Day 4: Salas to La Espina

Distance Today: 9.9 km
Total Distance from Oviedo: 63.7 km.
Elevation Gain: 565 metres.
Weather: Overcast/rain; cold
Highlight: Brutal climb good; weather bad!

Salas

There were no ghosts, other apparitions, or fires last night at our albergue in Salas, so we had a good sleep and felt refreshed by morning. When it started getting light, the birds began chirping in unison like they’d all been switched on.

It was no surprise that we woke up to rain as there was a 100 per cent chance of it. We headed straight for the nearest bar from the albergue for breakfast, hoping the rain would eventually stop. We used the time and their wi-fi to publish yesterday’s post.

The rain finally stopped by about 9:30 AM and we were ready to tackle the brutal hill out of Salas. When I paid the bill, the barista offered us our choice of fruit to take away for our journey. That’s the third time a Camino angel has given us bananas!

I might be wrong, but my impression is that the further along the Camino Primitivo and the more difficult the climb, the more attention locals pay to pilgrims like us who are facing this challenge. They know all about the difficulties. There are more “Buen Caminos” from locals now, whereas these greetings used to come mostly from fellow pilgrims.

Yesterday I was shown a German guidebook, much more detailed than ours. The elevation gain between Salas and Bodenaya looked “brutal,” as many people have attested to. For the first half of our climb, we wondered when it would become more difficult. We were simply enjoying a moderate climb under a beautiful green canopy. Finally we came to a couple of strenuous switchbacks, but they weren’t as bad or as long as we had anticipated. Maybe we were tackling this section feeling refreshed after a good night’s sleep, while others who thought it was brutal tackled it at the end of a hard day.

Salas to Bodenaya
Salas to Bodenaya

At the Albergue La Campa in Salas yesterday, Dave asked the hospitalero about the lack of traffic on the highway. He explained that the money used to build their highways is European money and that people in Spain don’t own enough cars to fill those highways.

Salas to Bodenaya

The rain held off until we reached almost the top of today’s climb; then it started with a vengeance! I soon learned that my Merrill boots leak like a sieve. Water was puddling around my toes. Also, with the higher elevation, the temperature was noticeably colder (6C according to a sign). My hands were so cold that my thumbs didn’t work to put on my gloves. All I could do is tuck my hiking poles under one arm and slip my hands into my jacket for a bit of warmth.

The place where we aimed to stay was the Albergue de Peregrinos in Bodenaya but, because we would have to wait for 1 1/2 hours for it to open, we carried on for another kilometre to La Espina. By then we were wetter than ever and desperate for warmth and shelter.

We rang the bell at the El Texu Albergue even though the sign said they wouldn’t open until 2 PM. Our desperation must have shown! They took pity on us, let us check in early, and gave us two big cups of coffee while we warmed up in their kitchen.

Oh how we love this place! Our private room is bright, comfortable, and is tastefully decorated for just 30 Euros. We filled a bag with all our dirty, wet clothes and had them washed, dried, and returned to us neatly folded for just 6 Euros. It doesn’t get much better than this! Now we are lounging in our room under cozy duvets appreciating being warm and dry after such a day.

El Texu Albergue, La Espina

By the way, as soon as we settled into our room here in La Espina, I emailed David at the Albergue de Peregrinos in Bodenaya to apologize for our late cancellation. He very kindly replied: “Hello Judy! Don’t worry. We open at 2 PM because we need to rest before open the albergue. That’s the way, just flow!!! Thanks to say to us to share the beds for other pilgrims. We wish you a nice pilgrimage and we hope the way teach you beautifull life lessons. God bless you! Ultreia.” This is why so many people have such good things to say about David. I am sorry I didn’t get to meet him. 🙁

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8 Responses to Day 4: Salas to La Espina

  1. Maggie says:

    Hi Judy & Dave. Wet and cold does not sound fun at all…..so glad you found comfortable, warm, friendly accommodation (complete with hot coffee) at the end of that big climb! Sorry to hear about those wet boots, Judy! What an incredible pair you are – such adventurers and we’re so delighted to be able to share in your journey with photos and words.

    Look forward to hearing more soon. Take care of those feet.
    Hugs,
    Maggie & Gary

    • Judy says:

      Hi Maggie & Gary! The only thing worse than “wet and cold” is “wet, cold, and muddy!” Stay tuned for the next episode… We’re go glad you are following the journey. Hugs to you too!

  2. Bonnie says:

    Hi Judy and Dave
    Warm and dry under cozy duvets, coffee to warm you through and through.
    Love it my intrepid friends.
    Congratulations on your Buen Brutal Camino.
    It will be the “best time ever” (once you get hometown tell the tale!!!)
    Your pictures are stunning even in the rain.
    Sending hugs and love and a west coast full moon.
    B

    • Judy says:

      Hi Bon! How right you are about the “best time ever” stories that are coming soon but not quite there yet during the adventure ! I am back under another duvet in another town as it seems like the only way to warm up after cooling down. Feeling like a yo-yo heat-wise. Ha ha…

  3. Kathryn says:

    Hi Judy. I felt your pain through your blog……..wet and cold!!! And I can feel the warmth in the duvet – you write so well.
    Hope the skies clear – nothing worse than being cold and wet.
    Take care.

  4. Marjorie Law says:

    You just keep keeping on! It seems neither wet, nor cold, nor brutal elevation will keep you from your appointed rounds! Sending hugs from sunny, dry and mostly flat Sidney.

    • Judy says:

      Hi Marjorie! We’re just like the mailman (or Santa Claus)! What keeps us going is how good it can get after it being so bad. The best is yet to come…

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