We chugged west from Santander on the FEVE train to the seaside towns of Llanes and Ribadesella.
Llanes is on a cliff. In the nineteenth century a fine cliff walk was built with contributions from emigrants who had gone from the town to Latin America (Americanos).
Its beaches are coves and good for calm swimming. There’s a grand one at the nearby village of Poo. I imagine organising a long distance walk from Coo (in the Belgian Ardennes) to Poo. Perhaps via Looe.
On the walk to Poo we met a barefoot runner, and saw (first smelt) seaweed spread on a field to fertilise it.
There is a wish to avoid visitors painting graffiti on the headland…
… and a useful wool shop, though the town is small …
… and some great buildings.
In room 111 (illustrated) of the hotel Don Paco in Llanes, converted from a convent and then a school, Sam Peckinpah paced while a Spanish person considered some kind of participation in Straw Dogs. (According to a booklet in the hotel.)
Ribadesella, further west, is on the estuary of the river Sella down which, the week before, a canoeing festival was held.
FEVE puts on extra trains so people can watch from the line, which follows the river.
At Ribadesella, the east bank of the estuary is steep.
In the town below we came across boys playing marbles – like I used to do.
The west bank of the estuary has grand houses built by Americanos,
and surf. Everywhere on this holiday when I went for a run I would encounter, and be overtaken by, people with the physique of a stick, a stick made of burnished oak. When I ran in Ribadesella this was not so, and I even overtook someone. As I walked back to the hotel 30 sticks of burnished oak appeared round the corner carrying surfboards.
Each town has a 30s-style fish market;
each has a surprising lack of solar thermal and solar PV on the roofs of buildings.
I learned to distinguish bougainvillea and morning glory.
On a wet day we caught the train 2½ hours further on to the city of Oviedo, walked around looking for a restaurant that was open, had lunch, went to a couple of shops and came back.
Oviedo, too, has great old buildings. Look at the shape of this staircase.
I liked it that someone found this graffiti (the way to do is to be) so annoying that they crossed it out.
I also liked how the 1812 “Constitution of Cadiz” is honoured across the country.