It is winter in Granada, when being outside in the midday sun is warmer than the protected indoors of our un-insulated apartment. My hands are icy as I type. Since nothing makes those in the northern hemisphere burst with more wanderlust, I’ve headed this entry with a beach shot from Spain. Back in August, the sun was shining on a pristine cove with turquoise waters. Your toes can almost feel the warm sand, right?
Asturias, an under-visited region of Spain with its slice of the Atlantic Coast and its Alp-like peaks, was nothing like we had expected…it was better. It is verdant and hilly, has a mild climate, the locals are less swarthy than they are in the south. They drink cider and eat hearty bean stews. It is a land of farmers and fishermen. We made a nest in Oviedo for nine days, taking the occasional day trip when we thought the drizzly rain had cleared up. Here are some of the wonders we saw…
One day we traveled less than an hour to Gijón on the coast. Despite the rain, we loved this lively city (Asturia’s largest) on the seafront, where we had a delicious lunch of octopus stew and fried bacalao.
Next, we drove through to Salinas beach (also in the drizzle), which did not stop a surf competition and festival from taking place.
Another day, we headed East on the coast. We were wary of the rain, but had the fortune of a stunning day. First, we stopped at Playa de Gulpiyuri, with its famous inland beach, to picnic. The waves make their way 50 meters from the ocean through a network of tunnels to pop up in a sandy cove in the midst of pastoral farmland.
It was the weekend, and our next stop was lovely Llanes, where we spent an hour trying to find parking on narrow, windy, one-way roads. The town was bursting with Spaniards on holiday – the cafés filled to capacity, and the streets bustling with buskers.
Our last stop for the day was the stunning beach of my winter fantasies – Playa de Torimbia, with its crescent shore, sheltered by rocky, green hills. It took some effort to hike to, with a carpark far from its perimeter. This seclusion meant that the crowds were kept to a minimum and clothing was optional. Stella and Gabriel were fascinated.
The kids and I had another brilliant day with our new friends from Oviedo. They invited us to go on a hike in Parque Natural de Redes, San Andrés de Agues, followed by trout fishing for dinner!
Asturias is awesome.