Our Initial Retirement Trip – Part Thirty Seven

Friday 10th January – Wildcamping Location – Ribadeo – Aviles – Gijon (90 Miles)


Another fantastically quiet night, apart from the glorious sounds of the sea that is !! We awoke again totally refreshed and a little earlier this morning, it was only 09:15 !! Again we sat in bed with our coffee, the bedroom blinds fully open, and we sat just looking out at the waves roll in then break into white surf before crashing onto the rocks. We both could have stayed here longer, but we are very conscious of not wanting to be seen to overstay our welcome, and perhaps spoil it for those following in our tyre tracks.

We got up and prepared ‘Big Momma’ for moving on. I certainly wasn’t going to attempt to go back out the way we came in, which ‘Snoopy’ was directing us to do, I chose to ignore her and go with my gut instinct. This payed off as we found a much easier route out and would need to remember this for the time in the future when we would return, we both had said that we would return to this very welcoming, friendly and peaceful part of the Northern Spanish Coast.

So today’s itinerary was to travel to the ‘coastal’ town of ‘Ribadeo‘, not to stay, just to look around and perhaps pick up a carton of ‘UHT’ milk. It was not a long journey, we entered the very busy town and found a convenient ‘car park’ that had more than enough space to accommodate ‘Big Momma’. This didn’t initially look like a ‘tourist’ resort but the array of signs advertising the direction of a number of hotels and then the ‘tourist tat’ shops confirmed that it was. It wasn’t a pretty town as such, we had seen much better, but it wasn’t unpleasant either and we spent a little bit of time just meandering through the streets. There was a harbour and a Marina but we didn’t venture that far, primarily because of the hill we would have had to walk back up had we have done so !! On the way back we called in to a quite large local Supermarket to get our carton of ‘UHT’ milk and also came out with a ‘few‘ other items, namely more supplies of the local falling over juice !!

Our next scheduled night stop would be in the town of ‘Aviles‘, our guide book stated that it was parking at a ‘Restaurant’ that also had ‘Motorhome Services’. Getting out of Ribadeo caused us no problems and as it was conveniently located next to the A8 ‘Toll Free’ Motorway we were soon speeding our way on some beautiful smooth road, and with ‘Cruise Control’ set, it was sit back and just enjoy the magnificent scenery. Our ‘road map’ showed part of thus Motorway ‘Under Construction’, it wasn’t, it was finished !! ‘Snoopy’s’ mapping didn’t know that so it showed us driving over green fields and ‘Snoopy’ was having a bit of a ‘fit’ to say the least. We just ignored her remonstrations of “Turn Right”, “Turn Left“, “At the next opportunity do a ‘U’ turn“, at any moment I expected to see ‘smoke’ pouring out of her before bursting into flames and disintegrating on the dashboard, we turned the volume on the iPod up a bit louder and just ignored her !!

We arrived at Aviles and because of some new road layouts we took the wrong turn off one of the roundabouts and ended up doing a ‘three-point turn’ on a narrow, but busy, outer suburb road !! We got back onto the right road but only to discover that the ‘Restaurant’ car park was full with cars !! It did have one of those ‘Blue & White’ Motorhome Services signs at the entrance but there was no way we could have entered the car park, let alone turn around in it if we had decided to try, and where the ‘Service Point’ was, well that was anyone’s guess !! We had no option, the queue of cars behind us meant we had to keep going, but that led to a narrow ‘out of town’ road that just kept getting narrower !! We pulled over, we re-programmed ‘Snoopy’ to take us to ‘Gijon‘. We had planned to visit ‘Gijon’ tomorrow, oh well, what’s that I said about needing to be flexible ? This is where ‘Snoopy’ decided to take revenge for me ignoring her earlier !! Oh yes, she took us out of Aviles alright, via narrow, twisting country roads, ‘the bitch’ !!

