here, this hotel is right along the Camino at the far western side of town.

In the bar, we met a pilgrim in flowing black robes, doing the Primitive Way backwards towards Oviedo. After a long and interesting conversation with him and lots of advice, we determined that the best option for the night was in a friendly place he recommended in La Dóriga, just before Cornellana. He preferred the small boutique cabin that the albergue offered in La Dóriga (see farther below) over the convent.

Back on the road, a few blocks past the Auto Bar is the Supermercado Covirán, where you may wish to stock up on supplies, especially if you are planning to stay at the Albergue de San Juan, ahead in about 2.6 kilometers. We should have also stopped here for our breakfast in La Dóriga, as you will see from reading on!

After the supermercado, the Way turns off the main road to the left on a small alleyway, then goes right to join a paved lane called the Calle la Podada de Arriba, as it starts to climb steeply, immediately up and out of town. Since the Spanish word “arriba” means “up,” this is no joke! Get ready for the climb! Shortly after leaving Grado, the now-dirt lanes were lined with monster hydrangeas. 

Country Path Lined With Hydrangeas, Camino Primitivo, Asturias, SpainCalle la Podada de Arriba Lined With Hydrangeas
Hydrangea Close-Up, Camino Primitivo, Asturias, SpainHydrangea Close-Up
Asturian Countryside, Camino PrimitivoAsturian Countryside in Day Two, Camino Primitivo

This lovely high lane, shown above, levels out after about 700 meters and walks the pilgrimage traveler through the Asturian countryside for less than a kilometer. After the country lane ends at a T-intersection, the Camino takes a right turn and joins a paved road, crossing over the A-63, and continuing the climb along a quiet paved road for the next 1.5 kilometers and toward the turnoff for the Albergue de Peregrinos de San Juan de Villapañada. The turn-off is clearly marked and is at approximately 16.5 kilometers into the day. The albergue is off-Camino about 850 meters to the north. 

While somewhat strenuous, the views all around are to die for, below. 

Asturian Grandeur, near End of Day Two Camino PrimitivoAsturian Grandeur, near End of Day Two on the Camino Primitivo

This would be a long climb at the end of your day if you chose to come all the way from Oviedo to here. 

While the Primitive Way follows the A-63 highway, on its north side after crossing it, on a narrow paved, continuous lane, one only catches a glimpse of it here and there. 

You carry straight-on at the intersection with the turn-off and do even more climbing toward the crest of this hill, below. 

The Tinkle of Cow Bells is Everywhere!The Tinkle of Cow Bells is Everywhere!

Then it is 1.5 kilometers more of steep climbing to the Alto del Fresno, the final top of the climb, after 18 kilometers total. You will know you have arrived when you see a town sign of "El Freisnu," you are under a lot of power lines and a small Ermita can be seen on the hill just farther on to your right. You can take the use-path to the Ermita del Fresno if you so desire, another 100 meters to the tippy top of the hill. 

From the top of the climb, instead of the path to the church on the hill, take a left onto a long gravel road, shown below.

However, if you wish to go to the municipal Albergue de Peregrinos de Cabruñana, at the top of the hill you can take the road to the right, or north, called the Calle Real, toward the church, in the direction of Cabruñana and walk 1.45 kilometers until it joins the N-634, then another 250 meters to find the albergue. The keys are in the Bar Restaurante Ana, next door, just before the albergue. This is a full 1.7 kilometers off -Camino.

The next day you can return to the Primitivo via El Freisnu, or continue onward on the N-634 until it joins the Camino de Santiago in Cornellana. This would entail a long walk of 4.75 kilometers on the N-634, however it would be a full 2.0 kilometers shorter than returning to El Freisnu.

The gravel road to the left follows an ugly power line as it drops dramatically into the town of San Marcelo in 1.2 kilometers and just after crossing the highway. 

Long Gravel Road Descent into San Marcelo, Camino PrimitivoLong Gravel Road Descent into San Marcelo

Near the bottom of the hill when the road makes a bend, we came upon this fountain (fuente) at the Puente de la Meredal. We did not drink from here, as our hydration packs were still sufficiently full. 

Puente de la Meredal, Camino PrimitivoPuente de la Meredal

The gravel road becomes pavement as the Camino enters town. The town of San Marcelo is a charming one and a delightful gentleman greeted us with a hand-full of lemons from his tree, to share. 

