Driving to Spain, Asturias, Oviedo

The Town Hall Oviedo
The Town Hall Oviedo

A quick reminder of the last post maybe needed.  We have been kindly loaned a car and have decided that instead of wasting money renting a car in Spain and paying for flights that we would drive from the UK to Spain; a trip we have made in the past and are happy to complete again.

We departed Wolverhampton around 16:00 as we had to make our ferry from Dover at 02:30 in the morning and due to it being a Friday it was suggested that we gave at least seven hours for the journey and to expect long delays.

We met only a couple of delays and stopped off for some dinner off that boot of the car before setting off again and reaching the check-in at Dover by 00:30.  We had two hours to kill and apart from adding our headlight deflectors there was nothing much to do except trying to sleep as we had a long journey ahead.

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The cruise over to Calais came and went; luckily we managed to get some sleep amongst the torturous screams of what seemed to be 100 children.  Before we knew it we were called back to car to continue our journey through France and onto Spain.

If you have ever driven through France you will probably agree that it is a somewhat drab experience and it is not until you reach the border to Spain that the land scape becomes interesting.  I know that France is a stunning country and it is a shame that whilst passing places such as Boulogne-sur-Mer, Abbeville, Rouen, La Mans, Nantes and Bordeaux that we could not stop, but we had already experienced how uncomfortable it is sleeping in the car and we just wanting to make it to a bed and the comfort of Carlotta’s home.

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Tiredness crept in 3 hours into our trip as I had not slept for nearly 24 hours. I have found through experience that the first 5-6 coffees may make a difference to alertness but after that there is no point in drinking more as all you feel is sick.  We had covered 400 miles before pulling over at a French service station and sleeping 4 hours.

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After a much needed break we carried on through France looking at the same monotonous land scape with only the money grabbing tolls to distract / upset us.  It cost us over £100 pounds in French tolls alone.  I may complain but actually the roads are good and can you believe that we hit no traffic at all?  Take a look at the below photo.  Can you spot the difference?  One shows rush hour into London and the other shows rush hour on one of the main roads into Oviedo, the Capital of Asturias.

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We enjoyed greatly our drive through the North of Spain.  Nothing had changed since the last time we drove these beautiful roads.  The scenery is stunning.  You follow the Picos de Europa though out your journey  with dramatic cliffs on your left and the Atlantic on your right.  The roads are empty, smooth and dotted with spectacular bridges that cross sleepy winding rivers.  Apart from unbelievable fatigue I felt happy and at piece.  I love this part of Spain, I love everything about it and we have not got to the best part.

Entering Spain
Entering Spain

We made Carlotta’s house by 16:00 Spanish time and were kindly welcomed by her father (Carlos) and her Mother (Maria).  There were a few reasons for coming to Oviedo, one: to spend time with family and friends, two: I need to improve of my Spanish and three: to look for a house / apartment for the future.

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Since I first arrived in Oviedo I knew it would be a city I would be more than happy to call this home in the future; maybe the time is nearly right.  It is nice to know that since my last visit nothing has changed.  Oviedo is immensely historic, founded as a city in 761.  It is a clean city being awarded several times as Europe’s cleanest city.  You can still get a coffee for 0.78p and a pincho for the same price.  I have breakfast out every morning and it costs me no more than a small Starbucks coffee in the UK and tastes much better.  You can walk around the city at any time at night and not worry when you here footsteps behind you.  The food and wine are exquisite.  Life is based on the streets and it is not uncommon to see young children playing without supervision; why would they need it, even at 23:00hrs? Girls between the ages of 7 to 13 are still allowed to be children and not dressed up in clothes that make them look like 18 year old mini whores and that is so prevalent in other western Cities.

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I could carry on listing why this city is so spectacular but it is better that you come and see it for yourself.  Outside the City the sea awaits only 20 minutes’ drive away  at Gijon.  The Picos de Europa creates a stunning back drop and offer unbelievably walks and other outdoor pursuits.

Anyway, I hope the photos do this fantastic city justice.  We also travelled to Avilez and Gijon; a few photos are included.  Enjoy.

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Viveiro – Cedeira – 6th September 2012

 

We departed Viveiro at 10:20 am, again slightly later than expected but we did get talking to another person anchored nearby who had just sailed from Falmouth to Viveiro.

We started again with light winds, however the scenery has improved greeted with high mountains and islands to view on passage.  We motored for the first hour whilst I cooked breakfast and then afterwards set up the Hydrovane and enjoyed a slow sail.  The problem we are finding with these parts is the swell.  If we do not have more than 10 knots the sails begin to flog in the swell. Again the winds were Easterly with a touch of Northerly in them.

As we passed our first major headland the wind picked up to a good force 5 so we sailed fast around the corner.  Luckily I had already put one reef in the main but we were still reaching 7.5 knots off the waves.  Again the wind died and we decided to motor until the next headland.  For some reason before we entered the headland I decided to take the reef out; this was not the best decision.  As we rounded we were experiencing gusts of 38 knots and sailing off waves at 10.5 knots. It was an excilerating sail but at some point Troskala tried to head to wind too much to comfort. We furled our Genoa and ran the rest of the was under main.

  

Another mistake made was to tow the dinghy.  It had not caused us too many problems during the first part of the journey except slow us down but the worst was still to come.

We had the wide entrance of Cedeira in view but again when entering the acceleration zone with high mountains to our starboard we were again experiencing winds up to 40 knots.  As we turned to enter the harbor the wind was howling.  The dinghy decided to fly up in the air and invert itself with the loss of the engine padlock.  This was not the worst of our problems as the dinghy was now being dragged underwater and slowing us down to the point of me loosing some steerage.  There were two options and these were to either cut the tender free ur try and pull it up close to the boat to get the wind under the bow and turn it the correct way up.  Thankfully the latter worked but it decided to do the same performance 4 more times before we reached our anchorage.  Luckily it landed the correct way up for our entrance to the anchorage so as to save me some embarrassment.

  

We anchored at 16:30 in a very picturesque setting.  The wind here is still blowing hard but we held at anchor first time and will hopefully pop into town for a coffee when the wind dies down.

  

Anecdotes:

1. Do not tow a dinghy.  I have learnt the pitfalls of this several times now but I will never ever tow a dinghy again from the back of the boat whilst underway.

2. Even if the wind dies down do not rush to take your reef out.  I was aware that there would be acceleration zones and why I took the reef out after the first one I do not know.

3. Respect Headlands – The wind climbed by two forces around the headland espcially with it coming off the mountains around us.  I maybe should have set a course further out to escape most of the funneled winds.

4. Dont leave a pan of curry on the surface, when you tack it will go on the floor.  This is now the second meal we have lost in as many days.

 

Miles: 32.5

Engine: 2 hours 12 minutes

Total Miles: 1094

Latitude: 43’39.17

Longitude: 08’03.82