Through Asturias

There are sometimes days when you really like it all and are having a great time, but have no idea what to put about it in your blog. There are also days when you see and experience more than you can put down. We’ve been having the latter the last few days. So you’ll have to make do with a few impressions.

After the monument we described in the previous blog it dried up. We came to the last village we knew we could do some shopping. The supermarket was more like a small convenience store, but the owner was super nice and turned out to have lived in Amsterdam for a year. He had only picked up a few words of Dutch and did not speak English, so how he managed to get by there we did not understand. We chose one of the two cafés in the village, more or less on luck, because, well, what are you guided by? We took 2 teas and 5 of the 6 snacks on the counter and paid 5 euros! We liked the sound of that and did a 2nd round; after all, it was just after 12 and for that money! At the same time, it allowed us to dry off a bit more. When we had just about finished eating, we saw 2 holiday cyclists passing by and they saw us too, so we waved enthusiastically. When we got on our bikes a little later, we saw them about 100 metres away, busy repairing a tyre. We of course stopped by them, offered help and had a chat. They were cycling from Leipzig to Morocco, doing as many scenic climbing spots as possible along the way. They had now cycled 5000km and this was their first flat tyre…. That they were also carrying climbing gear was for us the most special thing about their story. Anyway, they didn’t need any help so we moved on pretty quickly. The road went up again and we came to another dam and lake, which was again very low. We even saw remnants of houses which, the campground keeper at the end of the reservoir told us, would really not normally be seen.

Again, we were in a beautiful mountain range. The next day, around lunch again, we were at the last place where we could do some shopping these 3 days. So we did that first, and then found a place for lunch. It turned out that we finished the butter and had forgotten to buy new. And it was now after two! Fortunately, against all Spanish custom, the supermarket (more the size of a “real” one) turned out to be open between two and five 🥵. So we could continue our way with the knowledge that we could also spread our bread with butter.

After the next climb, it was suddenly a lot greener! A sign welcomed us to Asturias. So now a border also recognisable in landscape/nature!

We knew we would not encounter a campsite for 2 days and assumed we would wildcamp. However, the valley was very narrow and we had the impression that we might be in a nature reserve, where it is really not allowed or permitted. The last village before we wanted to stop and where we would have to stock up on water turned out to have a café. As we drank our coke, we investigated whether there were any alternatives nearby. The hotel on top of the next hill did not answer (thankfully in hindsight), but the owner of the casa rural 2.5km after the turn-off we were supposed to take did and in half Spanish, half English (well, rather 5%) he understood that we would like a night in his flat and we that we could. Those last 5km were downhill, so we were there in no time. When we saw the sign warning of crossing bears, we were sure we had made the right decision.

We found a deserted lot. We called again and reported that we were there. He seemed to understand, so we sat comfortably on the bench to await his arrival. Moments later, an old lady walked by with a basket full of hazelnuts and a little later a basket of apples. From the mountains we thought we understood and she gestured for us to take some; not 1 but more! So modest as we were, we each took 2. They tasted good and we are still alive 😉 . Meanwhile, a car had arrived with people who wanted to buy honey there. Those also phoned the owner and kept waiting and also got apples… a little later the owners, a young couple, came. We got a beer while they went to help the honey buyers. Well our supermarket honey had just run out, so we gestured that we were also interested. With the help of Google translate, they made it clear to us that they are totally “dedicated” to beekeeping and make and sell products with the honey they produce. Especially the products with pollen we really had to try: one good against diseases and the other for sleep. Like all homeopathic remedies, we tasted mostly alcohol. So we limited ourselves to buying a jar of honey. The flat was excellent and so was the honey soap that was there, that went into the bag!

In the next 90km, we would have to do 2500 altitude metres. Hence we were going to do that in 2 days and even then we would do more both days than ever before on this trip… The flat owners knew the region well and told us that the town where we thought we would get water and look for a camping spot has a camper spot where they said we would be fine to pitch the tent. Actually, that didn’t attract us, but it also gave us peace of mind that at least something would be possible. That day started with a long climb with 10% gradient. The climb after that was less steep, but still much longer and then followed one 10% gradient after another, although they were not that long… By the way, it was beautiful there! The rocks, rivers, green slopes. Asturias really stands out for being much greener than the earlier regions we were in Spain.

Although it doesn’t come across so well in this photo…

Combined with the sun and accompanying heat, we were well in our gums when we saw a hotel-restaurant announced some 3km before the intended town. A. coke and break we could use, so we headed there. The café also sold local produce, including the honey, pollen and jam from casa Martin, where we were sleeping the nigh before. Over a coke, we quickly agreed that we would rather spend the night there than on a motorhome site. We informed the man at the café of our wish via Google. The latter responded somewhat unclearly for us, but we sat patiently and a while later a woman apparently involved in the hotel arrived. We understood the price including breakfast which we thought was very reasonable and gestured of “si”, after which she escorted us to the room. The bike was allowed in the reception, where there was also some kind of exhibition about we think prehistoric settlements in that place. A little later, we were introduced to an Argentinian guy who worked there and spoke good English, and for the rest of the evening we had no more communication problems. He told us that his father had inherited a house in that village and refurbished it to rent out and thus he was also there and now hopes to make a career as a cook and works in the kitchen of that hotel.

View from our hotel room

Well rested, we started the next day on the final stretch to A Fonsagrada. Although we would still make 100 more altitude metres than the day before (in 8km less), we arrived less overtired at the campsite there. We used the first rest day to do some washing and just before siesta (stress) we did some shopping. We had just decided that a 2nd rest day would be wise and fine when the thunderstorm erupted… Hailstones… they jump up funny! The field was filling up…. We stood on a small elevation, but it proved to be nowhere near adequate! Flip flops, bidons and water bottles were used to keep the water off the groundsheet… We wanted to make potato-beet salad anyway, so it wasn’t too bad that the water came halfway to the pans when we put them on the grass….

Just when it started beating through the tent and tarpaulin cloth, the campsite owner stood by our tent to more or less summon us to come and sit in his canteen. There, his wife gave us a hefty glass of red wine and we ate our meal… only to ask (to their relief) if they still had a cabin free. Thankfully, they did and so now we sit in the sun writing this report in anticipation of the third day in a row of thunderstorms at the end of the day…

The day after the night before…. Morning in A Fonsagrada

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