Did you know that the Camino de Santiago also leads through Asturias? The most famous is the ‘French route’, but there are several other routes that start in Spain itself. One of these routes is the ‘Camino Primitivo’, aka the ‘original road’. It starts in Oviedo and ends after about 13 stages of 15-30 km each, in Santiago de Compostela.
Today we walk the first part of this route, from Oviedo to Grado, about 25 km. The route starts at the beautiful cathedral in the city center. Since we already know this part of Oviedo well, we embark a few kilometers further along the route, at the foot of mountain Naranco. We are certainly not the only ones who departed on time (08:30) today: at the beginning of the route we already meet several pilgrims from Spain, Brazil and the Netherlands. Everyone says kindly: ‘Buen Camino’ and there are a few jealous glances on our small and light backpacks. Well, if you only walk one day you do not have to take much. If we then tell the pilgrims that we are only walking one stage to ‘taste’ the Camino we get very nice reactions!
The route takes us along the flanks of Naranco through villages and hills to the village of Escamplero. We reach a restaurant after a steep climb and are glad we left so early as it is still relatively cold. Almost all people present on the terrace walk the Camino. It is very nice to see how everyone gets to know each other and exchanges experiences. After a delicious ‘pincho’ (small homemade bread) we continue our way.
The route is well indicated by means of yellow painted arrows and pillars with the familiar yellow scallop on it. Despite this, we walk the wrong way. Fortunately, we end up on the right route after an hour (!) with the help of a few friendly locals.
The track then runs for a large part along the river Nalón and smaller streams; the sound of rippling water in the background is very relaxing. Occasionally we come through small villages where you can fill your bottle with delicious cool water from a fountain. In one village we even find a vending machine with soft drinks and chocolate. We use this gratefully since the sun is now shining and the temperature has risen to above 25 degrees.
Just before Grado is a nice picnic spot where many pilgrims charge their batteries to finalize the last few kilometers. We are lucky today: the train station is just in front of Grado. This means that we can rest our tired legs a little earlier. Moreover, we just hop on the train and do not have to wait two hours for the next one!
Although we have only tasted one day of the Camino, we have a good impression of the atmosphere. We noticed that you should not underestimate the route! Several stages of both the Camino Primitivo and the Camino Costa (or Norte) run through Asturias. Today was therefore the first, but certainly not our last experience with this pilgrim route!
Are you visiting Asturias and would you like to walk (part of) this stage of the Camino de Santiago with us? Have a look at our activities and join us to get a Taste of the Camino!