Tag Archives: Cudillero

Weekly Photo Challenge: Door to the Town of Besalú

Besalu Catalonia Spain

The cool narrow alleys started to drop now as we approached the river Fluvià where fat carp swam lazily close to the surface in the sunshine and mocked the fishermen who were valiantly trying their luck and then we reached the twelfth century Romanesque bridge which is the principal feature of the town.

Before the adjacent new road bridge was built this was the only way of crossing the river and it is heavily fortified in a redundant sort of way and was once so important that it was blown up and partially destroyed during the Spanish civil war.

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Catalonia Spain Besalu Door

Weekly Photo Challenge: Layers

Cudillero Asturias

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.

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Catalonia, The Medieval Town of Besalú

Besalu Catalonia Spain

Besalú is designated as a National Historic Property but it is rather small and as we were staying here for a couple of nights we thought it best not to rush around and see everything straight away.  This plan suited me just fine because it was exceptionally hot by mid-afternoon so the best place to be was in the main square under a parasol with a big glass of cool Estrella beer in a frozen glass and several plates of local specialities for lunch.

Eventually the bars and restaurants began to close down as the owners and staff cleared the tables and started to think about the afternoon siesta so we took the hint and moved off to go and explore the streets of Besalú.

Away from the medieval main square we melted into narrow alleys with cobbled streets with weathered stone buildings and balconies with terracotta pots host to effervescent flower displays, wooden doors with several coats of paint covering up the damage of hundreds of years and heavy metal hinges and rusty locks.

Besalu Catalonia Spain

In the forty degree heat this was a wonderfully lazy place where shopkeepers sat outside without worrying about customers or sales targets and tourist shops acted like a magnet for Kim who was considered this the perfect place to find the holiday souvenir in the craft and pottery shops that lined the streets.

The cool narrow alleys started to drop now as we approached the river Fluvià where fat carp swam lazily close to the surface in the sunshine and mocked the fishermen who were valiantly trying their luck and then we reached the twelfth century Romanesque bridge which is the principal feature of the town.  Before the adjacent new road bridge was built this was the only way of crossing the river and it is heavily fortified in a redundant sort of way and was once so important that it was blown up and partially destroyed during the Spanish civil war.

We walked across the bridge to the other side of the river but this transported us from the medieval to the modern world and so we stayed just long enough to look back and admire the view, the stone houses rising vertically from the banks of the river, the bridge, designed to repel hostile attacks and the intense blue sky that framed the whole town and full of swifts and house martins that came in waves and waves like Nazi Stuka dive bombers.

After we were certain that we had seen what there was to see in Besalú we returned to the main square and the shade of the pavement café parasols and as we watched guests arriving for a wedding in the church we agreed that this was one of the most attractive places that we had visited in Spain and excluding cities we started to compile a top ten and in no particular order this is it:

The fishing village of Cudillero in Asturias with its tiered buildings wedged into a wooded rocky cove and staying on the northern coast the stone built village of Santillana del Mar in Cantabria and then dashing south to Andalusia and the immaculate white-washed villages of Ronda and, close to Seville, the town of Carmona.  I think we are happy to declare Extremadura as among our favourite places in Spain and from here the conquistador town of Trujillo must surely have a place in our top ten.  Next I had to squeeze in the historic town of Ciudad Rodrigo in Castilla y Leon and finally four places in the centre of the country and all quite close to Madrid, Chinchon of course with its delightful Plaza Mayor and nearby Almagro and then the delightful town of Siquenza and finally, and this just might be the best of all, the mountain village of Pedro Bernardo once again in Castilla y Leon.

This is a personal top ten and we have barely visited enough places in Spain to be qualified to compile this list so I have left out your favourite then I apologise and invite you to comment and add a suggestion.

Gradually the wedding guests all made their way inside the church and Kim slipped back to the hotel to rest so I took the opportunity to enter the church that had previously been locked and gatecrash the wedding but I wasn’t the only one and no one seemed especially bothered by that as they concentrated on the ceremony as we poked about the side chapels and watched the happy couple nervously exchanging vows and rings.

Later as the sun dipped, the shadows grew longer and the temperature dropped we went back out into the square and selected a restaurant for evening meal and enjoyed a slow service menu del dia for only a few euro as we watched the town move slowly from evening to night time and before we returned to the hotel for the last time today we repeated this afternoon’s walk and completed another circuit of the town this time under floodlights rather than a blistering sun.

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Northern Spain – Cudillero

Cudillero Asturias Spain

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…

Dorling Kindersley - 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.

Cudillero Asturias