A Fine Ending to our Asturias Adventure

Saturday, August 9, 2014

After a sleepless, mosquito-y night, I was happy to see the morning arrive.  I am already wondering how we will make it one more night here.  I think I can suck it up.  We all meet downstairs for breakfast and discuss the nightmare of the hot, itchy night.  Both Dario and Janel are upset that we were so uncomfortable – they feel responsible since they chose the place.  I  reply that it was my fault for opening the window and tell them that we really do like this place.  In the end a decision is made to try and find alternative accommodations in Oviedo.  Janel had previously negotiated with the owners here to let us stay only 2 nights instead of their usual minimum of 3 so we know that we probably will have to “eat” the cost of tonight’s room.

Dario scours the internet and finds us a hotel in Oviedo.  He is also chosen to be our spokesperson when talking to the proprietor.  The owners here are so nice and the restaurant is fantastic.  We don’t want to hurt any feelings or make it seem like this is a bad place.  It is a delicate operation.  In the end, the owner is extremely kind and understanding.  He doesn’t make us pay for the second night and he apologizes all over the place for our discomfort.

Looking online for another place to stay
Looking online for another place to stay

As it turns out, this was a very good move.  We want to see the town where we are (Cudillero), but there really is not enough to do for today AND tomorrow.  We will visit Cudillero this morning and then move on to Oviedo for the evening.  We will be flying out of Oviedo tomorrow late afternoon.  Perfect. Before heading into town, we are going to spend some time at a beautiful beach recommended by one of Janel/Dario’s friends – Playa del Silencio. When we arrive and park along the narrow road, we just start to get a glimpse of what is in store:

 

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The trek down to the actual beach is long and steep, but it is worth it in the end.

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At the bottom is this sign offering snacks/drinks available by phone from a truck up above!
At the bottom is this sign offering snacks/drinks available by phone from a truck up above!

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The morning is spent relaxing on the beach and enjoying this gorgeous spot.

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What a great spot this is.  We are so happy that we made a stop here. The walk back up the hill to our car is long and hot.  A/C is cranked up and we motor on to the small town of Cudillero.  When I inquired as to why we were going there and what there was to see, Dario just replied “you’ll see.”  Pulling into town all you see is a huge port area with a big parking lot.  We drive around and around trying to find a place to park.  What in the world is here and why are there so many people?

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Soon the reason for our stop becomes clear.  Ahead in the mountain is the sweetest little town tucked into the valley between two mountains.  The houses are all painted with lively colors and there is a street fair going on.  People are everywhere.

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We loved this enterprising guy who probably built this flying pony ride.  He puts the kids on the ponies and then pedals to make them “fly.” The children had such looks of joy on their faces – we loved watching them.

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Cudillero was a great stop.  Who knew what would be going in this tiny town? Next stop is Gjoni.  Gijonis not very far from Cudillero and we cruise on down the road.  Lunch is the first item on our agenda here.  We walk around town looking for a restaurant that catches our eye.  Despite it’s unusual name, Sidreria El Globoooks perfect.

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Inside, El Globo is a busy, busy place and is lively and loud with many tables filled with local families enjoying Saturday lunch.  We first have to stand at the bar, but very soon a prime table opens up on the second level.

Studying the menu at the bar
Studying the menu at the bar

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This is a fantastic example of an authetic Sideria and the menu looks great.We have been anticipating our stop in Gijon with thoughts of eating Urchin.  Janel had them here last time she was in the area and has been raving about them.  I tasted urchin with her in France last year and was hooked.  We have had some canned urchin here and there (which is really good in Spain), and I am dying to have some fresh.  We ask at the bar and are told it is not Urchin season… Bummer.  Guess we will have to return in the winter.

By now hunger has overtaken us and we order a variety of items to share along with a bottle of sidra. Maybe we will be able to forget about the lack of urchin.

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Janel zeros in on the sea snails and a plate is ordered for our table.  We are tickled when we are first presented with a small “wheel” of colorful dressmaker pins for digging the snails out of their shells!

See the wheel of dressmaker pins?
See the wheel of dressmaker pins?
Choose your color and dig in!
Choose your color and dig in!

Our lunch concludes with a cheese board which is typical in Asturian meals.  This one has 4 varieties around the outside and one suspicious one in the middle.  They are all fantastic, but the one in the middle is the star.  It is a very strong, “stinky” cheese.  It seems overwhelming at first, but it growns on you.  We finish all of it.

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After lunch a walk around Gijon is in order. It is a beautiful day along the coast and there are many people out enjoying the sunshine.

Rich found a Utopia store
Rich found a Utopia store

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Oviedo (our final destination) awaits.  We want to arrive early enough to check in and see some of the city before dinner.  Our new hotel is clean and wonderfully cool from the A/C.  Bags are ditched and exploration is started.

Oviedo is another beautiful Asturian city.  It is large, but has a small “feel” to it.  The vibe here is super chill and relaxed – not overrun with tourists. There are folks out and about strolling and eating in sidewalk tables.  We like it immediately.  Evidently, so does Woody Allen.  There is a bronze statue of him in town!

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Further wandering brings us to the old section of town where we find another gorgeous cathedral

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Oviedo takes its Asturian traditions very seriously. There is an entire street devoted to sidrerias.  We mark it as a possibility for lunch tomorrow.

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Tonight we have reservations at Ca Suso.  It was recommended to us by last night’s chef at Cabo Vidio.  Since the food at Cabo Vidio was amazing, we feel like we can trust the chef’s judgement completely. The food at Ca Suso is supposedly traditional, but with a twist.  Sound intriguing.

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The small restaurant is enchanting inside.  The servers are so kind and attentive.  I can tell we are going to love it here and are in for a fantastic meal.  We ask our server to make some recommendations so that we can try some of the specialties of the house.

croquetas
croquetas
salmorejo
salmorejo
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Pulpo (octopus – yes, again!)
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Shrimp, scallop and monkfish

This is a fantastic meal.  We are so happy we listened to the recommendation.  After dinner we try the very, very special ice wine sidra.  omg

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Then we follow with my favorite dessert of the trip – a deconstructed Casadiella. Casadiella is a typical Asturian pastry made with wheat flour flavored with Anisette.  It is filled with ground hazelnuts.  I don’t know how they made this one, but it was heaven on a plate.

Not much to ook at, but I will never forget it!
Not much to look at, but I will never forget it!

Wow.  Another fantastic meal on this trip.  I finally believe that you simply cannot have a bad meal in Asturias whether in a small local cafe or in an upscale restaurant.  These people know how to prepare and serve delicious food and we are very thankful to be able to enjoy a small sampling.

We have to leave tomorrow and return to Barcelona, but for tonight the walk back to our hotel under a very full moon is almost magical.

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