The early mist had cleared by the time we’d enjoyed our leisurely breakfast and were ready to depart at 10:00. We paused at Cangas to photograph the bridge, where a solo traveller from Lancashire stopped by for a chat. We took a hilly minor road to bypass Arriondas and stopped just before the railway line to investigate an odd noise, which turned out to be frogs croaking. We crossed the line and were waiting to join the main road when I heard the level crossing barriers closing for a freight train to pass, then we joined the N634 for a fast run to Infiesto where we boarded the FEVE. This saved us the ride along the fairly busy and not especially interesting road, avoided the Oviedo suburbs and delivered us into the city centre for a mere €2.85 each. The FEVE is slow, the fifty kilometres taking over an hour, but it is very cheap compared with British trains and there is plenty of bike space, we didn’t even have to remove our panniers. The train was a two-car diesel unit, clean and spacious with 2+1 seating and air-conditioning. There were few passengers until we neared Oviedo. The exit from the station was tricky, as the lift up to concourse level was too small for bikes and we had to take it in turns and tip our bikes up.
We’d boarded in warm sunshine but the clouds gathered as we travelled westward, and we stepped off at Oviedo to a very warm muggy atmosphere with dark clouds looking as though they could soak us at will. We’d arrived soon after two o’clock but the tourist information office was closed until 16:30 so we wandered around looking for somewhere to stay, which took ages. We found
Hotels in noisy locations
A hotel in a quiet area but charging €120 for a room
Hostals on fourth or fifth floors
Not wanting to overspend, and not wanting to drag our bikes up endless flights of stairs, we kept on looking and found the El Ovetense near the cathedral, very reasonably priced and they let us lock our bikes in their secure ground floor bottle store.
We called into the cathedral but could find no-one to sign our Pilgrims Passports. We obtained a free city map from the tourist information office and looked round the city. It rained on and off throughout the afternoon but we were spared a downpour. We dropped into a café for cappuccino and a lovely moist filling apple cake, then shopped for tomorrow’s dinner, dropping it off at the hotel before going out in search of food.
We ate at an Italian restaurant then called in at a sideria, sitting outside in a mediaeval courtyard. We could smell the cider as we approached, and soon found out why. Asturian cider is dry and still, but the tradition is to pour it, a small amount at a time, from a great height into a thin glass, hitting the side to achieve maximum aeration. When you’ve drunk the inch or so that you poured and are ready for more, you stand up to repeat the process. The waiter poured the initial draught, inevitably some is always spilt and this is the source of the aroma. I like still cider so saw no point in trying it myself and wasting it, but it was interesting to watch. The cider was called Quelo, strength was 6.5% abv which is standard.