At the bottom of the steep hill here was a car park at the edge of the harbour so we parked there and walked around the stout walls of the port where waves were crashing in on one side but on the other everything was calm, local people were fishing and hauling kilo after kilo of fish out of the water and the fishing fleet was sleeping in the sheltered calm water.
It was quite wonderful, Cornwall with sunshine, Cornwall with abundant seafood restaurants and above all Cornwall with style! The sea was an impossible to imagine blue with white surf and foam and drift wood and debris left randomly marooned amongst the rocks and the pebbles.
We walked the walls and congratulated the fishermen and women on the quantity and quality of their catch and then we left and made more progress towards the town, parking as close as we could before taking to the streets once more.
Suddenly Kim spotted what she declared to be a short-cut and set off into a long tunnel, at least three hundred metres long and inside of which was a fast flowing stream of water in a concrete channel flowing ebulliently towards the sea. It pranced and jumped energetically and Kim declared that there must surely be a waterfall at the end of the gloomy route so we pressed on into the darkness towards the pin-prick of light at the other end. Sadly she was spectacularly wrong and there was no surging dramatic fall of white water cascading down from the hillside and the path petered out rather disappointingly into an unremarkable set of steps which took us into the back of the town and back down again into the main square which it turns out is so picturesque that it makes it on to the front cover of the Dorling Kindersley travel guide book to Northern Spain…
It was late afternoon and the sea food restaurants were beginning to close down for a short break but we selected a pavement bar and sat in the warm sunshine and decided to try the local Asturian speciality of Sidre! As it turned out there is a special way of serving this traditional brew because it is natural and bottled without gas and the bottle must be held above the head allowing for a long vertical pour which requires considerable skill and accuracy and which causes the cider to be aerated when it splashes into the glass below. The waiter poured about five centimetres of the alcoholic apple juice into our glasses and waited for us to drink it and register our approval before repeating the dramatic pouring process again – several times!
We sat and watched the activity in the street as several pilgrims made their weary way towards their overnight accommodation and our conversation turned to the prospect of perhaps tackling the route ourselves one day. As the hikers made their way into the town I hoped for their sake that they had accommodation booked at sea level because the town is built into a natural cove and the buildings are stacked high, one upon each other, and after a long day on the road I doubt many would relish the prospect of a final last vertical climb.
It was siesta time now and the little town was closing down for a snooze but we found a shop selling local produce that was defiantly staying open while everywhere around it shut their doors so we purchased a bottle of local Asturian wine and some bottles of beer and then made our way back to the car and then to the hotel.
There was a glorious late afternoon sunshine now that was bathing the terrace of the hotel in warming rays so while Kim rested in the room I sat outside and made notes about the day and then joined by a pilgrim who talked about her day on the road and made me feel guilty. I was sitting in the sun with a San Miguel next to my Seat Ibiza hire car and feeling tired when she had just walked twenty miles on these demanding undulating coastal roads.
As afternoon melted into evening we needed somewhere to eat and because I didn’t want to drive again we asked for a local recommendation. The hotel owner pointed us in the direction of a local restaurant that he was at pains to point out was ‘non touristico’ – several times. This could mean one of two things, it was either an expensive Michelin star establishment or it was the sort of cheap place we were looking for. Luckily it turned out to be the cheap sort of place that we were looking for and we enjoyed an excellent and hearty local meal before returning to the Casona Selgas for our final night at the hotel.