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Finally, We Visit Llanes

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During our three months in Asturias, we’ve seen a lot of wonderful towns. Just check out our Day Trips Map! But none of them have impressed us as much as Llanes, an absolutely gorgeous city in the east of the Principality. A perfect melding of tradition and modernity, Llanes is full of beautifully restored buildings, and boasts an expansive ancient center separated from the day-to-day village life by medieval walls.

Llanes Cubes

Walking around the streets of Llanes was a treat; practically every building screamed for attention, and each narrow alley seemed to be showing off. Even the town’s tourist office is a highlight, inside a small circular tower along the old city wall. The people we encountered were friendly, and despite the rainy weather, everyone was in good spirits, tourists and locals alike.

And there were a lot of tourists. Llanes is a popular vacation destination and in the summer, the population quintuples up to 20,000. Tourists (mostly Spanish) choose Llanes for its beaches, the plentiful surrounding sights, the proximity of the Picos de Europa and of course the beauty and excellent reputation of the town itself.

We spent a long time admiring ancient palaces like the 14th century Palacio de Gastañaga, and modern structures such as the Casino de los Indiano, which is today the city hall. Perhaps most impressive was the San Pedro Walk, a long and entirely green park which stretches endlessly along the coast, offering tremendous views of both the ocean and the town.

This was one of the last excursions from Oviedo which we embarked on. We shouldn’t have waited so long.

Location of Llanes on our Day Trips Map

Igleasia en Llanes
llanes Puerta
Llanes Iglesia
Melted Architecture
Llanes Asturias
Llanes Bush
Llanes Flores
Llanes Oldtown
Llanes Alley
Llanes Architecture
Llanes Construction
Llanes Bebe
Casino Llanes
Tourist Office Llanes
Llanes Faro
Llanes Pop Art
Fishing Net
Redes Llanes
Splash Boat
Boats Llanes
Llanes Beach
Llanes Playa
Walking Llanes
San Pedro Llanes
Sexy Curves
Cliffs Llanes
Llanes Rain
Llanisco
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October 19, 2010 at 7:16 pm Comments (0)

Driving around the Cabo Peñas

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Hotels in Luanco

Jutting out into the Cantabrian sea, Cabo Peñas (the Cape of Rocks) is the most northern point in Asturias and an area of incredible natural beauty. We spent the day driving around the coast, from Luanco to the Lighthouse of San Juan de Nieva.

Asturien

Cabo Peñas is a short drive from Oviedo. The seaside village of Luanco on the eastern side of the cape is the district’s largest town and a great place to prepare excursions; the tourist office was really friendly, and helped us plan a great itinerary for the day. There’s a lot to see in Luanco, including the beach, an odd clock tower, and the gorgeous Iglesia de Santa María, which has been declared an artistic historic monument. Luanco is famous for an annual Beach Tennis Tournament, which draws the most famous stars in the country.

Heading northwest from Luanco along the coast, our first stop was at the beach and mines of Llumeres. The iron mines have long been abandoned, but the sand, water and stones on the beach are forever tainted with a bright red hue. The fear of contamination doesn’t deter all Asturians; about 4 fishermen had their lines in the unnaturally colored water.

Next, we drove up to the lighthouse of Cabo Peñas, which has been guarding the coast since 1852. The first floor of the lighthouse has been converted into a Maritime Museum, which costs just a euro and introduces visitors to life on the Cantabrian sea. The museum is okay, but the real highlight is walking along the cliffs, behind the lighthouse. We were there on a windy, rainy day, which lent dramatic weight to the landscape.

After our cliff-side stroll, we were starving, and so headed out in search of food. Not the easiest prospect on an off-season Tuesday, but we found an excellent meal at Bar Linares on the expansive Playa de Xagó. €8 for a huge plate of beans with ham, fried hake, bread, wine and arroz con leche for dessert. Three years in Spain, and I still can’t get over the value of lunchtime menus. This restaurant was great; though it doesn’t look like much, both the food and the proximity to the beach were excellent.

The final stop on our journey was the Lighthouse of San Juan de Nieva, on the easternmost tip of the cape. Huge barges passed close by, into the port of Avilés. By now the rain had picked up and we were getting soaked, but this was another impressive sight.

There was a lot more to Cabo Peñas which we didn’t get a chance to explore, but it was a full day and we were exhausted by the time we got back home. If you’ve got an extra time during your stay in Asturias, definitely consider it for an excellent day trip.

