Saturday, 7 April 2012

Last visits: Asturias and el Picos - March 30

Yesterday we took the awning down which took a chunk of the day. It is not hard taking it down but there is a lot of canvas and a lot of poles. Still, given this was our first erection and detumescence of the beast - it is 11 metres long in canvas and 2.5 wide - we are pleased with the result. It sure gives a lot of space!
So this action commits us to leaving, albeit reluctantly. Each day we have escaped the smoke only to return to it in the evening. Curiously and possibly significantly since all the publicity and media comment and political accusation the number of fires seems to have decreased. Which it would if the allegation that most are set deliberately is true. Discuss. Even so it lingers in the valleys where we of course are.
Today (Friday) we went east along the Val de Sella and enjoyed some splendid gorge scenery - not wquite the Tarn bug pretty giood. And less traffic!
Our destination was St Vicente de Barquera, a large harbour town on a fascinating inlet - a rias or rather two rias since two valleys converge with two rivers to feed a very impressive estuary. The town sits on the confluence, a hilly crag topped originally by a fort but, with the coming of christianity the military made way and moved slightly down hill.
The resultant church was romanesque, then as a guiide book put it, pointy romanesque and finally given a Gothic frontage. Next door is a college of what seemed to be maritime administration but with our Spanish it could have been anything involving words a bit like that. Then the government had erected a rasther forbidding courthouse and gardia office. Next was the splendid 16th century and flamboyant, almost plateresque, ayuntamiento but in reality they had simply and rightly preserved the frontage - behind was 20th century admin essential! Finally what remains of the military might is fairly impressve but sadly shut chunk of 14th century fort. From all this the views are splendid.
We had ascended along a modern and well presented promenade with ample signs and information, although the Spanish make no concession on language to any EU nation - all is in Castillian and sometimes Asturian/Basque or it may even be Bable which is, I read Cantabrian. We found a nearly as easy way down through what remains of the olkd town. The Spanish seem to have have little affection for their past and preserve little. Maybe, given all that has happened in Iberia that is no surprise but it can be sad when so much of the replacement is 60s to 80s trash architecture.
So to Saturday and we known down the van's equipage and ready it for the road. There is just one issue that has troubled me. We rolled into this site when, though we did not know it, a key entry to pitches was blocked by a motor home. So I swing round into the first area, expecting to be able to roll out the end and out another route. Niot so. Which meant the u-bend on a steep down slope was now a u-bend on a steep UP slope. And I was towing an 8 metre van for the first time. To be fair I did forget that I had both four wheel drive and low gear ratio available. But I mentally planned the exit at least every day. In the event I selected low x4 and got the line right and left my postillion (Janet) agape and wondering why she had been left to walk uop this ruddy steep slope! I was just between embarrassed and proud!
And so to Galicia.

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