Tapia de Casariego
After Navia we moved only a small distance west along the coast, around 20km, to the small village of Tapia de Casariego. We located the aire and picked a nice corner spot overlooking the sea. It was €4 to park overnight in this designated aire, and we decided that, although not quite on a par with our last stop, the beautiful view and the elevated setting looking out over the bay was worth the expense.
We left for a quick walk around the town, to get our bearings and stretch our legs a little before our planned cycle. We walked around a wide paved promenade that hugged the coast, sharing the path with a few morning dog walkers and surfers prepping their gear for a day on the waves. It was a Sunday morning so we had no expectations at all of anything being open in such a sleepy, rural village, so were much surprised to find a small panaderia open and we happily procured a fresh baguette and some pain au chocolats to enjoy later.
Then it was bikes out time and off we went to cycle the coast and headland to the west of our home for the night. We passed lovely inlets where we saw the crashng surf of wild Atlantic rollers bashing into the rocks. With detours off to find hidden beaches, or headlands with views right along the coast, we cycled in and out of the empty rural roads. Enjoying the tranquility of cycling these quiet roads and quaint sleepy villages, we saw that this time some of the planted corn had finally been harvested in the fields, as only hard, vertical stalks remained as a reminder of what was once there.
After several false starts, we found a lovely beach named Playa De Penarronda with a huge central rock feature with a natural archway through. The wide sands and warm sun had attracted a few others to the same spot, but there was plenty of space to spare. After enjoying our picnic lunch on the sand, we paddled softly in the warm sea and the sinking sands around the kneedeep hot pools left behind by the retreating sea; a well spent hour.
After our beach lunch, we continued cycling around the headland, passing ever more rural buildings but absolutely no road traffic. Fields of corn still lined our routes with half-runined agricultural buildings and vehicles parked on overgrown drives. We cycled up an abandoned, collapsed road that was just passable for us, but totally closed for cars, to reach a main road junction and the bridge over to the nearby town across the bay.
We crossed the Ponte dos Santos bridge, temporarily leaving Asturias for Galicia. It was 600m long, with a very narrow and high fenced pathway to each side of the road bridge, very tight for cycling across. The cycling was a bit hairy, but the views spectacular.
We dropped down into the harbour and followed the waterfront around past the marina and seafront restaurants, busy with patrons. We then cut back into town up a very steep cobbled street, reminiscent of those we walked in Dinan, working very hard on the bikes to reach the top. We turned a corner to pass through a large throng of people all standing in the street eating, drinking and chatting loudly. Sunday lunchtime certainly seems to be a popular time to eat out in Spain, although they were all gone on our return pass.
We had a look around the town centre, then caught up on emails and Skyped Mummy Finch by utilising the available free wifi at the closed (still Sunday) tourist centre. Opposite was the main square, lined with tall palm trees offering welcome shade, with the Town Hall and other prominent local buildings forming the colourful built perimeter.
We returned back across the same bridge to Asturias, this time meeting traffic and having to stop and awkwardly navigate our bikes past (well, over) fellow cyclists coming the other way, and then headed back to our base via a shorter route but on equally pretty inland roads.
Tapia de Casariego (again)
Later, post-dinner we went for a sunset walk around Tapia’s local coastline and harbour front. The few restaurants and bars positioned right on the waterside were busy, with everyone sitting outside to enjoy the cool breeze and views. There were beautiful colours and fabulous light for taking photos over the harbour and the town. We passed a circle of keen fishermen on the end of the harbour walls, all with long rods in hand, casting into the dark water, as the light disappeared.
We found a lovely sea water swimming pool hidden away just behind the front promenade, closed for the season but still looking very inviting. All the walkways and edgings were neatly built in secret-fixed timber and reminded us of bathing platforms built in the sea in Copenhagen, south of the city near the aquarium. We talked of sneaking down and having an early morning swim; that turned out to be all talk, but with not knowing the contents or quality of the pool water it was probably sensible not to. Instead we had a quick morning stroll to pick up fresh yummies for breakfast and returned to enjoy a very lazy breakfast.
After such a lovely explore of the village – three walks and a long day’s cycle around the nearby coast, it was difficult to believe we’d not yet been here for 24 hours. We pulled out of the aire services on our way with minutes to spare before the full 24 hour parking day was up. Sometimes it’s difficult to comprehend how much you can fit into a single day.