Eventually, she led us back to the sanctuary of the wide, three-laned Motorway and at last my ‘bum cheeks’ could relax once more !! But not for long, to get to our next ‘tolerated’ parking place in Gijon I had to drive through the centre of this very large, very busy, three-lane, one way, sprawling city centre that had a fetish for traffic lights, pedestrian crossings and roundabouts, and of course the now common place occurrence of drivers who say,  ‘I will just abandon my car in the middle of this busy city street’ !! I have never heard one person say as many “Hail Mary’s” so fast, I am thinking of nominating our Shazza for an entry in the ‘Guinness Book of Records” !! I may even get her to nominate me for the amount of ‘squeaky noises‘ that bum cheeks can make !!

We arrived at our car park, our ‘Tolerated’ parking place. How can I describe in words this wonderous place for this is no ‘run of the mill’ car park. This is a ‘upper class’ car park with its neatly pruned six-foot high hedges, its decorative lamp posts that adjoin and give direct access to a beautifully maintained and landscaped ‘public’ park, adorned with Palm trees. This park that gives direct access via well maintained footpaths and cycle paths to a wide and beautiful promenade which extends right around the ‘horseshoe’ harbour and beach for a distance of three miles !! This city has what you may call a ‘Cosmopolitan’ feel, similar to London, Venice, Paris, Barcelona and I dare say many more. It is lined with streets that would take days to explore !! We have just one, for we are in urgent need of some ‘Motorhome Services’, another one of those places that will be added to our ‘Must Return To’ list !! However, we do still have a few hours to explore the long promenade, and explore we did, our walk covered a distance of 6.5 miles !! Hopefully the photographs will give you just a small taster of what we experienced !! We stopped on our return ‘leg’ for a well deserved coffee at one of the numerous Cafe/Bars that fronted the Promenade and used their ‘free’ WiFi to catch up with Emails, download some photographs into my blog and then get one of them published, I still have two pre-drafted ‘posts’ to publish but they will have to wait for another ‘WiFi’ opportunity somewhere else along our route !

The views on the drive along the A8 Motorway were just stunning !!

The views on the drive along the A8 Motorway were just stunning !! Can you imagine a UK major Motorway being as quiet as this, unless it is closed !!

I took this photo stood at the door of 'Big Momma' from where we were parked at the 'Tolerated' place.......very nice !!

I took this photo stood at the door of ‘Big Momma’ from where we were parked at the ‘Tolerated’ place…….very nice !!

Just one of the many views from the promenade, just a few minutes walk from where we were parked !!

Just one of the many views from the promenade, just a few minutes walk from where we were parked !!

I took this photograph from the 'Promenade', what you can see across the other side of the horseshoe bay is the end of the Promenade !!

I took this photograph from the ‘Promenade’, what you can see across the other side of the horseshoe bay is the end of the Promenade !! You can just make out on the top of the headland some sort of structure ? See the later Photo of me stood under it

The beautiful and wide promenade which stretched all the way around the bay !! Thanfully there were plenty of places to stop for 'sustenance' along the way !!

The beautiful and wide promenade which stretched all the way around the bay !! thankfully there were plenty of places to stop for ‘sustenance’ along the way !!

Their were plenty of people taking a stroll, jogging, skate boarding, cycling, walking dogs. It just had a very nice feel about the place !!

Their were plenty of people taking a stroll, jogging, skate boarding, cycling, walking dogs. It just had a very nice feel about the place !! Notice the High Rises to the Left, Apartments, Hotels, Bars, Shops, Restaurants and all along this stretch there were streets running off with more of the same ! This isn’t even the ‘City Centre’ so plan on a good 2-3 days here !!

And of course it has a beach !

And of course it has a beach !

I thought the bird was part of the monument until Shazza pointed out that it was a 'real' pigeon !!  "Should have gone to Specsavers" !!

I thought the bird was part of the monument until Shazza pointed out that it was a ‘real’ pigeon !!
“Should have gone to Specsavers” !!

And I thought that this was the end of the 'Shazza Expedition', it was the other end of the Promenade but oh no ! Shazza needed to climb up to see what the monument was on the hill

And I thought that this was the end of the ‘Shazza Expedition’, it was the other end of the Promenade but oh no ! Shazza needed to climb up to see what the monument was on the hill ! Remember the one I pointed out in an earlier photo ?

