Day 7: Campiello to Pola de Allande

Distance Today: 16.5 km
Total Distance from Oviedo: 108.7 km.
Elevation Gain: 479 metres.
Weather: Sunny with cloudy periods; cool
Highlight: Worried about tomorrow…

Leaving Campiello

Today had the potential to be one of the most stunning days of any Camino but also one of the most challenging ones. We left Albergue Ricardo in Campiello just after 8 AM and about an hour later had to make a decision: follow the Hospitales route (recommended) or take the Pola route.

Hospitales or La Pola route?

The Hospitales option leads into the mountains and away from civilization for most of the day. While this is one of the most demanding walks on any Camino, made more so by the lack of resources, it is strikingly beautiful with expansive mountain vistas unfolding in all directions. It passes several ruined former pilgrim hospitals. The distance of the Hospitales route from Campiello to Berducedo is 27 km and reaches 1146 elevation at Puerto del Palo.

The Pola de Allande option is longer than the Hospitales route but it provides an opportunity to break the journey in half by staying a night in Pola de Allande. While this route provides some impressive views, it is a far cry from the Hospitales route. It involves a challenging climb out of Pola on the second day (roughly 600 metres gained) followed by an abrupt descent. It reaches the same elevation (1146 metres) as the Hospitales route at Puerto del Palo where the two routes reunite.

Dave hadn’t slept well last night and didn’t have the energy to walk 27 km via the Hospitales route, so off we went to Pola de Allande, 16.5 km away.

Campiello to Porciles

About half way to Pola de Allande we regretted not hiking the Hospitales route. Should we walk back to where the trail splits just after Borres, stay the night, and take the Hospitales route tomorrow? What about taking a taxi for the hardest part of the steep ascent coming out of Pola tomorrow? Would that give us time to walk backwards on the Hospitales route for part of the way so we can see what we missed today? Could we do that and still get to our destination, Berducedo, at a decent hour? What options do we have?

Approaching Pola de Allande
Approaching Pola de Allande
Pola de Allande

When we arrived at the Albergue de Peregrinos in Pola de Allande, the hospitalero wasn’t here, nor were there any other pilgrims. The door wasn’t locked, so we let ourselves in and helped ourselves to one of the 24 bunk beds. We went for lunch and on our return the place was still empty. Eventually the hospitalero showed up and now there are four other pilgrims.

This accommodation is 5 Euros each and gives us a roof over our head, a bed to sleep in, and a washroom to get clean in. There is nothing you would call charming about the place, it’s not exactly clean, and there is no heat again!

Who knows what tomorrow will bring? It is a blank slate and what we do with it will be of our own making. Maybe we’ll be so well rested, we’ll simply fly up the mountain. Ultreia! We’ll put one foot in front of the other and won’t look at the hill ahead.

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8 Responses to Day 7: Campiello to Pola de Allande

  1. Bonnie says:

    Hi Judy and Dave
    So many options.
    A blank slate… pretty much like painting your beautiful creations.
    After a good nights’ sleep your mind and body will guide you
    Here’s to flying… your dream is coming true.
    Hats off to you two intrepid pregrines (os?)
    Looking forward to seeing and hearing all about the magic you created.
    Love B

    • Judy says:

      Hi Bon! A giant hill lies before us. I’ll climb to the rhythm of Adele’s tune “Rolling in the Deep,” 1234/5678,1234/5678. Better still, Freddy Mercury… Which song?

  2. Tania says:

    Wow! Such beautiful scenery! I’m excited to see where you end up tomorrow 🙂 Buen Camino!!

  3. Marg says:

    Whew! I had to catch up to you after a few days, and it was an exciting trek! You two are intrepid! I love that you are open to new options all the time, even to going backward in order to see some views you have missed. The variety of albergues you find is amazing. So glad they’re mostly good.
    Hope the weather warms up for you. It’s 20 here now!

    • Judy says:

      Hi Marg! It was only 13 degrees here in the higher elevations this afternoon (Friday in Fonsagrada) which is okay for hiking but not so much when stopped. Jackets go back on. Brrrr…

  4. Sylvia says:

    Hi Judy,

    I’ve so enjoyed reading your blog!
    I’m planning a ± 15 km per day walk from Oviedo to Lugo next year.
    If one walks the Hospital route, is there a place to stay half way, or to be shuttled to an overnight stop by taxi and back again the next day?

    • Judy says:

      Hi Sylvia,

      I’m so glad you enjoyed reading it! There is nowhere to stay on the Hospitales route but you wouldn’t want to miss that section if at all possible. I regretted not taking that route but instead went by way of Pola de Allende – longer but you can have an overnight stay. By going the Pola route you have a steeper climb the next day. Stay as close as possible to where the Hospitales and Pola routes split the night before. I think you can phone for a taxi when you come down from the pass and cross the road to save walking maybe 7 km to Berducedo. The telephone number for the taxi is painted on the guardrail where you cross the road coming down from the pass. You could take the taxi back the next day to where you left off if you like. The Camino Primitivo Hostel is a very good place to stay in Berducedo, by the way. Buen Camino!!!! 🙂

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