Stage 11: Ribadesella to Colunga 

Wet, muddy and slippery but cool, comfortable and short. We had a lively discussion on the need to have a coffee plan in place including recce and confirmation of Horas de abierto. Some feedback provided energetically on need to offer advice prior to events rather the retrospectively.  It helped pass the time as we walked through pretty wet morning. I rattled the doors of each public washroom as we walked down the promenade of the playa de Ribadesella. It’s a beach lined by huge ostentatious homes built by men who had made fortunes in cotton, tobacco and sugar in the New World. 

Strava link
We had walke the other side of Harbour last night and it really fabulous esplanade lined by guys fishing and couples promenading. It was a lovely evening. 

I realized what pissed me off about lunch yesterday was not that it was so crappy and expensive but that it was clear to both of us in the first 30 seconds we were in there that it was not what we were looking for but that I felt obliged to stay and not pick up my stuff and leave. Life’s too short and presents hard options – leaving somewhere that you don’t want to be is not one of these hard choices just get up and go – what could be easier. 

So the “camino provides” moment came a couple of times today. Once upon discovery of an unlocked WC at a campground when walking on was not an option. Second we were a couple of hours into walk without coffee or breakfast and quite wet from rain and as entering Playa de Vega (Tofino soon) a young fellow having a coffee on his back porch yelled out a jolly Hola! to us. I walked on but Diana asked if he was open – mistaking his porch for a cafe – and he invited us up for coffee. He was from Pittsburgh and was visiting this beach with his French wife that he met while running an organic vineyard in the Okanagan. The house was a soon to be Refugio for pilgrims being opened by a Frenchwoman Marina who had had a second career walking the Norte with at risk French and German youth. 

It felt very serendipitous. They were very kind. Made our day. 

We arrived in small town for elevensies to find the Japanese couple and lady we have been bumping into every couple of days for the past few weeks. It’s weird you keep seeing the same people over and over – albeit very briefly and randomly- and others doing the same trail you see once and never again. 

We arrived in Colunga in time to check in to a lovely inn and go have a real menu dia with hearty bean Asturian stew ( a version of the hearty bean stew from Cantabria and Pais de Vasco) , a schnitzel of breathtaking proportions and a bottle of local plonk at a great price. Followed by a food coma siesta. 

Short day tomorrow. Walk to Villavicasio this ending our Norte and then short bus to Oviedo for a couple of days off before starting the Primitivo. Have loved this north coast of Spain and hope we find our way back again. 


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