Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Photos: Llanes to Nueva

The Way crosses the beach at Celorio.

Gentians growing by the path

The deserted monastery at San Antolin

A wild looking pig in a pen near Naves

Monday, 29 June 2009

Reflections from the Coast to Oviedo

The Camino Antiguo and Camino Real

Photos: Along the Camino Antiguo

The Picos de Europa near Nueva

Near Torriello: the Way here is known as the Camino Antiguo

Photos: Ribadesella and Camino Real

The Way leaves Ribadesella over the bridge.
At La Vega the Camino Real is still paved. (See blog for May 5th)

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Photos: Along the coast to La Isla

Photos: La Isla to Villaviciosa

The new house is between two virtual ruins at La Calzada.

The Camino Real leaves the road and goes through the woods, still paved in parts.
(See blog for 5th May)

The wayside shrine was at La Vega (the other one!) on the Camino Real

A bend in the road provided a final view of the estuary as the Way turned inland

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Photos: Villaviciosa to Pola de Siero

At Capilla San Blas the Way divides, one part goes to Gijón, the other turns left through Valdediós. The shell signs on the marker stone (on roadside at left) face the chapel.

The maize store, on staddles to keep the rats away, has not been built under,unlike the store further on.

The largest Asturian medieval monastery, with the Abbey Church of Santa María is at Valdediós. It has been carefully restored.
Also in the monastery grounds is the church of San Salvador de Valdediós, consecrated in 893AD.

The walk from Valdediós was the first real test of my leg muscles uphill since I left Exeter and walked over Haldon (249mts). The Way rises 400mts in 3km, winding up the hillside. From the top there is a view down the 'Hidden Valley' to the monastery and the mist had gradually cleared to allow a photo back.

The brass scallop shells set in the paving slabs mark the Way in Pola de Siero and also in Oviedo

Photos: Pola de Siero to Oviedo

The large bull (toro) sign is an advert for Toro wine, seen on a number of hilltops and visible for miles around.
A maize barn in use near Fonciello. The maize is hung on the outside of the barn to dry. This must be last year's crop. Nearby the old palace at Meres can be seen over the tree tops.
Just before Oviedo, at Colloto, the road passes over the old Way over the bridge (Puente de Colloto). Built on Roman foundations it was partially destroyed during the Civil War when a number of Roman coins from the 4th and 5th centuries were found in one of the damaged arches. The bridge was later restored and remains part of the Camino.

Friday, 26 June 2009

Photos: Oviedo - old and new buildings

Parts of the church of San Tirso el Real date from the time of Alfonso 11 (791-842). The triple arch window is original. A the front of the building there is a Roman soldier standing in a niche.
Modern building works still preserve old walls. The scaffolding is holding up the old house front while new work takes place behind. This will eventually join the old facade.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Photos: Oviedo to Grado

After a cloudy start, see blog for May 10th, the sun came out. The Camino follows the winding road past the apple trees near to an isolated house at Romeda. The wild flowers were further along the Way. At Peñaflor the houses overhung the road.

Photos: Grado to Salas

The Camino follows the old paved Way at El Morriendo and crosses the Rio Narcea. It passes the monstery at Cornellana and crosses the Rio Nonaya twice, at Casazorrina, before reaching Salas.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Photos: Salas.

When Terry reached Salas it was wet. When Valerie passed through on her way to meet Terry it was a scorching hot day.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Photos: Salas to Bodenaya

The new road being built near to Salas crosses the valley on stilts and is cantilevered out on the supports visible in this photo.

An Asturian maize barn - Bodenaya.

The new albergue at Bodenaya.

The scallop shell way signs on the albergue doorpost, one pointing in to the albergue (refugio) and the other along the Camino.

Monday, 22 June 2009

Further Reflections on my Pilgrimage

After leaving Oviedo the Camino passes through a number of small ‘market’ towns to which I could relate as a country-dweller! Even Tineo with a population of 11,539 (really???), does not seem that big when entering and leaving on the side streets taken by the Camino. For a country-boy places like Grandas de Salime (population 1,186) is somewhere that he can call ‘home’. Yes, there were road works with diversions and road walking in some places but for kilometre after kilometre I was surrounded by peaceful countryside.

I had (and still have) a mental and spiritual conflict over the this!

In many of the smaller villages there were ruined or neglected houses and barns. Some of them bearing the legend “SE VENDE” (FOR SALE), often in faded lettering. Time after time I thought “I could do something with that!” or “Wouldn’t that make a super albergue?”
I would guess that the younger members of the family had moved away in search of education or work, leaving the old folk in their ancestral village to struggle on in the old ways until they were too old or infirm to continue. The land only lends itself to ‘subsistance farming’. Would I really want to live there with my wife and children, dependent on the vagaries of the weather. And so I find myself mired in Geo-political Theory! Re-distribution of land, namely “3 acres and a cow” doesn’t work when people see better prospects in the towns and cities.
In the poem from which the following is an extract,William Roscoe gets carried away in eulogising ‘Mother Earth’.

From her exhaustless springs the fruitful earth
The wants of all supplies; her children we,
From her full veins the grateful juices draw,
With life and health replete; nor hard return
She at our hands requires, nor more than suits
The ends of health and pleasure; yet bestows
On all her offspring with a parent's love
Her gifts impartial:

William Roscoe: The Wrongs of Africa: 1787

But what if the returns of their labour does not satisfy the longings of human hearts? What if the earth is not fruitful? What if the return is hard - very hard? What if there is no “health and pleasure?” What if farming these small holdings just doesn’t work? What would God have me do?

Well, I did say it would take me a long time to work through my ‘Camino experience’!

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Photos: Bodenaya to Tineo

The waymarking is painted on the road at El Espin, with a shell inset to point the way. No chance of getting lost here!

Approaching Tineo, the snow can still be seen on the far mountains.

The white house is the Casa Cultural in Tineo, the resource centre for the town.

The view from the albergue window looks down the valley and roads nearby to the far mountains.

The shield is carved over the door of one of the old houses in Tineo