Good bye Asturias

We have a couple more appointments before we can leave Asturias.

First, we go and visit Kike at his house in Dolia. Not having his exact coordinates, we start to ask for him in a bar about 5 km before Grau (Grado). “Kike of Dolia? He lives just outside Grau, but it’s hard to find. Go to Grau and ask again.” So when we arrive in Grau, we stop by the side of the road to ask some women who stand chatting in a garden. But before I get to the women, the Guardia Civil has got to the van, because two of our wheels were over the white line! I go back to the van and ask them about Kike. They are very friendly, and after a few phone calls they have got Kike on the phone who instructs them to lead us to the cemetery, from where he will pick us up. So off we go with an escort, with flashing blue lights. The women in the garden have stopped their conversation and come out onto the road to watch the Happening.

It seems we are the excitement of the day, because within 10 minutes, we have all three different types of police cars passing by and stopping. But we are in the care of our two young and  friendly policemen who explain the situation to their colleauges.

They stay with us the 15 minutes until Kike and Ana Clara arrive, and we chat about this and that. It turns out one of them is a Rugby fan and would love to come to Cardiff to watch a game. So we exchange emails.

When Kike arrives, the conversation continues, and we experience first hand the importance of knowing someone who knows someone. I may be wrong, because the talking is so fast I only get parts of it, but it seems to me they are discussing who they might know who might know someone who knows the other, and they establish that Kike knows the grandfather of one of the policemen. So the world is in order again, and good byes are accompanied by hearty slaps on the back. We pile into Kike’s car and speed up the hill to enjoy an evening at his house, meeting his daughter, his 6 dogs and his wild boar which he keeps in an enclosure and he dares us to come and help feed them. We prefer to stay outside the cage and watch him instead – it’s a rather large male boar with his harem and children, and with very long tusks! Kike and Ana Clara are very hospitable, and we pass the evening chatting and sharing a meal.

 

The next day, we meet our friend Mada once more, who travels a few miles together with a fisherman  friend of hers to meet us on a beautiful beach, where we share a lovely afternoon and evening. We go for a bracing swim in the roiling sea, followed by a lovely expansive meal in our van, with the stove heating the van and roasting chestnuts, while the Firewok is grilling Monica and Txema’s vegetables outside.

That night, we have our first unfriendly encounter with the police who rudely awake us at around midnight and asks us what part of a no entry sign do we not understand to have come and parked right by the beach? Ok, we asked for it, ignoring the sign, but we thought it’s out of season and no-one’s here….

Anyway, we are chased off in a hurry and manage to forget that one part of our firewok was stored underneath the van… we find it the next morning in a rather mangled condition :-(

We tell ourselves it could have been worse – they could have fined us – but still, it leaves a sour taste, after so many really nice encounters.

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The following day, Kike collects us to go and meet Jesùs who owns a riding stable at Lamuña. We are in luck, we can go on a horse ride that morning! What a joy to experience the landscape from the back of a horse! We ride through pine forests, through Eucalyptus plantations (I know they are bad for the land, but they do smell very nice!), through chestnut woodlands, through meadows, and for a little while up a stream! The sun is shining and it’s pretty hot: 28º. Perfect for our last day in Asturias!

Little do we know that the weather is closing in on us (ever since we have crossed the border into Galicia, it’s been cold, wet and windy…)

 

The day closes with a shared meal with Kike and Ana Clara outside our van in the setting sun, where we return their hospitality and cook for them. Kike takes it upon himself to straighten out the mangled grill from the firewok and does a pretty good job, while muttering about lack of tools, and if we’d only rung him in the morning about it, he would have brought his blow torch and anvil and special hammer and tongs etc etc.

Just before leaving, he makes a very moving speech, almost in the style of our Georgian friends, on the strength of chance meetings and developing friendships, and mutual desires for a more ecological approach to the planet. He blesses our journey onwards and hopes to meet us again somewhere some time.

 

For more photos of this chapter, go to https://www.flickr.com/photos/126714897@N05/sets/72157648720240410/

To contact Jesùs, go to http://www.aventurasacaballo.com

He offers short rides as well as longer ones, along the various ‘Caminos’ of the region: Camino Real de la Mesa, Camino de Santiago etc.


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