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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Corme to Muros – Wednesday 12th September 2012

Our decision to wake up early again did not happen; I have to stop with the wine in an evening.  We eventually lifted anchor at 09:30; two hours later than expected.  We were met with a fresh breeze and the forecast looked promising with 4-5 occasionally 6 North East.  Today we had a few destination options, the main thing was to pass the notorious Finistere and cover some good mileage.

We had a good sail out of the Ria but our course was putting us to far west, so the time had come to get the pole out and do some downwind sailing.  We set up our rig with not too much trouble and cruised for 3 hours doing 6-7 knots on average. Our dolphin friends again joined us for a little while.

 

We had Finisterre in sight around 15:00. The wind had now picked up to force 5 and we were making good way.  Once we cleared the headland we removed the pole with great difficulty due to the wind now increasing to force 6; I think I may have brocken my finger in the process as it hurts, has swelled to twice the size and is hardly moveable.

As we carefully approached Ria De Muros the wind died and we had a few minutes respite.  I was about to take the main down and start the engine but Carlotta said we should wait for the breeze to pick up – that it did and after we had turned into the Ria we were head on to 30 knots of wind.

 

Our first anchorage was out the question as it was too exposed so we toyed with the idea of going to a marina on the southern side of the Ria but we thought better of spending the money and opted to take a look at our second anchorage.  The anchorage is great. I am sitting here now sheltered from the wind by a huge mountain and overlooking a peaceful village whilst Carlotta cooks homemade pizzas.  Tomorrow should be an easier day but at least today we hardly motored but we both feel drained.  I think that after we have visited our friends in Portugal we will take it a bit easier instead of rushing each day to cover miles – we will see what happens.

Anecdotes:

Take your main sail down when you think it is the right time – don’t listen to others, even if the girlfriend / wife stats yelling

Dont anchor in weed – 3 attempts then we moved to sand.

Miles: 53.5

Lat: 42’46.94

Lon: 09’03.34

Engine: 1 hour 42 minutes