Cabo Peñas on our Asturias Day Trip Map

Luanco
Iglesia del Santa Maria
Spanish Flirt
Rain in Spain
Rain Twig
Rain Scream
Sidra Table
Bar La Rula
Blue Boat
Porto Luanco
Water Beast
Surfing Asturias
Iron Mine
red Rain
Red Wave
Playa Asturias
Fog Horn
Lighthouse Cabo Peñas
Spanish Pussy
rain cloud
Cabo Peñas
Costa Verde
Atlantic
Asturias
Barca
Steam Boat
Black and White Beach
Waves Asturias

Random Oviedo Blog Post Generator

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October 11, 2010 at 6:56 pm Comments (2)

Ribadesella

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Looking for a Hotel in Ribadesella?

We were first introduced to this small seaside village during the madness of the Descenso del Sella, when over 300,000 revelers use an annual boat race as an excuse to party. With so much going on, we had no chance to see the town, and so went back.

Ribadesella

The river Sella, winding through the mountains on its way to the sea, is the dominant feature of this town of 6000 inhabitants. A popular summertime destination, Ribadesella quiets down completely during the fall. We were able to see the main sights within a few hours, and often felt completely alone.

The highlight of the day was walking to the Hermitage of La Guía, high on a hill, with a vantage over both the city and the ocean. With its canons still pointed to the sea, this was an important defensive point back in the day. Along with the canons, a small chapel with a couple pews and a wall full of model boats, still remains.

Ribadesella is most famous for the Cave of Tito Bustillo, with wall paintings from 11,000 to 22,000 BC. Sounds neat, although we wouldn’t know. Apparently, only a limited number of tourists are allowed in every day. Despite our inquiring about the caves at two different offices, no one saw fit to mention that. Frustrating, but let our loss be your gain: make reservations, or show up early.

Regardless, Ribadesella is beautiful. We finished the day with a long walk along the beach, alternately praising the elegance of the beach-side houses, and venting our frustration about the caves. But it was a fun day, and we can definitely recommend it for an easy, memorable day trip.

Location of Ribadesella on our Day Trips Map

Asturias Painting
Oldtown Ribadesella
Church Asturias
Nature Ribadesella
Ribadesella Cliffs
Hermitage-de-La-Guia
Guia-Ribadesella
Seaman Church
Natural Pool
Lizard
Mirador Asturias
Coast Asturias
Fishing Asturias
Boat Parking
Fishing Ribadesella
Playa Ribadesella
Ribadesella Spain
Villa Rosario

Calatrava in Valencia

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October 2, 2010 at 8:06 pm Comments (3)

Hiking the Ruta Naviega

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A popular hiking trail connects Barayo Beach to the town of Navia, about twenty kilometers away. Especially for fans of cliffs, seaside villages and hidden beaches, it’s a long walk through paradise.

The Ruta Naviega is a well-marked trail, with yellow and white stripes leading the way. We began at the river Barayo, a small stream which eventually ends at a beach of the same name, popular with nudists. From here, it was a five-hour hike westward along the coast. We encountered very few people, and aside from some horses, cows, spiders and a snake, saw little wildlife. The cliffs were our only companions, and it was as solitary as I’ve ever felt in Spain.

After a couple hours of walking, we took a short break in Puerto de Vega, a charming fishing village. The port is the center of activity, with fishermen were working on their nets and retired men playing cards at the nearby bar. The only women we saw were modestly dressed matrons, leaning out the windows of their apartments to carry on shouted conversations with one another. It was as though we had been transported back in time a few generations.

Near the trail’s end in Navia, we found a long staircase carved into the cliff, leading to a beach called the Playa del Moro. We had been hiking all day, and the steps were steep and long enough to nearly deter us. But, reasoning (correctly) that we’d never have another chance, we dutifully sucked it up and went down. I’m glad we did. With a deep cave and powerful waves splashing upon the rocks, it was a neat discovery.

In Navia, we didn’t do anything except collapse into the first bar we found. It looked like a neat town and probably merited exploration, but that was something we just didn’t have the energy for.

Hiking in Spain

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August 27, 2010 at 5:57 pm Comments (2)

Day Trip to Cudillero

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Looking for a Hotel in Cudillero?

Asturianu is the indigenous language of Asturias, though there aren’t many people who speak it anymore. And Pixuetu is a dialect of Asturianu spoken only in Cudillero, a tiny village on the Cantabrian coast, distinuished by its use of Nordic words. Its no wonder that parents around the world are in a rush to teach their children Pixueto, since it’s totally going to be the next Chinese.

Cudillero Viaje

After visiting Cudillero, which was originally settled by Vikings, I understand how the village was able to develop and maintain its own dialect. Squished into a narrow valley that empties into the sea, Cudillero is difficult to reach today; centuries ago, it must have been almost completely isolated. The town has always been closely tied to fishing and, in fact, the name of their dialect is a combination of the words “fish” (pix-) and “activity” (-uetus).

