On my first Olvidado, Rosi opened her home to me, thanks to Adolfo (from Nava de Ordunte). Rosi had recently moved back to her pueblo from Oviedo, where she was on the hamster wheel of living pay check to pay check with a young child and high child care costs. When I first met her, she was running the “social center” (municipally owned bar). But basically they were living “off the grid” — with their own garden plots, a few animals (with an annual pig slaughter), wood stove. At that time the year round population was about 8, and it was the 3rd birthday of Rosi’s daughter, which I was privileged to celebrate with them in the bar.
Fasgar, at the end of the road, is a beautiful little mountain village, which fills up in the summer. Winters are hard, no more than 10 full time residents, and Rosi told me of many weeks with no outside contact. During her first winter back, she counted the days with snow and then got discouraged and stopped counting. It must be beautiful, but almost inaccessible.
Fast forward a few years, there is now an albergue in the old school.
The Aires de Fasgar Rural House and its restaurant have closed.
Day 18. Fasgar to Igüeña (18 km)
On my first Olvidado in 2014, this stage was heralded as the “etapa reina” (jewel in the crown more or less) of the Olvidado. It is beautiful, no doubt about it, but it now has some stiff competition from the Boñar-Vegarienza-La Magdalena variant. But if the weather is good, you are in for some exhilaration.
You ascend on a dirt road from Fasgar, then go down and cross the Campo de Santiago, where Santiago appeared in 981 to help defeat the Moors. I wrote a short synopsis of the story for Ender’s guide and won’t repeat it here, but the bottom line is that thanks to Santiago’s intervention, about 70,000 Moors lost their lives on this battlefield.
From the ermita at the bottom commemorating the battle, you continue on a beautiful trail along the river. There is uneven footing in places, but the wooden bridges back and forth over the river have been rebuilt since the first time I walked on very precarious wooden structures.
The camino emerges a total of 12 kms later from Fasgar in the town of Colinas del Campo de Martín Moro Toledano (the leader of the Moors in the famous battle). This is the town with the longest name in all of Spain, and it is another beautiful mountain village, just beautiful. Only a bar or two, seasonal hours, so don’t count on much. The first time I walked through nothing was open, but the second time was a Saturday and I was able to enjoy a nice cold drink in a very lively mesón with terrace.
The fun fact is that the walk from Fasgar to Colinas del Campo is 12 km on foot. Driving a car turns it into a 79 km ordeal.
From Fasgar, the rest of the way into Igüeña is along the river, usually off road and very pleasant. All shaded! Igüeña has a modern albergue run by the bar/restaurante that is adjacent, and the owners will cook you up a plato combinado at any reasonable hour.
The mural at the entrance to town makes a big impact and reminds you that you are still in the part of Spain that is struggling to find life after mining.
If 18 km is too short for you, here are a couple of other ways to break it up.
Vegarienza to Igüeña is about 35 or 36. But you would not get a stop in Fasgar, which is surely a pity. Beyond Igüeña, Quintana de los Fuseros and Labaniego have options.