Monday, June 13, 2016

The Coastal Camino Reviewed.

In contrast with the Primitivo camino of a month ago, this one was very enjoyable, with only one real low-light - the kilometre-long walk up a steep hill to our hotel on the hill south of Ribadesella.

Highlights included all the people we dealt with (save the surly waiter in Ribadesella); the good/excellent food we had almost everywhere (is it any surprise that I gained weight again?); the lovely verdant scenery, especially the Picos de Europa; the views of the sea and the beaches above Cué and Llanes; and the various weddings in Oviedo.

Of the villages/town/cities we visited, Santiallana del Mar, Villaviciosa and Oviedo stand out. Gijón doesn't, nice as the urban beaches and their hinterland must be in summer. Of the walking, day 2 - Santiallana del Mar to Comillas - was the best, followed by the last - Peón to Gijón. Adequate time for seeing the good places should be included in your schedule for this camino.

Perhaps the best treatment we received was in the Avenida Real Hotel in Villaviciosa, where the lovely Rocío proved most pleasant and helpful. And where you get a chit for a large free breakfast in the delightful nearby Café Vicente. The rooms are comfortable and pleasantly quirky, and the showers terrific.

A word of advice for those planning to stay in hostals and pensions - take a (lightweight, quick-drying) towel. Those in these cheaper places can be close to useless. Or at least very harsh. This applies to any camino, I'm sure. If you're going to stay in albergues, one of these is essential anyway.

It wasn't exactly a low-light, thank god, but I did notice that the bus taking us up and down the huge hill between Ribadesella and Peón - via a very long and winding road - had a stack of sick-bags hanging by the door.

Again not a complaint but we were surprised to see the tapas bar in Comillas closing around us at only 10 in the evening, though it was a Sunday and the waitress explained that customers were muy poco. The regulars, though, were well established at the bar and we doubted that all the staff would get home early that night.

Food note 1: This restaurant we ate in in Andrín, just before Llanes, really impressed us. So, we were surprised to see reviews of Poor and even Terrible, on Tripadvisor.  I suspect the latter complaints were more to do with quantity than quality. Equally surprising was the number of Spanish complaints that the large continental breakfast in the hotel on the Sardalla hill didn't offer meat and/or embutidos for €5.50. But one man's meat . . . .

Food note 2: Worth a mention is the 'famous' corbata pastry of Unquera, which I found delicious. Here's one recipe in English, though it's lacking the anis I thought they contained. As does this one in Spanish. So, I must be wrong.

As for the wedding fotos in Oviedo, not only did one elegant woman pull in a friend but also took a baby into her arms. I commented to my colleague that I'd probably be arrested in the UK for taking a foto of the latter, to which she replied I'd at least have to apply for confirmation from the police I wasn't a pedophile  . . .

Finally . . .  Here's a T-shirt seen outside a shop in Oviedo, for all you left-handers out there:


Alfred B. Mittington said...

I must suppose they mean Robert ReDford (instead of Retford) and Ludwig Van Beethoven instead of his fluttering brother Ludwing…?

And they still forgot… Billy the Kid, Lenny Bruce, George Burns, George Bush (41), Lewis Carroll, Charlemagne, Jimmy Conners, W.C. Fields, Judy Garland, Herbert Hoover, Rock Hudson, Samuel Johnson, George VI, Paul Klee, Michelangelo, Alfred B. Mittington, Martina Navratilova, Cole Porter, Raphael, Ronald Reagan, Jack the Ripper, Nelson Rockefeller, Babe Ruth, and Joanne Woodward.

We are, in short, the Best of Every Trade. Take that you right-wingers!!


Patrick Glenn said...

Lovely pictures of Oviedo. I did enjoy Xixon. Were there many tourists in Oviedo, I was up there in winter, few tourists. I suppose many people visit in August. But I think it is a good visit if you want to avoid the brigades of walking tourists in the big cities. Burgos is another great lesser known city, also Vallalodid and Palencia is nice also. Nobody goes to Palencia.

Colin Davies said...

Thanks, Patrick. No, there were very few tourists in Gijón, in fact. Agree with you about Burgos and Valladolid. Must take a look at Palencia one of these days.

Patrick Glenn said...

Palencia Cathedral, known as the unknown beauty. One of the gargoyles [flying buttress] is a skeleton. Good shopping, you will be the only visitor. Found a good glass shop there. I guess you live too close to be called a tourist. Your photos and coverage of the Camino were exceptional. I have seen reports that the Camino primitive is dangerous especially for solas.

Colin Davies said...

Thanks again, Patrick. I'll definitely check out the Palencia Cathedral. I've passed the city many times but never stopped . . . I'd endorse those comments about the Primitivo. Not good to do it on your own, if only because - at least in April - it could be some time for anyone to pass you if you've had a fall. Or even just twisted your ankle.

Perry said...


From your last comment about possible injury, I feel I should remind you that "Smart" mobiles have GPS to enable the rescue services to locate you, much like the three in a boat who dialled 999 mid Channel.

Interesting form of words. "This restaurant we ate in in Andrín". I thought, perhaps "This restaurant we ate at in Andrín", but "This restaurant where we ate in Andrín", is the winner.:<)

Keep on keeping on & endeavour to persevere.

Perry said...

Food for thought.

The Sun backs Brexit:

“The EU cannot reform.

Remain has conducted a deceitful campaign. It has been nasty, cynical, personally abusive and beneath the dignity of Britain.

Our country has a glorious history.

This is our chance to make Britain even greater, to recapture our democracy, to preserve the values and culture we are rightly proud of.


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