Camino Salvador by Bicycle
Camino Salvador begins at the Cathedral of León and goes to Asturian lands, more specifically to the cathedral of Oviedo. In this temple is where is said that are the relics of the Holy Shroud in which Jesus Christ was wrapped, hence the famous phrase that says: “Who goes to Santiago and does not go to Salvador, visits the servant and leaves the Lord”, meaning that in Oviedo we visit someone more important than an apostle. From the Middle Ages many pilgrims deviated of the French Way when arriving at León to visit these relics of the Cathedral of San Salvador in Oviedo.
This route begins, as stated before, at the door of the cathedral of León, and as in any big city, it will cost us a bit to follow its path and find the signs until we get out of the city. To do this we must find the road to Asturias, to Puerto de Pajares, heading north and more specifically to the first town on our way, Carbajal de la Legua, where we will find the first signs of this route.
This route is well signposted and we should not have many problems to follow it, although some sections are a little bit complicated especially because of the building of the high speed train infrastructure and the need to avoid the railroad or get into wooded areas. All you want is to escape the tumult of the road, what by the way in this area is much appreciated, especially because of the beauty of the landscape.
It is recommended to pay attention in the first stage after passing the town of Buiza, where there are two variants, both of great difficulty, because it is an area of high mountains and as well as rugged it is sparsely populated, so you must be very cautious. In the case of bicycles, which is what concerns us, it is very advisable to take the variant of the right towards Collado de Villasimpliz (1,323 m. high) as the path on the left is much more complicated, rugged and lonely. Pay particular attention in this area if you can feel it may start snowing, as it can be complicated travel in these places.
The climate is decisive in this route and fog or snow can be our travelling companions in the fall, winter, spring and even given the high altitude might also in summer. It is advisable to face this long road with first-hand information of weather forecasts and to be prepared with warm clothing. Also if done alone it is appropriate to take extra precautions, taking a GPS device would not hurt and someone should be informed of our movements.
Already in the first stage, as we move we start foreseeing increasingly close the high mountains and the Cantabrian mountain range on the horizon. We must not forget that we come from the moor and we are heading for the famous and known pass of Pajares which is 1,378 meters high and depending on which dates we approach it we can find snow.
The descent from Pajares mountain pass presents breathtaking and it is advisable to make it by road because the path is pretty full of vegetation and in some areas is quite difficult. Even down the road you have to pay close attention because depending on the season you can find ice sheets and there is a large truck traffic moving through the area. Down in the valley Asturias awaits and the original path, although being rough and steep, is worth to follow, in many places pushing the bike through narrow and stony lanes, but passing through beautiful chapels that we can not lose such as the jewel of the Romanesque, Santa Cristina de Lena.
The logical stages bicycling are three that I personally made in my Camino de Santiago route of 2010, when I combined this route with Camino Primitivo to get to Santiago from León and passing through Oviedo are these: León-Busdongo, Busdongo-Mieres, Mieres-Oviedo. Clarify that following these stages you will reach Oviedo predictably at noon of the third day, having time to enjoy the city in the afternoon to whom completed their route there or being able to continue until for example to Grado, as was my case, for those who combine this route with Camino Primitivo to get to Santiago. On second thought, for those who want to make an impressive pilgrimage route in an break or long weekend, this route ending in Oviedo can be an excellent alternative.
In regard to hostels and accommodations this route features as of today 6 hostels in the towns of La Robla, Buiza, Poladura de Tercia, Pajares, Pola de Lena and Mieres. When I made this route, as I said in 2010, I was fortunate to stay in the first stage in Busdongo at the rural tourism center puerta de Asturias , where I was very well attended and the owner, when I mentioned the existence of the website of bicigrino, told me that those who stay there recommended by this site would be charged only 10 euros per stay, just in case it would not hurt that you ensure a place and price calling to this establishment: +34 987 598 369.
In the second stage I stayed in the public hostel of Mieres, very good as well, and in the third stage I passed through Oviedo at noon and got to bed at San Juan de Villapañada, near the municipality of Grado, already in Camino Primitivo.
You can get more information about Camino Salvador on the following links (in spanish):