Back to sea-level – Gijón, Asturias, Spain

We set off this morning by 08.30, having walked dogs, breakfasted and completed all services. We had a different route down from the mountains than on the way up as we were heading for Gijón further west. We passed quickly onto the N-625 road which is quite a wide two lane road considering we are still in the snow line of the mountains (certainly compared to Cornish roads where we live).

We passed Riaño reservoir, which is a flood valley where 7 villages formally stood. Riaño itself was re built in the 1980s due to the reservoir build for hydro electric and flood prevention.

Like elsewhere in Pico de Europa we noticed there were fields and fields full of horses and foals. They are stocky horses, I am not sure if they are kept in those numbers for riding. Possibly for bringing logs from the hillsides? They were wandering fairly freely, as were the cows across the roads

The threat livestock from bears and wolves obviously extends further along than where we were staying, with large dogs living in the fields with the sheep, brining a whole new meaning to sheepdog.

Sheepdog- Pico’s style

The route down via the AS-117 we were a little unsure of initially as we were not sure what grade of road AS denoted, the N road was fairly narrow with big over hangs in places. However it turned out to be a much easier drive, albeit that the 1500m height was descended pretty steeply downwards in the space of a few miles. Whereas the route up was a very gradual climb. This time there were multiple switchbacks in a short descent, the many motorbikes we passed later probably really enjoyed the ride. Luckily, as we were early Saturday on Easter weekend we saw very little traffic.

Finally we were approaching Gijón, we had decided in this as it is supposed to be the seafood and cider capital of northern Spain. We drove by the free parking area on a campsite on the edge of town, but it was rammed full, deciding to take the campsite on the headland for a bit more space. It is undergoing renovations to the facilities so was largely empty with direct sea views and direct access to the coastal path.

Once we were parked up, we were soon on our way towards the old town for a look around and a late lunch. It is a 2 mile walk around the headland to the old town, down a wide and immaculate promenade alongside the town beach. It is obviously the thing to do for a bank holiday weekend though as there were thousands of people out walking despite the slightly misty day and the cool wind. We had a recommendation for a cider house with great food in the Place de Major in the middle of old town area. However, probably to be expected they were full booked when we arrived. We managed to find an alternate place overlooking the marina, both enjoying a nice local stew and salad for a late lunch.

It feels a bit of a culture shock being in the big city after our time in the mountains. We will have just one night here. Tomorrow we are on the look out for some Roman ruins, in Lugo.

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