Day 23 – Gijón to Aviles

6/2/17 – 30km/18.6mi from Gijón to Avilés.

Today had one big climb and was otherwise flat but relatively ugly walking through industrial and suburban areas. On the Camino Francès in 2014, The entrances to cities were ugly and industrial. On this one, almost every time we entered a city, it’s been to magnificent views of it from above, but through either nondescript or ugly industrial areas as we exited. Leaving Gijòn was no different – factories and smokestacks. I didn’t even really take too many photos. And, Keith and I both realized at our morning coffee break that we left some stuff behind in last night’s hotel, so we had to turn back. He and I were about an hour or two behind everybody else today.

After we exited the city, there was a short period of pretty views high up in a forest. We passed by an ancient burial mound, and through a few nice villages. But then I saw (and smelled) the complex for “FertIberia,” one of the EU’s major fertilizer and farm chemical companies. The next 4 or so miles were accompanied by an unappetizing scent of fertilizer plant after Smokestack after chemical smell after coal-fired power plant. I think a full pack of Camels would have been better on my lungs than that hour plus of walking through that.

Once we got close to Aviles, things took a turn for the better. We walked through a nice green riverside path before getting to the municipal albergue where Keith and I got cleaned up after a hot and dirty day. Then we met David and Team Vegas for a drink, then had a hearty dinner, and enjoyed the ambience of the old city on a Friday night. There was a phone booth in Avilés with an advertisement on it that basically gave me the impression that if I used it, I could speak to Tyrion Lannister. That was a bald-faced lie. OK, a bearded-faced lie.

We couldn’t enjoy the Friday nightlife too long, as we had a 10pm curfew at our albergue! So we had to zip back home before getting shut out! With a 100% forecast for all-day rain tomorrow, we fell asleep dreading the morning.