Category: Landscapes/scenery

Roast Lamb, Friends in Logrono, back to France

The campground’s pit-roasted lamb dinner was every bit as delicious as we remembered – a joint of lamb brought sizzling in a pan and carved by the chef at our table, accompanied by green olives, lovely crusty bread, fries and salad.

I ate as much as I could and still had plenty to take away for tomorrow’s meals – a really excellent birthday dinner.

The next morning we weren’t in any great hurry to leave so took a nice long walk along the main street of the town.

As usual in this area it’s all about the Camino, with auberges all over the place, as well as a nice plaza and some cafe/bars.

We did get away right around noon, stopping to say goodbye to the owners and letting them know how much we enjoyed staying there – and the dinner last night – and promising to return.

The drive to Logrono didn’t take that long, and we found the aire no problem – we’d been there two years ago.  It’s just on the north edge of the city in an area chock-full of sports fields and activities.  Nice and flat with lots of trees, very near the river.

In the morning we took a walk to the river, then east along the lovely pathway to the large pedestrian bridge, passing a skateboard park along the way.

We only came to the town to see Ricardo (Richard) and to pick up three cases of Rioja to take back to France – he was able to meet with us a bit early, along with his daughter Lucy.  

It was so nice to see them again, especially as we’d not been able to come to Spain last year.  We took another walk with them, this time to a cafe where we sat outside and chatted for a bit.

Lucy has grown up so much – she was only 12 or so when we first met her, and now she’s in her final year of school before entering university next year – a very lovely and beautiful young lady.

When we told them where we’d been the last couple of days they were so surprised – it’s the place that Richard’s father was born and grew up in – he still has cousins and other family there.  I showed them the photos I’d taken and they recognized almost every place.

Right after Richard and Lucy left we also got under way, deciding to go all the way back to Mansle rather than stopping partway.  We made a stop very near the French border to pickup a couple more things and once again crossed over without even a question, only knowing we’d crossed the border when we passed the sign saying ‘France’. 

Back to Camping a Vuoga, Riding the Bear Trail, Carrion de Los Condes

It rained off and on all night, and we awoke to the renewal of a problem – the electrics that had miraculously fixed themselves after our visit to the mechanic in Lugo have once again gone on the fritz.  The fridge is off, as well as everything else – we couldn’t even get the stove going to make a cup of tea.

Since our neighbours had left very early – around 5:30 or so – we did something we don’t normally do, and ran the motor for awhile to charge up the battery.

After making a nice cup of tea and having some breakfast we returned to Camping A Vouga back on the coast.  Within an hour we’d both showered and had a large load of laundry in.

We opted for lunch at the campground’s restaurant and both got the ‘plate of the day’ – avocado stuffed with shrimp, followed by garlic chicken with fries, although the fries turned out to be mashed potatoes – luckily I like both, and had plenty leftover for dinner.

Retrieving the laundry to hang it to dry I noticed that some of it was dripping wet and some of it didn’t look like water had even hit it – faulty machine I guess, so we had to do some of it over in a different machine.

This time our camping spot was overlooking the beach and we spent a pleasant afternoon watching the tide coming in and just relaxing.

I took a nice walk on the beach around sunset – it was beautiful.

The rainstorm in the night was torrential, accompanied by frequent bright flashes of lightening and tremendous thunder.  I spent quite awhile trying to calm Mo down – she needed many pats and cuddles.

From the coast the next morning we had a long day of travel east to get back to the ‘bear trail’ just southwest of Oviedo.  We’d stopped by there a couple of weeks ago but the crowds were too much for us, although we still wanted to go for a ride.

We spent the night in the large parking area near a bike rental/cafe and put the bikes and chariot together the next morning.

The ride was very nice – not as many people as there would have been in August, and even the dogs were a bit less barky.

We stopped in Proaza for coffee, then continued up the trail a few more km. before turning back.

We saw two of the bears – I think there are three in total, all behind fences and unable to roam as they should – kind of sad, really.

By the time we got back to the parking lot it was chock-full, and we were glad we’d gone riding when we did.  After a nice tuna salad with feta cheese for lunch we were on our way again.

We backtracked a bit to Oviedo to take the motorway south to Leon where we turned east and stopped at an aire on the edge of the town of Carrion de los Condes.

The aire is quite small but does have water drop, etc.  It’s right next to a sports complex with a very nice soccer field, and there’s a pedestrian bridge crossing the river to the town.

Since we weren’t in any special hurry we explored the town a bit the next morning – it’s larger than we expected, and is another fairly important stop on the Camino trail. We spent a bit of time exploring and quite liked the place.

The town is either 401 km or 405 km from Santiago – depending on which sign you look at – most people’s final destination when they walk the Camino.

There are some really nice lamps and lampposts…

…churches and statues…

As in most Camino towns almost all of the businesses have something to do with the ‘pilgrims’.

There’s a mosaic on the ground on some stairs, but it has degraded over the years – it must have been fantastic when first completed.

Leaving the aire before noon we went on to the town of Castrojeriz, another campground we’ve been to before.

I remember three things about it from our first visit:  the ruined castle on the hill above the town;  a nice ride I took along the Camino to the town of Hontanas;  and the delicious roast lamb dinner we had at the campground’s restaurant.

From Viegu back to Santa Eulalia de Oscos, and on to Quintans – More Vuelta!

Shortly after the race passed our nice little spot in Viegu we got going north towards the coast, stopping at an aire not far from the town of Ribadesella.  That’s the town that’s made headlines recently for it’s tongue-in-cheek response to criticism from tourists that had complained about the noise from roosters and church bells, etc.

