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June 2011

Corpus Christi flower carpets in Castropol, Asturias

Corpus Christi flower carpets

Last Thursday was Corpus Christi and in Spain they celebrate this by decorating the streets. All sorts of materials are used - rice husks, wood shavings, coffee, flower petals, Eucalyptus nuts, scallop shells, reeds and sand.

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Castropol, a small village in Asturias about 20 minutes from the luxury self catering accommodation at Granero del burro, Galicia, Northern Spain, is famous for its Corpus Christi flower carpets. Last Sunday in the baking heat, hundreds of people flocked to see these works of art. You can also see last year's street carpets in Ribadeo here.

Castropol

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Gijon - Asturias

San Lorenzo beach - Gijon
If you are visiting Northern Spain then a place not to miss is the largest city in Asturias - Gijon. It is nearly 2 hours from the luxury self catering accommodation at Granero del burro, near Trabada, but if you are flying to Asturias airport then it is only half an hour from there. You could always stay there overnight on your way in or out of Northern Spain.

A nice hotel to stay in is the Hotel Arena at the eastern end of the playa San Lorenzo. This is the huge beach right in the centre of Gijon and it stretches for what seems like miles! There is a promenade which stretches the whole length of the beach so you can walk, run, skateboard, cycle or rollerblade on the special track for non walkers! The beach ends at Cimavilla which is the old town of Gijon.

Elogio del Horiconte

If you walk up the hill through the old town you come across the well known  sculpture “Elogio del Horiconte” from Eduardo Chillida. It is an impressive concrete structure. There are also the remnants of defense batteries dating back to the 1870's. The views of the city from here are fantastic. A couple of good restaurants in Cimavilla are La Galana, next to the Plaza Mayor, and La Mar de Bien, which is up the hill a bit.

At the other end of San Lorenzo beach it is a bit quieter and a bit more modern. There is a wonderful path that snakes around the rocky coastline for miles and you pass an impressive sculpture called 'La madre de los inmigrantes'. There is also a nice bar called Tostadero which has great comfy seats for relaxing in!

La madre de los inmigrantes - Gijon

If you manage to survive all this then another place worth a visit are the Botanical Gardens. They are very impressive with 4 main gardens. There is a nice place to eat, a plant shop, and several miles of pathways through beautiful natural woodlands and gardens. There is something to see at all times of the year.

 


Walking in Asturias - Pesoz

View of Pesoz
Pesoz is a beautiful little village in the Asturian hills about 1 hours' drive from Granero del burro. Click here for a map of Pesoz. There is a wonderful round walk which takes about 4 hours (walking slowly) and meanders its way up and down the hills and along the river side in the valley bottom. Click here for a map of the walk.

River near Pesoz

On the way back to Pesoz there is the Molino de Sequeiros which is a beautiful old mill next to the river. Inside it is still intact and next to it is a beautiful plunge pool which would be great for a Summer dip. There is even a picnic table here!

Molino de Sequeiros

When you get back to Pesoz there is a fantastic little restaurant called As Cortes which serves great traditional food at very low prices. Last Saturday, the Menu del dia was €12 each!! After a late lunch you can visit the abandoned village of Argul nearby. There are only about a dozen houses and most of them were abandoned many years ago. A few have been restored but it is both a sad and interesting place.

Argul

If you want to make it a really full day you can then go and have a look at the dam at Grandas de Salime. There were some Crag Martins nesting under the dam wall and a pair of Choughs overhead. It is hugely impressive and you can see all the remnants of the buildings that were built during its construction. There is a nice bar nearby to have a drink at the end of the day.

Dam at Grandas de Salime