Saturday 02/07/2011 Gijón and Asturias

We’ve spent the last week exploring Gijón and Asturias with my Mum and her friend who came out to see us. Gijón is great; we’ve got a great spot in a lovely little marina by the old town, which is well sheltered and well equipped with good showers and wifi.

Gijón itself was heavily bombed during the Civil War, so some parts of it are not as pretty as they could be. This, along with large industrial docks on the other side of the bay might put you off, but once you’re actually in Gijón it’s a lovely city, and the surrounding countryside is beautiful too.

My Mum and I have been swimming from the town beach, and we’ve been eating like kings in the fish restaurants along the quay as well on Planet with yummy ingredients from the market.

Last week Gijón celebrated the festival of San Xuan, which coincides with Midsummer. On the night of 23rd June, huge bonfires were built along the main beach nearest the harbour, people dressed in traditional Asturian costume, played bagpipes and danced along the seafront.

Then as it got dark, the bonfires were lit, and at midnight a huge fireworks display started, followed by a big folk/rock concert on the beach while crowds of people danced around the fires.

In the end, Si and I wandered back to Planet and listened to music carrying across the water to our cockpit with a beer.

The only downside to our central location was that at around 6am this morning, when I woke anyway with the bright sunshine, there was a steady procession of revellers weaving along the quay next to our pontoon singing dubiously as they headed towards the sea for a swim. I have categorically never done that in my life.

The next day we headed to the gardens and park for a picnic and a laze on the grass in the sun. There was a little pond, and some geese and ducks, and we threw them the rest of our bread as we wandered home, marvelling at how friendly they seemed. Until one of them started chasing Simon (who deserved it after winding them up), and we passed a sign telling us in no uncertain terms NOT to feed the birds… Busted.

 

We also went further afield this week, and visited some of the coastal villages near Gijón.

We went back to Cudillero, our last stop on Planet before here, and had delicious lunch in the Plaza there, stopping at a few other pretty villages on the way there and back.

We also visited Lastres, a lovely village to the east of Gijón, and as it turns out the location for the Spanish version of Doc Martin. I kid you not.

I looked on YouTube, and it is called Doctor Mateo. You can see the opening credits here and a clip of Doctor Mateo arriving in the fictional San Martín del Sella (Lastres) here if you’re interested…

And finally, I got an email this week telling me that I’d passed my MA with distinction – a really lovely surprise!


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