YES !! The monument at the top of the hill !! It actually marked some historical battlements, the  foundations of which still exist but you will have to come and see them for yourself, they are very interesting and it does make a nice walk, honest ! Okay so there may be a slight hill............!!

YES !! The monument at the top of the hill !! It actually marked some historical battlements, the foundations of which still exist but you will have to come and see them for yourself, they are very interesting and it does make a nice walk, honest ! Okay so there may be a slight hill To climb ……… !!

Oh yes ! Then there was the walk back !!

Oh yes ! Then there was the walk back !!

But not before a bit of sightseeing......well now we are here I suppose ?

But not before a bit of sightseeing……well now we are here I suppose ?

Did I see boat masts ?

Did I see boat masts ?

Oh yes ! Back to the sightseeing !!

Oh yes ! Back to the sightseeing !!

And this led to streets full of Bars, Cafés & Restaurants, and on another day we may have frequented one.........?

And this led to streets full of Bars, Cafés & Restaurants, and on another day we may have frequented one………?

Shazza, what about taking a look over here ? .......... What do you mean They are only boats !!

Shazza, what about taking a look over here ? ………. What do you mean They are only boats !!

When we returned to ‘Big Momma’ we saw another Motorhome entering the car park, some company for ‘Big Momma’. It did a circuit and it looked as if they were not sure whether they could park here. I noticed that it was a ‘Spanish’ registered van and as it approached to where we were parked I gave them a friendly wave. When the van pulled up the male solo driver wound down his window and we engaged in short but very pleasant ‘Spanglish’ conversation. We settled down for the evening’ tired from our walk but feeling all the better for it. The car park emptied and I settled down to draft out today’s activities for the next blog ‘post’ and to bring an end to another ‘interesting’ day on ‘Big Mommas Great Adventure’

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9 Responses to Our Initial Retirement Trip – Part Thirty Seven

  1. John Strange says:

    Hello both, looking good! When are you back for the ‘interview’?

    • We sail from Bilbao this Thursday :0( arrive Portsmouth Friday. Interview next Wednesday !! You never know, we may not cut the mustard and have to return to Europe :0) How is everything with you and the family ?

  2. jean says:

    Hi guys, I have only just been following your blog for the past week or so – thanks for the pics of Gijon – we know this coast but not that far west. As I haven’t read all your posts, I don’t know for what reason you are returning to England?
    One day we hope to do just what you are doing – in a rather smaller van! We will probably begin with a couple of months away in winter. We had a van for over 3 years to see if we liked it, and we loved it! We know it would be even better when you get more than two weeks’ holiday! What I mean is….we are so envious! Good on you guys for selling up and going for the dream! Looking forward to reading about your travels in the future.
    jean

    • Hi Jean, the size of van does not matter, as long as it suits you !! We will have been away for 3 months, believe me, it is not long enough and you will find the same I am sure. Glad you are enjoying the blog, although this part of the adventure is coming to a close :0( I am not sure whether to keep writing the blog, will anyone be that interested in what we do in the UK ?? Some soul searching to do I think !!

      • jean says:

        Yes, please do keep up the blog! Are you going to do touring in England now?

        • We will see what the outcome of our Interviews are with the Assistant Wardens jobs. If we get the jobs we could be working by the end of March so we will tour UK until then. If we don’t get the jobs then we will stay in the UK until April for Van Service/MOT/Tax then back on the ferry to Europe !!

      • jean says:

        Ah yes, guys, I just read in the blog that you are returning to go to your jobs with the Caravan Club on the site…yes, do write the blog, and I will follow it, but will be more interested still when you get back into Europe!
        jean

  3. Debs says:

    Wow what a gorgeous place. ..you have had a busy few days…its been great reading all about it 🙂

    • Tinged with some sadness as we started to count the days to the ferry back :0( But we have had a great time and the adventure isn’t ending, it is just continuing but in a different place !!

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