I don’t think we heard any Pixuetu during our visit, but we did hear a lot of Spanish. Cudillero has become a true tourist town. We were overwhelmed by the amount of traffic and tourists, but at least they were all Spaniards; the town hasn’t yet been discovered by foreigners. Luckily, the noise and bustle didn’t detract much from the experience.

There’s one important road in Cudillero, running from the train station high up in the hills outside the city, down to the sea. The central plaza is the main area of activity, bordering the port and boasting views of the houses which cling uncertainly to the mountainsides. Away from the tourist filled plaza, we had a blast exploring the back alleys of Cudillero. There are no “streets”, really, just stairs carved into the cliffs connecting one house to the next.

As it has been since the town’s foundation, the port continues to be the nexus of commerce for Cudillero. Unless it’s between the sleepy siesta hours of two and five, hordes of fishermen are always hard at work down by the docks, and walking down towards them is rewarded with the seaside view of Cudillero. The town spills from the mountain valley into the water, like an unmoving river of people and houses.

FEVE operates a train which arrives in Cudillero after a stop in Pravia. We really can recommend a day there.

Location on our Asturias Map

Layers of Mist
Clay Town
Calle Cudillero
Blach and White Cudillero
Bakery Cudillero
Eburido
Town Gossip
Cudillero Church
Lonja Pescado Cudillero
Cudiller Spain
All You Can Eat Fish
Fisher Nets
Catching Lobster
Fish Skin
Cudillero Day Trip
Cudillero Faro
Cudillero Harbor
Magic Rock
Fishing Cudillero
Hanging Out in Cudillero
Don't Walk Too Fast
Cudillero Rocks
Lost
Tourist Trap
Cudillero Roof
Bird Punk
Plaza Majo Cudillero
Harbor Yacht Cudilloro
Lighthouse Cudillero
Mirador Cudillero
Leuchtturm Cudillero

Explore Asturias by Car

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August 19, 2010 at 2:37 pm Comments (10)

Day Trip to Gijón

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Are you looking for a Hotel in Gijón?

Everything I’d read about Gijón, the largest city in Asturias, described it as “industrial” or “working-class”, so we arrived fearing that it’d be boring. But we needn’t have worried: Gijón is beautiful, full of students, lively bars and charming plazas. We spent the day walking around the old town center, the Cimavilla, admiriing monuments, plazas and incredible old buildings. The weather was great and the streets were full with young people sitting on whatever piece of stone was available.

Playa San Lorenzo

In the middle of the city is the beach of San Lorenzo, which stretches along the coast for over a kilometer. Though a lot of people were swimming, I wasn’t about to join in after experiencing the ice cold water at the Playa del Silencio. We also walked around the docks on the other side of Cimavilla and grabbed a bottle of cider in one of the city’s many sidrerías.

Gijón is much bigger than Oviedo, and the few hours we spent there during our first visit weren’t nearly enough to conduct a thorough exploration of its streets. No bother. It’s just 30 minutes by train from Oviedo, and we returned often. This is the kind of city which needs to be discovered slowly. On subsequent visits, we discovered the Park of Santa Catalina, a beautiful green area at the top of the city with a famous sculpture called “Elogio del Horizonte”, and the Termas Romanas, Thermal Baths built in the 1st Century by the Romans.

Location on our Asturias Map

Lady Stoner
Kiosk People
Fontan Out of Control
Calle Leon Gijon
Passaje Gijon
Pharmacia Gijon
Bar Carmen Gijon
Jesus on a Roof
Christus Gijon
Architecture Gijon
shadow beach
Snow on the beach
Beach Summer Gijon
Beach San Lorenzo
Abstract Beach
Castle on the beach
Asturian Mansion
Asturian Curtains
Beach Cross
Gijon Cathedral
Cathedral Gijon
Sailing Club Gijon
Plaza Gijon
Urban Art Gijon
Where did the Sidra Go
Sidra Gijon
Tostas Gijon
Sunny Alley Gijon
Snow in Gijon
Sailing in Gijon
Bubble Balls Gijon
Nordeste Gijon
Making out in Gijon
Boat in Wall Gijon
Sunning Gijon
Cute Bar Gijon
Gijon Face
Fury Coat Spain
Holy Sailor
Gijon For Lovers
Casa Fernando Gijon
Palace Gijon
villa hill gijon
Hungry for Pigeon
Souvenirs Gijon
Sac Player Asturias

Visit the Alhambra in Granada

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August 15, 2010 at 3:12 pm Comments (13)
Finally, We Visit Llanes During our three months in Asturias, we've seen a lot of wonderful towns. Just check out our Day Trips Map! But none of them have impressed us as much as Llanes, an absolutely gorgeous city in the east of the Principality. A perfect melding of tradition and modernity, Llanes is full of beautifully restored buildings, and boasts an expansive ancient center separated from the day-to-day village life by medieval walls.
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