Food from Back Home?

Any ideas what this is about?

Post by Wynette: We are in the big city of Gijón (pronounced hee-HONE.) We are staying in an airbnb. Got here yesterday afternoon. Exploring our neighborhood this morning. A stone’s throw from our apartment, besides lots of bars and tapas places, we found Mexican food, Asian food, Greek food, Italian food, a British pub, and the above. We are ready for a change so might try some of these but probably not the American Indian pizza restaurant.


Post by Wynette: This literally took my breath away when we read it. A small simple plaque on the trail leading into Porto do Barqueiro. It says “To the men and women who died in this place defending liberty and democracy of the second republic. 1936 – 1939”. Of course, that was the Spanish Civil War that ended with Franco’s 35 year dictatorship. I suppose there are memorials like this all over Spain.

Day 23, April 27: Porto do Barqueiro to O Porto de Espasante

Couples taking turns on “El banco más bonito”. “The most beautiful bench.” It’s actually labeled that on Google maps.

Post by Wynette: You may have noticed how often the place names here start with “O”. That means “the” in Galician.

We are nearing the end of the Ruta Cantábrica. People can walk this route either east to west or west to east. We are glad we went east to west because it has seemed the further west we go the more incredible this coast line is. If we’d started here, we might have been disappointed by places east in comparison. But as it has been, we’ve been blown away by nearly every day’s walk on the Ruta.

It’s impossible for me to put into words how stunning today’s hike was. I just wish everyone could experience it. It was a cloudy gray day. Light rain the first hour. We never got any sun on the walk. It would have been even more amazing in the sun with turquoise water but we still loved it.

(We walked about 9.5 miles. Quite a lot of up and down. My ankle and toe and knee did pretty well.)

A good place for a picnic (and bread and chocolate)
We were here
Beautiful old house we passed a little inland

Day 22, April 26: Porto do Barqueiro

Looking down to the port from walk about half way to the grocery store

Post by Wynette: (Written and posted on April 27.) You’d think since this was a rest day, I would have done a bunch of blogging but never did. Was mostly planning the rest of our trip. More about that in another post. Charlie took a very strenuous 14+ mile hike. I hope he’ll post about that. While Charlie was doing his killer hike, I mostly sat in the hotel restaurant/bar doing research on my phone and asking our hotel hosts for help with transportation questions, etc. And drinking several cups of their great coffee. I did do the very steep walk up to the grocery store and back and walked around the port some.

The hotel was run by three women. We should have asked but we think they were a grandmother, who did much of the cooking, her daughter who seemed to be the main one in charge, and her daughter who did the desk, made coffee, etc. We really enjoyed our two days of interacting with these lovely women.

At one point when I was sitting at my table drinking coffee, the younger one walked over to me and said she was learning English but she was too embarrassed to speak it. Of course, I encouraged her to jump in and not worry about making mistakes. But I’m sure her teacher tells her that, too. She said she is taking lessons.

Some little boats in the little port

Day 21, April 25: O Vicedo to Porto do Barqueiro

Another great hotel room view

Post by Wynette: We’ve been so busy today. Haven’t stopped to write a blog post and now it’s past time for bed. We only walked 4.5 miles today and that includes the 1.5 mile round trip (way up the hill and back) to the grocery store. We are staying down by the cute little port. When we asked about a grocery store here, our hotel owner shook her head, pointed up, and said “arriba”.

The hike from O Vicedo was short and enjoyable despite being colder than usual, i.e., very cold. The weather today was nuts. We have had back and forth sunshine, heavy rain, cold high wind all day. Rain, sun, rain, sun, rain, sun, … constantly.

My right ankle is hurting some. Also right hip and right knee and right big toe. (I’m a mess, right-side speaking.) I’m taking tomorrow off from hiking, hoping it’ll be better by Saturday. We’ll stay here in Porto do Barqueiro tomorrow night. Charlie plans to hike out to a lighthouse tomorrow, about 12 miles round trip. His destination is the furthest north point of Spain and also where the Cantabrian sea ends.

We got a great little hotel here for 35 euros a night (5 euro discount for staying two nights). Large spacious room, great view of the port, good beds, very hot water, spotlessly clean, friendly family that own it.

We met a nice couple today from California, also hiking the Ruta de Cantábrica, staying at our hotel, too. They are doing this with the help of a travel agency and there was a mixup about whether dinner was included in their reservation. They didn’t speak any Spanish and the hotel people didn’t speak any English so the hotel owner came to me, as we were just finishing lunch, and asked if I’d help translate. That was fun and intense. They finally got the mixup sorted out.

At low tide we walked down to a little rocky beach on the edge of the town and couldn’t believe all the sea glass amidst the rocks.

Sea glass

Coffee Report

Our first coffee today, served with homemade lemon cake. Charlie went back for seconds but they didn’t give him cake the second time.

Post by Wynette: We’ve had excellent coffee on this trip. Some better than others but many many that made us ooh and aah. I think the best we’ve ever had in Spain. Every bar has a particular brand of coffee. We especially like this kind, Montecelio.

Day 20, April 24: Viveiro to O Vicedo

Charlie leaning in

Post by Wynette: Well, hope this isn’t getting too boring. Another (truly) awesome walk. We started with a 7 mile taxi ride so that the walk would be doable for us. Well, so it wouldn’t be a killer. We walked about 6 miles. We had planned to walk further but about 3/4 way through I turned my ankle and got a sprain so we took a shortcut to our pensión. The sprain is a bummer, but I don’t think it is a bad sprain. Right now it is sore and a little swollen. We plan a short walk tomorrow and will see how it goes. In the meantime, here in our cozy room, I’ll talk about our walk today.

The taxi driver left us off near a beach so we started pretty close to sea level. We climbed a forest trail. We came to a mirador, what the Spanish call a scenic lookout.

Mirador complete with benches and information

After that, the forest gave way to mini-moors and great views.

We passed an unusual green island

It all felt very remote. We didn’t see a single person for the first five miles of the walk. A small sign announced that another mirador was coming up. I couldn’t imagine what it could be because everything was pretty much an amazing mirador.

Charlie got to the mirador a minute before me. He called, “you’ll never believe what’s here.” Well, in city parks around Spain, we’ve often seen little spaces with workout equipment. That’s what was at this mirador. It was strange because the place felt so remote. Gotta say, these Spanish people are a little wacky. (To be fair, we came to a town a mile or two after that so it could be that this equipment gets used regularly.)

Outdoor gym with a view.

We had planned to have a picnic breakfast at the mirador. There were no benches but we did have a couple of low exercise bikes to sit on. We ate boiled eggs (boiled last night in our fancy hotel room electric tea kettle) and cheese and apples and then put on our rain gear because rain was imminent. The weather changes fast around here.

We saw more beautiful ocean stuff coming down and then finally came to a small town.

Would have been cool if this bar had been open.

Shortly after that I sprained my ankle so instead of heading along another headland, with miradors no doubt, we walked the highway to O Vicedo. Had our first coffee in a bar in town and then headed for the hotel.