Wednesday, 5 June 2013


Visit to Llanes, on the coast

We decided to visit the coast of Asturias, and read that Llanes was a pleasant place to visit.  A 38 mile round trip but a bit more demanding than expected. Two good climbs from the campsite at Avin to Llanes took us over the Col at El Mazuco.  A beautiful ride through meadows and hamlets, Cortines and Mere, with sections of road sweeping around ravines with views up imposing hillsides.  Occasionally kicking up to an average gradient of 9% over a couple of miles, you felt like you'd done a testing ride.  Descending steeply to Llanes, with views of a bright blue sea and green hillsides right up to the coast.  Hardly any traffic and even fewer cyclists.  A couple of local guys obviously on a well-used training route, shouting" Vamo, Vamos "for encouragement.  Everybody is so friendly and talkative around here and assumes you are Spanish, plunging at speed into some commentary about how hard the climb is, and it's much easier in a car!
  Llanes was a lovely place to stop, with a little harbour and glimpses of green-edged bays further along to Andrin and Cue.  Had a pintxo and cider.  Pintxo and cafe mediana was 2 euros!  We've been surprised at how cheap it is here, with 3 course menu del Dias and a bottle of wine for 10 euros.  I think they have to compete.  Lots of bars and restaurants open with very little custom at this time of year, put off by poorer weather than the costas.
  Pintxos are a larger version of tapas, fried chicken, lomo/pork loin, or ham, in a chunk of baguette.  The sidra was poured from a height, to aerate it.  Otherwise it is naturally flat, but delicious.  At 6% a little strong, but a coffee and dulces, in this case a chocolate filled pastry, helped to fortify for the two big climbs on the return.  Returning the same way was just a beautiful as before, with views down the valley, and views up to the Picos on the second climb.  An unexpectedly pleasant journey, and a bit hillier than expected, 4500' of ascent.  There's no preparation you can do at home for these climbs.  We just don't have anything with sustained climbing like this.  Nearest is climbing in Mallorca!  But it is surprising how quickly you start to feel on top of the climbing, the more you do it!  All good training!!!

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