Spain - Portugal

July 2017

Part 6: A Coruna - Oviedo

It's the end of June but it starts feeling like the beginning of winter as I leave Oporto behind and head North. Considering that only a few days earlier I was under Iberian heatwave I would dare to say it feels like the heart of winter with rain and 20C less. I approach the Spanish border with many drops on my windscreen:

I cross the border to Spain via Ponte da Amizade over the river Minho with even more of them:

Then it got even worse and colder as I was riding over Galician soil. Weather didn't allow for pictures and videos so even when I was in scenic roads it looked like this:

or like this:

This last one was taken on the AgG53 West of Ourense. At this time it rained even more and I started feeling my rear worn tire loosing grip struggling to drain all this water while carrying all my luggage's weight.

I manage to arrive scratch free at my destination, a room I have rented East of A Coruna, after a long wet ride. I leave my stuff at the room and change clothes to something drier so I can chat with my hosts at the kitchen in a more comfortable shape. I ask them how come this crazy weather of rain and low 10s in the heart of the summer and only thing they say is that they are as surprised as I am. It felt so cold at times that it reminded me my ride at Grossglockner Austria years ago at the same time of the year, with the difference though that the latter was more than 2000m higher and the temperature was flirting with zero. I go to my bed early and tired. As I lay down I have view to the sunset. I then look at the time was past 10 pm! This part of Spain has (obviously) the same time as the rest of the country resulting in having the wrong time :)

The weather prognosis remains bad and next morning is here only to confirm it. I load my iron donkey, say goodbye to my warm funny hosts and continue my trip heading West. I ride on the A6 and even few breaks of sun can't allow for decent images on the way as they once again look like that:

After Lugo I take the LU-530 in search of a more scenic route through rural areas around the Somiedo and Las Ubinas National Parks. The route is really nice indeed, the weather not as much hence I won't put more images like the last one here. However, as I enter Asturias the stars aligned and a parenthesis of cold but dry weather allowed me to enjoy the masterpiece of Embalse de Salime. Speaks for itself:

In case you are not convinced yet here's a video:

The rest of the route up to Oviedo was all downhill in altitude and beauty since it was hard to beat that. In the city a tall smiley guy named Jim is my next host and leads me to his parking so I leave my bike there safe and dry. Can I have a better host than him there? Probably not as he then offers to show me around in his van. We go up to Monte Naranco which offers an overview of Oviedo from the West. Nice! Thanks to Jim, here's yours truly at the monument of Sagrado Corazon:

The size of me gives you an idea of the statue's size. Then we visit the 10th century church of San Miguel de Lillio:

Similar in age but different in shape is the nearby Church of Santa Maria del Naranco:

We left this nice area to head back to the city. On the way I noticed that the signs reading "Oviedo" were edited by locals with black spray paint deleting "Oviedo" and writing "Uvieu" instead. I ask Jim about it and he tells me that its how locals call the city. I told him that I noticed around Spain this tension of people to show off their local id as the most important up to the point of being offended being called Spaniards instead. As our chat was leading to conflicts of separatism mentality Jimmy was shaking his head up and down to my opinions as a big "YES" but it looked to me as if there was something more behind this. He unveils it without hesitation: "I was in Yugoslavia for 2 years as a UN soldier during the conflicts in the 90s". The experience this uneducated super friendly guy got from this has made him wiser than a bus of professors combined and offered him 2 full albums of pictures that he keeps at home speaking for themselves.

We are already outside his favourite bar though so it's time to keep ourselves busy with something more pleasant. Jim orders a local drink and the barman serves it on the glass while holding the bottle as high as he could without looking at the "target". Impressed by the talent I try this thing called Sidra which looks like pee but tastes much better. Actually I don't now how pee tastes but this one was fine so I was honest when I said yes to Jim's question if I like it. He then puts some in another glass, this time without the barman's technique and says "try this one now". I say "I still have some in my glass thanks". He insists that it is different without the proper way of serving so I give it a try. Well, yes, this time looks like pee and tastes like one. I guess...

We started our Sidras like this:

and after a bunch of glasses the kind offers of food from the bar made it looks like this:

I am glad to see the only place abroad so far that has the same trend as some places in Greece: the more you drink the more advanced the food offered becomes. In quality and quantity.

Did I say that Jim is the coolest host I could have? Well, as I return from the toilet where I had just left a sea of Sidras I go to pay for both of us and Jim says "I did it already". I tell him that I should as he's been showing me around way above his AirBnb obligations but he insists. He adds "I'm on AirBnB for the people not for the money". Yes, there's still a bit of humanity left around - what a top guy.

Tired but happy I drop on my bed with a full stomach and a full head of nice images and talks. Fuel for dreaming before I continue West the next morning.

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