We stopped in Gijon to re-stock on food, then continued straight west on the motorway until just before Ribadeo where we turned south along the route for the next day’s stage.

We followed the route to the town of A Fonsagrada, where we stopped so Colin could get some salve for his insect bites.  I haven’t been bitten at all, but they seem to really go for him!

Backtracking to the village of Santa Eulalia de Oscos we once again took advantage of the aire.  The race goes by on the road below, although it doesn’t actually go thru the village.

After a lovely glass of rioja we had a nice early night – there are only two other vans this time, as opposed to being almost full two weeks ago.

Early the next morning we followed the route several miles on and picked a nice wide spot to park and watch from.

There was a very large breakaway that arrived at 1:49…

…with the peloton, led by Jumbo Visma – with current overall leader Primoz Roglic – only two minutes behind (love his blue shoes!)…

…and team Ineos and Bernal not far back.

We once again saw our ‘friend’ the photographer who stopped right at our spot to take some photos.

We’ve met him several times now, including the Tour of Burgos three years ago and the world’s in Harrogate two years ago.  He liked the book I was reading that I’d set near my chair and commented on it.

Several minutes later, as usual, were the sprinters and others, including Jacobsen and several of his protective Quickstep team members.

After taking down the flags we had a somewhat leisurely drive back past Santiago and a bit south to the town of Padron – it’s the starting point for Sunday’s final stage that is an Individual Time Trial.  We know we’re not going to watch from Padron, but it has an aire that was pretty easy to find.

We actually didn’t really care for the site – it’s right across from a canal, and also right on one of the many Camino routes.  In fact there’s a marker showing that it’s at km 26,770 of the trail – not sure where they started counting from – China, maybe? Or, perhaps, as Colin reminded me, they use the comma and the decimal backwards here, and it more likely means 26.77 km to go to Santiago – maybe?? Hahaha.

The problem with the site is that it’s surrounded on two sides by large apartment blocks, and since it was Friday night there was a lot of activity, including drunken shouting and verbal altercations from some of the suites.

Leaving as early as possible the next morning we headed out on the route, looking for a spot somewhere on the one large climb of the finale on Sunday.  We passed a spot that Colin liked but I wanted to press on and see what was ahead – we ended up going another 15 km or so before turning around and parking in the first spot.

We were eventually joined by another campervan, and many more cruised up and down the road looking for places.

Vuelta from Viegu

We left our lovely aire and made our way north back to Asturias.

Along the way we passed thru some beautiful countryside that reminded me a lot of home.  Not far from the border there’s a reservoir/lake and the water’s so low that cattle are grazing on lands that used to be underwater.

There’s a pullout just before the town of Oseja de Sajambre and it has a trail down to a platform with wonderful views of the deep valley and surrounding mountains.

We left the main road shortly after entering Asturias and headed a few km west to the village of Viego – or Viegu, depending on what signs you look at.

We’d passed a couple of possible parking spots for the race tomorrow before we got to the village but continued on, stopping at a cafe/bar/restaurant for a coffee and to discuss our plan.

We quickly decided to stay where we were rather than continue up to the summit.  The cafe served food and good wine – why leave?

We had a nice fairly flat parking space right in front – we did move a bit to allow more customers to park but were assured by the waiter that we could stay overnight.  We promised to eat and drink there – he spoke very good english, and is also a cycling fan.

We had some tapas for lunch and got to watch the last bit of the day’s race on the tv inside.

We went for a short walk a bit further up the road – it’s very twisty and quite steep in spots so there’ll be plenty of good places to watch and shoot from.

There are several large dogs that roam around and aren’t on leads.  They don’t seem to be aggressive, but Mo and Henry bark at them anyway.

We’ve seen quite a few campervans going up the road, only to come back down again a short while later.  A couple of large ones came back to the village and we had fun watching them trying to squish into places to park.

Two boys carried a small soccer net to the square and a bunch of the local kids were playing when some slightly older ones arrived with brooms and started clearing the ground.

They did a very good job in a very short time.

A steady stream of vehicles went up and down the road the next morning, all hoping for a decent place to park.

As the morning progressed our little cafe got busier and busier and it seemed like the whole village gathered along the roadside.

The campervan next to us has a tiny dog we refer to as ‘rat dog’ and their friend that was parked down the road a bit has a fluffy little shi tzu.

We ended up parking the lawn chairs right behind the campervan to take our photos from.

The caravan passed by and I almost missed it – it’s nothing like the one for the Tour.

The first riders appeared just before 2:20, with several QuickStep riders protecting their green jersey holder Jacobsen only four minutes back.  It’s so, so good to see Jacobsen doing well again when only about a year ago he was in an induced coma from crash injuries.

About half an hour after the first pass it just started to pour…

…and pour…

One of the local ladies and her family were all wearing white t-shirts with ‘Viegu’ in black – I’m now the proud owner of one and put it on immediately.

The second pass of the race arrived just over an hour after the first – the rain had slacked a bit by then – Bernal and Roglic were alone in the lead by a few seconds.

The group was much more spread out this time taking over 15 minutes to pass us.  As soon as they were by we scooted inside the cafe to watch the last hour on one of their two tv’s.

It was a thrilling finish up the dreaded Covadonga with Roglic and Bernal staying out in front and Roglic finally getting away and putting over a minute into everyone else – very dominating and exciting ride!