Saturday, 24 June 2017

Tuesday, Wednesday 20th & 21st June

1 in 3 downhill section, wet and slippery
Too difficult to cycle so we walked

Exterior of Oviedo monastery

Carving of St Teresa of Avila
with St John of the Cross to the left

Tuesday 20th June - Llanes to Gijon

We rode from our hotel at Llanes towards tonight’s stop at Gijon. This was probably the most beautiful day in terms of scenery, passing along te coastline and some amazing beeches.  Most of our track there was on wet sand (which is much easier to cycle on than dry).

Slightly off our route at one point, a small enclosure of sheep with a large dog guarding them - also inside the pen!   Fr Michael judged that he was a friendly dog so we went and introduced ourselves, at which the dog seemed very happy (I bet no one would dare touch the sheep though!)

We also had to contend with electric fences, pushing the bikes through narrow gaps was a shocking experience as some found, compared to lifting them over.  Our lunch break attracted the attention of some police officers who didn't appreciate our parking   So we politely offered to move the van and all was well.

Suitably refuelled we made the remaining 28 miles in good time, stopping at Selorio just before arriving at Gijon, so that we could load the bikes into the van before arriving at this busy town.  The other mis-hap of the day was a worrying noise from Mike Carney’s brakes.  Whilst lacking the mechanical expertise of our missing Mick Claridge, I had luckily brought a can of brake-cleaner which solved the problem.

Wednesday 21st June Gijon to Tapia de Casariego

We started the day with a detour by van to the amazing cathedral and museum at Oviedo. This reputedly became the centre of Spanish Christianity after the first Persian invasion of Jerusalem.  Many relics and treasures were rescued and brought to a cave near here, and later to the cathedral when it was constructed. The wealth and splendour of the place shows how closely church and state were tied at that time, as does the long list of nobility associated with church building.

Today was also intended to double as a rest-day, so we only rode 16 miles having spent a fair time at Oviedo. We managed to get split up at one point, the front rider having gone a bit too far to wait in shade, as the others flew by un-noticed.  We all have working mobile phones this year, and as a result were quickly able to re-unite.  The only mishaps were minor, firstly a young boy who thought it was a good idea to kick and follow a football across the road.  Luckily no harm done.

Then towards the end of or ride we attracted police attention again, this time for overtaking slow lorries on a main road.  After following us for a while to make his point, the officer carried on without further incident.

Meeting up with the van for the final stop was very easy now, as we had worked out how to share each others' positions thanks to Google and the lack of EU roaming charges.  So we can now watch each others' movements, and decided it was well worth the breach of privacy.

Mike Burton