Day 10 - Thursday, October 4, 2012 - Travel Day to Oviedo; Visit the Seaside Town of Comillas; Visit Fishing Village of Tazones; Local Guided Tour of Oviedo
Our room on the 3rd floor of the Hotel Altamira in Santillana del Mar was delightful; we loved the period furniture and our attic room with the sloping ceilings and the rough cut beams from the 16th Century.
However, when it was time to take a shower this morning at 6:30 we realized another feature of old medieval buildings – no water pressure! Vic went downstairs to see if it was a problem for the whole day and the manager said the water should come on soon.
In about 15 minutes we got enough water to take a sailor’s shower and hope for the best for the day. The fact is water is not to be taken for granted. People in the Middle Ages did not take showers or baths every day.
No big buses were allowed in the city center so our bags were taken back to the parking area by a small min-van a few at a time. Even though we had them outside our rooms at 7:30 it still took until 9:00 to get them all to the bus parking and for Javier to load them.
As we continued west to Oviedo, we traveled past green hills covered with lush grasses, eucalyptus trees, hardwood trees, and small farms in the valleys. Each farm has a few cattle, a horse or two, a few pigs and chickens and a big vegetable garden.
The pastures are divided by waist high dry stone fences. The landscape really reminded us of Ireland only with more trees. The eucalyptus trees are planted and harvested for paper pulp.
In less than 20 minutes on the road we were back at the sea following the coast of the north of Spain. Our first stop of the morning was in small town Comillas where we saw the Sobralleno Palace, the home of the Marquisate of Comillas, Pontificial University, and El Capricho, one of the original buildings designed by Gaudi.
From the palace we walked to the small village, bought churros and wandered around the tiny side streets. We are starting to see more of the scallop shells in the sidewalks designating The Way, the Route of the Pilgrimage of St. James.
As we drove west we traveled in the shadow of the Picos de Europa, the mountain range that guided the Spanish sailors and explorers back to Spain after their trips across the Atlantic.
We stopped for lunch in the small fishing village of Tazones where there were several bars, a few restaurants and the port for the fishing boats. We had lunch in a delightful little café, Bar El Puerto.
We wanted something light so we ordered the fried shrimp; they were fantastic. Served with a French roll and a Coke and sidra (hard cider), it was more than enough.
After lunch we enjoyed the fresh sea air and took a long walk down to the port. The cries of the gulls and the crashing waves in the warm sun will be great memories to last us through our cold Colorado winter.
We had plenty of time before we walked back to the bus at 2:00. The pace of this Go Ahead Tour has been very leisurely with plenty of time on our own to take photos and get a real feel for the Spanish communities we have visited.
As we left El Punta Tazones, Laura shared a Spanish dessert treat she bought for us this morning called quesada, a flan, cheese cake from this part of northern Spain and the region of Asturias.
When we reached our hotel in Oviedo, we had about an hour to start the journal and download photos. Then at 4:15 it was time for our guided tour of the city of 225,000.
Our guide Liliana or Lily met us in the lobby and we got back in the bus for a short overview of the city. We were able to take photos of the famous City of Oviedo Civic Center, home to a hotel, conference rooms, and restaurants. Designed by Calatrava and called The Crab by the locals, it is a glistening white, aluminum structure of lines and spaces.
Javier let us off the bus and we walked through the old city center. We visited the Cathedral of San Salvador founded in 781 by King Alfonso II, who was one of the original pilgrims that traveled the Way of St. James.
The main altar piece is exceptional with carved scenes from the Bible covered with gold. In the early medieval times most people could not read so the church used these beautiful works of art to spread the messages of Christianity.
We made our way admiring many of the 100 outdoor sculptures in the old town. We arrived back at the bus at 6:45 and had an hour before dinner. Gennie did some hand laundry and Vic sorted more photos.
In the hotel, after a set menu dinner accompanied by wine, we came up to our room to work a bit and then got some rest after another busy day.
Accommodations: Hotel Ayre Ramiro I - - - Meal: B, D
Please see our Trip Evaluation -- Click Here -- A Complete Review of Go Ahead Tours: Barcelona and Northern Spain
Day 13 - Saturday, April 22, 2022 - Depart for U.S.
The hotel prepared a box breakfast for us as we had to be in the lobby way before the breakfast room was open.
Last night we found out that our departure flight back to...