October 24, 2015
Cadavedo to Luarca, 10 miles
After days of forming expectations about the Camino–either, “Today’s going to be terrible,” or “Today’s going to be easy”–and getting it wrong each time, we finally learned our lesson and tried to have no expectations. And it was a great day. Despite some rain and some asphalt, the walk was pleasant, mostly through forest and countryside, and the length was short, about 10 miles.
And we were delighted by the town of Luarca. It’s nestled between tall bluffs, and the hike both into and out of town rewarded us with great views.
Luarca is a fishing village on the Rio Negro that was founded in the 13th century. The buildings fit tightly together around narrow, winding cobblestone streets. Many Spanish towns maintain their beautiful old city centers, and Luarca was one of our favorites.
We stayed in an excellent private albergue that was part of the Villa de Luarca Hotel. When I use the word excellent to describe an albergue, I mean that it has decent wifi, a good shower that doesn’t flood and has plenty of hot water, an adequate kitchen, a washer/dryer, and solidly built bunk beds that don’t squeak with every movement and turn. It’s funny the things that we now consider luxurious!
The albergue filled up quickly, and by the end of the evening there were 12 people from all over Europe, including multiple Germans, two Italians, and a gentleman from Switzerland. We spent quite a bit of time talking to a young couple from Germany, Charlotte (18) and David (19). David is in his gap year between secondary school and university and is using the time to travel around Europe. Charlotte is still in secondary school and was spending her school vacation hiking the trail with David. We talked about US and European current events. They were very curious about the United States and asked about our opinions on everything from Donald Trump and President Obama to race relations and healthcare. These two teenagers were bright, articulate, and inquisitive, and we were very impressed by them.
It was here that we would meet two people that we would spend a lot of time with over the last ten days of our hike: Hannah, from Stuttgart, and Detlef, who would soon become our steady hiking companion.