Monday 4 June 2012

DAY 9 - The Jurassic Coast Ribadesella - Colunga - Villaviciosa

The food has changed notably. We passed Cabrales on our way into Ribadesella. Strong flavoured goats cheese, chorizo, morcilla (local black pudding) and faba beans form staples in the local diet. All good news!

Ribadesella is a once pretty port town with a history of holiday makers but recent overdevelopment and the economic crash has hit hard.

We were approached twice on our way into the centre, once by a suspicious looking young couple on bikes who twitched like addicts and didn't want to give their names and once by a sweet old lady, both hustling for us to stay in their pensions. You suspect tourism is failing and visitors are few this year.

We stayed in a pension in town. €18 each for a room with shower. No frills. No breakfast. On leaving we found the Albergue right on the beachfront - a well kept 18th century mansion.

The seafront and beach is still pretty and there are dinosaur footprints visible at the end of the point at low tide. Of course being told there are footprints is different to seeing dinosaur footprints. Unless they are pointed out to you, everything begins to resemble a terranosaurus or diplodocus print. We took photos. Who knows what of.

The truth is that this is amazing geology- the earths crust split open to reveal it's history. 30million years are visible in this area, we read.

Creationists should visit.

As we cycled away into the hills overshadowed by the smallest of the Picos, birds chirruped proclaiming 'we once were giants!'

Having spent a little while searching for dinosaur prints, we headed out on the local road to San Pedru and San Esteban. A very pretty route with a short but painful kilometre climb which had us gasping by the top.

An Albergue at the top of the hill by the chapel of San Esteban is an alternative to Ribadesella itself, with views across to coast and mountains.

Pick up the E-70 by the chapel - turn right (heading west) towards Berbes and Prado. After Prado, take a left towards Duyos and signs for the Mirador de Fito. If you're feeling fit, turn left after Duyos to overlook the whole valley, or just turn right and freewheel almost the whole way down to Colunga.

There are a couple of good cafes the other side of the main roundabout which was being repaved when we were there so a bit noisy.

West out of Colunga up the hill and follow the local road (CA-1?) to Pernús.

We met Lien a Belgian cyclist, while sketching in the shade, cycling from Porto all the way back to Belgium. She's on a mountain bike with panniers and doing the camino path, muddy hills and gravel roads. All the bits we're avoiding. Lien, we salute you!!

Follow the local road through Pernús, and cycle pass a few horreo buildings ( granaries) on to Priesca and down the hill (a true joy- downhill on a bike!) under A-8 to rejoin N-632 into Villaviciosa.

Villaviciosa is a friendly (despite the name) medieval town full of Siderias and good food. We could stay here or carry on to Gijon, the next big city...

Hotel Carlos 1 is a lovely Routard & Michelin recommended spot right in the middle of town charging €15 each/night & breakfast in a historic building...

We unclipped the panniers and checked in!

Only 27miles today (43km). A bit lazy, but we'll pick up with an early start and a longer stint tomorrow.

Total so far 336miles

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