Camino de Madrid

Camino de Madrid
Camino de Madrid

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Day 20. October 3, 2015. Sebrayo to La Vega de Sariega. 23.2 kms

Full many a glorious morning have I seen
Flatter the mountain tops with golden eye
Kissing with golden face the meadows green
Gilding pale streams with heavenly alchemy

I was in a top bunk again last night. There is no standard design for the double bunks. Some with guard rails on either side of the top bunk would pass a safety standard, but most would not. It's not so bad without them if you are up against a wall, but if you're not, you have to anchor yourself somehow to make sure you don't roll off. Some have a ladder up the sides; others up the back. Some have no ladder at all. Then it's quite an art to swing yourself off and down in the dark. 

Invariably the bunk rocks on top when the person below moves. And the person below me, for two nights running, was a mover and shaker. I think he was having serious nightmares, for sometimes he would shake in one direction and then another, and of course tremors below meant violent cataclysmic quakes above.

The albergue at Serbrayo was the worst equipped I have seem. There was no drinking water, only one working burner on the stove, and an awkward lack of toilet paper. Unfortunately, this alberge is a difficult one to avoid.

There was mist in the valley as I set out through the fields, the long grass heavy with dew, a few chooks up early to catch the worm, circular bales lining the road in their green or black or silver plastic wrapping, a lone songbird, and always the apple trees, often with blighted fruit, but I don't think it mattered for it all went into the cider press.

I ate a leisurely breakfast at Villaviciosa, and then walked through the town, and came to the place where the roads divide. I decided that I wanted to see Oviedo, so turned left, away from the coast and up into the hills. I can still cut back to the coastal route from Oviedo if I want to.

Notice that here in Asturias it's the top of the shell, where the valves join, that indicates the direction. Elsewhere it can be the opposite. Confusing! I always look for the yellow arrows. Occasionally they can be confusing too when they point in two directions or are double-ended. Which to choose? Is one low, the other a high level variant? Or is one a Duke-of-Yorker, a longer loop just to get you off the highway?

Soon it was quieter and lonelier. I walked on narrow winding roads, through the hills, sometimes following a brook up a valley, for I seemed to have chosen a low level variant. I am noticing more and more horreos in the villages, and I suspect that the large circular stones on which they are mounted are to keep away the rats.


I ate lunch at Valledios across from the monastery. It was unbelievably still. Gum trees towered above the horse chestnuts below, their leaves barely moving, 

The only sounds the passing of a car,
And heated conversation in the bar.

I forced myself to leave that idyllic place.  And then the climb. I knew that my valley must come to an end, for I was surrounded by hills, and suddenly it was straight up for 700 feet on a little concrete road that zigzagged up the slope, for 50 minutes in all, for I dared not stop or I'd never start again, until mercifully, I reached the highway at the top.

And then it was downhill through little villages to La Vega and the alberge.

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