Post by Wynette: We rented an airbnb apartment in Gijón. It is on the top floor of an eight story building that has two apartments per floor. We have a sun room with large windows on two sides, which is what sold us on the apartment. It’s pretty much in the center of things, close to the beach, the old town, the marina, the main pedestrian shopping street, etc.
Our short block is closed to traffic. It seems kind of empty but still has 4 bars, a Mexican food restaurant, and an Italian restaurant. One bar has breathtakingly fast wifi. Another is really colorful and pretty. There is another bar just around the corner with coffee worth going back over and over for. I don’t know how all these places can stay in business. There must be hundreds of bars and restaurants just in this area of town. We haven’t checked out the night scene since we tend to be tired and ready for bed when the Spanish begin their evenings. But we hear there is lots happening out there. Tapas, etc.
Here on the north coast of Spain, San Sebastián and Bilbao seem to get all the attention, but we like Gijón as much. Charlie and I were thinking it’s too bad Gijón doesn’t have Gaudí like Barcelona or a Gehry Guggenheim like Bilbao, or it would be famous, too. It’s beach is bigger than San Sebastián’s. And much nicer than Barcelona’s. The city has nice architecture. The buildings, especially in the old town, are colorful. It feels like a large city but is sort of laid back, too.
Yesterday, May 1, was International Workers Day, a big holiday here and in many countries. All businesses were closed, except bars and restaurants, and everyone, including us, was out strolling in the parks and along the beach. We’ve been walking a lot here. Yesterday we walked about 8 miles. (Charlie tracked it.) Felt almost like a regular Camino day except there was no up and down. And we didn’t have a clear destination. Just exploring.
Post by Wynette on May 1: We had originally planned to continue walking past where the Ruta ends and on to the city of Ferrol, a few more days of walking along the Atlantic coast of Galicia. We decided not to do that for a couple of reasons: Since it wasn’t the official Ruta (or Camino for that matter) we didn’t have a lot of information about what the walks would be like in terms of difficulty. I was a little worried about that. Also we were starting to be satiated. As Charlie put it, it was like having 24 fabulous over-the-top meals in a row. Each day we loved the walks but we didn’t want to start taking it all for granted. We’ll probably return another year, armed with more information, and do more. I’m already looking forward to it.
Since we don’t return to the States until May 9, we considered doing a few days’ walking on one of the many Camino routes here in northern Spain. However, we eventually decided to settle in somewhere. It is nice to be in one place for a while. We decided on Gijón, the largest city in Asturias, since it’s near the airport where we fly home and we heard and read it’s a beautiful and fun city.
Spain has a marvelous train system. We’ve been told that the Spanish trains are pretty consistently on time. And that has been our experience. There’s a wonderful little train called the Feve that was never too far away from our walking route this year. It’s mostly used by commuters and stops in every town, large or tiny, that it goes through. It’s rare to see anyone get on the train with luggage.
On Monday morning, we boarded the Feve in Espasante. It is over a six hour ride on the Feve from there to Gijón. We went through about 85 stations. We probably stopped at 70% of those. (They don’t stop if no one is waiting or needs to get off.) We were expecting a long tiring train ride where we’d keep ourselves amused the way we do on airplanes: reading, listening to books or music, doing puzzles.
Turned out it seemed pretty fast and we got a kick out of going backwards through all the little towns we had walked through. We talked about what we remembered about each place. A few times we were able to spot the place where we had stayed or where something else memorable happened.
So now we are in Gijón and quite liking it. More details to come.
Post by Wynette: The Ruta del Cantábrico has 7 stages. Stage 1 starts in Ribedeo. Stage 7 ends in the tiny village of Ladrido. There isn’t even a bar or restaurant or place to stay in Ladrido. But we wanted to go to the end so we stayed in Porto do Espasante for two nights. On the 28th we walked to Ladrido and back. Only a 5.8 mile round trip, including an extra circle loop detour. Lovely walk, as usual. Later, in the afternoon we walked around the town of Porto do Espasante and along its long beach. We had a great meal at the “social center” bar just behind our hotel. It seemed everyone in town was there.
In Porto do Espasante
Post by Wynette: We had an amazing hotel in Porto de Espasante where we stayed two nights. Pilar was our host. We decided to take a taxi to the train station our last morning (April 29) so we’d have time to eat Pilar’s wonderful 9:00 breakfast and have time to catch our 9:45 train. We thought there was a cheap local taxi and we asked her about arranging a pick up. She thought for a moment and then said “The train station is only 5 minutes away and a taxi would cost too much because the taxista has to come from another town. I’ll take you.” We said, “What about your other guests who might come down for breakfast then?” and she said, “No problem, and there probably won’t be any.” So, she took us. We showed up for breakfast a little early so were able to leave the hotel around 9:20. In her car, she asked us if we’d seen a place at the other end of the small peninsula. We had not. She said she’d show us since we had plenty of time to make the train. So off we went. It was clear she was very proud of her hometown. (Rightly so.) As we did the short circle drive around the peninsula, she pointed out the three beautiful beaches, the expanse of ocean, other sites.
Pretty good detail for a reflection.