|The Start||Early Spring
in the Valleys
|Pasture||Onlookers||A Rural Path|
There are no good places to stop for lunch on this stage of the journey, and precious few on the whole Camino. The towns and villages in these parts are quite small, with a couple of bars here and there offering unimpressive tapas and bocadillos. A better alternative is to buy provisions in Oviedo to carry along, and stop when you need to. Or, if you're making good time, take only short rest stops and wait till Grado to eat. Unfortunately, there's not much of value in the town of Grado either: three hotels and some bars with open-faced sandwiches are about the limit of what I found open.
Completing this lack of welcome, the Albergue de Peregrinos is not in the town of Grado. If you really want the albergue experience, brace yourself for a stiff 3km climb and a detour off the Camino to the village of San Juan de Villapañada, which has no food or services at all. Or else, try the Hotel Palper on the highway about a half-mile before Grado, which I found to be clean, quiet, and comfortable.
|Park in Grado||Millionaires Row
Row in Grado
|The Camino Path
|San Juan's Albergue|
Leaving Grado with no regrets the next morning, I fell into a major annoyance. As you enter the urbanization, a shell pyramid at the tip of the small park in the picture above points you off to the left, across a bridge. A shell tile on the bridge reinforces this instruction, as does a yellow arrow on the side of a building a little farther on. And then these practical jokes or remnants of some earlier routing scheme just drop you, leaving you to thrash about in a useless part of town. What you must do is ignore the initial shell pyramid in the park and stay on the main N-634 road (Millionaires Row in the photo) as it passes through Grado for perhaps a half mile. Eventually the real waymarking appears and sends you up towards San Juan de Villapañada, where you may either spend a supperless night in a bunk, or if you've taken the tip about the Hotel Palper and spent the night in Grado, just get a sello and move on.