DAY 40. 16 JUNE 2016. VILLAVICIOSA TO AMANDI

Well I didn't go far today. I shaved 35 minutes off tomorrow's journey by walking to the village of Amandi just outside Villaviciosa.

After a very good albergue breakfast I said goodbye to Rebecca and ventured out into the rain. Then immediately booked into a coffee shop and kept dry for an hour to write my blog, followed by a supermarket shop to stock up on provisions for tomorrow and then a short walk out of town with my umbrella to the albergue, 'La Ferrieria'

On the way I stopped at the Romanesque church of San Juan de Amandi. It has a superb porch with beaked-heads similar to those I saw at Iffley church in Oxfordshire in April! Now I wonder if a Spanish mason was responsible.

 Detail of the porch at San Juan de Amandi

Detail of the porch at San Juan de Amandi

If last night was a customised albergue, tonight is definitely not.  I'm staying in an old cowshed with chickens wandering about, a collie-dog, a cat that's caught an ominously large mouse and lots of flies- but it's charming and the hospitalero is generous. Clothes washing and drying is part of the service and three Italian men and I are drinking his red wine at 4.30pm.

 Boots and walking-poles are left outside

Boots and walking-poles are left outside

The rain eventually stopped at 2pm and now I'm sitting in the garden writing. There are Germans, a Canadian mother and daughter and Italian pilgrims here and we're all preparing ourselves for a hard walk in the rain tomorrow. Some will shortly peel off onto the Camino Primativo route via Oviedo but I'm walking to Gijon.

 It's going to rain tomorrow

It's going to rain tomorrow

Supper is served at 8pm at a long table with 12 of us. The hospitalero and his Swiss helper eat with us. He explains that he was called to this work (it takes a certain sort of person). He opened the albergue here (with his wife and family) because of the distance and terrain of tomorrow's walk, in September last year. It runs on a donativo (donation) basis and he's had 700 pilgrims pass through so far! Lovely evening.

 Three courses with lots of vino tinto

Three courses with lots of vino tinto

By 9.45pm I've rolled out the bed-bug sheet and sleeping bag. There are two elderly Italian men sleeping literally next to me; it's going to be a noisy and somewhat intimate night.