Entering San Marcelo on the Camino Primitivo, Asturias, SpainEntering San Marcelo

There is now a donativo albergue, the Casita Mandala, (+34 644 78 11 14), right along the way, in the middle of town after 19.2 kilometers total. The albergue was opened by a French couple, who describe it as such: “We are a small ecological and Permaculture project. We want to share our small place with pilgrims and invite them to discover a simple, ecological friendly way of life. We restored an old stone house using natural materials (clay, straw, lime etc...). Part of the food is from our organic garden.” 

Charming Shuttered Window in San MarceloCharming Shuttered Window in San Marcelo

After San Marcelo, the Way joins the SL-9 for 200 meters before it veers onto this lovely path, below, just before a roundabout. The path is lined with rock and hedge walls, for the final kilometer for the day.

Rich on the path to Dóriga, Camino PrimitivoRich on the path to La Dóriga
Path Into the Woods and Abandoned Stone Building, Camino PrimitivoPath Into the Woods and Abandoned Stone Building

The path comes out of the woods, and into a small hamlet where the Santa Eulalia church, built in the XII century greets you on your way into town. 

The Camino goes right around this church, to the front and into the town. You have arrived in the hamlet of La Dóriga. 

Iglesia de Santa, Eulalia, XII Century, Primitive Way, Asturias, SpainIglesia de Santa, Eulalia, XII Century

The stone pillar to the right of the church, in the photo, above, identifies the church. 

Iglesia de Santa, Eulalia, XII Century, Primitive Way, Asturias, SpainIglesia de Santa, Eulalia, XII Century

Right across from the Santa Eulalia church is the Acogida Cá Pacita (+34 684 613 861), the restaurant and albergue, our final stop on day two of our Camino Primitivo. 

Cá Pacita Albergue and Restaurant in DórigaAcogida Cá Pacita Albergue and Restaurant in Dóriga

The little cabin guest house behind the restaurant that sleeps six was very quaint and cozy. It was a good call from the robed pilgrim. We ended up enjoying the place all by ourselves that night! Apparently all the other pilgrims we met the night before had gone on to Cornellana. 

Cá Pacita Sleeping Cabin, Asturias, SpainAcogida Cá Pacita Sleeping Cabin

Tired and famished, we arrived in time to partake in the Sunday "lunch" hour. The restaurant was packed with Spaniards in their best dress, celebrating some occasion, of which I was not sure.

Our meal consisted of a starter of Crema de Calabasín (Cream of Squash Soup), followed by a delicious dish of spicy, fried pork pieces called picadillos

Picadillios - Spicy Pork Dish, Asturias, SpainPicadillios - Spicy Pork Dish


That night while lying in my bed, I stretched the heck out of the entire front of my legs and hips to open and relieve my shin splints. Ouch, they hurt!

Since there were no other pilgrims to talk to at our albergue, it was my husband, also suffering from shin splints, with whom I commiserated! He was a good co-commiserator. I popped Ibuprofen for both my shin splints and my sore throat, which didn't seem to abate all that much as the day progressed. 

All-in-all, I would say the joy of the journey superseded the pain I felt on this day two of my Camino Primitivo. Thus far, my predominant emotion was one of euphoria and gratitude. However, the journey was young...


May you find the spirit of community on your own day two on the Camino Primitivo! May the experience take you to the in-between places, where normal and surreal collide! 

Now a greatly improved and updated version of our Camino Primitivo eBook Guide, completed in 2023, for your best Camino Primitivo experience. Click here for more information.

The Camino Primitivo Stages

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Need suggestions on what to pack for your next pilgrimage? Click Here or on the photo below!

Carbon Trekking Poles

Carbon fiber construction ( not aluminum) in a trekking pole makes them ultra lightweight. We like the Z-Pole style from Black Diamond so we can hide  our poles in our pack from potential thievesbefore getting to our albergue! There are many to choose from!  ( See more of our gear recommendations! )

Gregory BackPack - My Favorite Brand

An ultralight backpack should serve you well for years, like my Gregory has - six Caminos in all! My 28L Women's pack gets a 5-star on Amazon (Ones for Guys too)!

Microfiber Towel Set

Do not forget your quick-dry microfiber towel!

My absolute favorite book on how to be a pilgrim: