Travelling the road less travelled on

2nd September 2021

We wake up well rested. The bed was excellent, we are ready to move again. Breakfast turns out a surprise. Not exactly up to par with the rest of the experience. Nevertheless, we also learn more about Spanish breakfast habits. They are quite different than those of us Dutchies. We call a taxi to get us to the car rental place. The driver gets us there in a flash. Two friendly ladies work the booth and before long we are ready to start our journey. One slight awkward moment when I can’t get the car driving because it’s on the handbrake. God knows where it is! Darn modern cars are all computerized. We call the lady, who points to a button on the centre consul that apparently functions as a handbrake. Okay then… Off we go! The dashboard screen in the car somehow knows how to connect to the google maps route I put into my phone. Actually quite nice, because the screen is much bigger than that of my mobile, but also a little creepy how it did that. We start the drive along the river Narcea which will also lead us to our destination: Cangas del Narcea. It’s a winding road and my mom is holding on to the door handle firmly. As I am slowly getting comfortable driving the rental car, my mom is, very slowly, getting comfortable experiencing these sometimes narrow and mostly windy roads. With on one side a glorious river, and the other steep mountain walls.

Entering Cangas del Narcea

Focus and relaxed driving-hands lead us to the oldest municipality in the Principality of Asturias, Spain. Finding a parking spot proves to be a bit of a challenge. After a (forced) scenic drive through town, we find a perfect spot in front of a grocery store. That will be handy cause now we don’t need to haul our groceries back to the car before we head off to our final destination of the day: the town of Besullo, 17km west of Cangas, further into the mountains.

As it turns out, we are parked very close to the center of town. We cross a foot bridge and have landed in a picturesque piece of history. Beautiful streets and houses crafted from local stone. Barely one flat road to be found. It’s all incline or decline, a bit of a challenge for my mom, but she braves all the steep roads. We ask a lady walking by where we can find a good place to eat, and we settle in one of the flat streets for a traditional Asturian meal: a thick hearty soup with potatoes and sausage. We add sardines fried in batter but realize we can barely add anything else to our stomachs by now. We take it, along with a fabulous round sourdough bread in a doggy bag, for later that night when we are at our lodgings.

After our meal, we meander satisfied through the streets, take in the views and delight in the fact that we are here. Time to head back to the car, get our groceries and meet up with Marie Paz, the owner of our rental, to guide us to our mountain home for the month. After we complete our groceries, have them loaded into the car, a parking surveillant walks by. My mom asks what he is doing. Turns out we have parked in a pay-parking area which I didn’t realize. Our timing is such, that we just received an educational lesson from the friendly man on how the parking system works here, and are able to drive off, fineless. The people who entered the super market the same time as us, weren’t as lucky…

Destination Besullo

Mary Paz meets us and we follow her to our destination. Pretty fast I see why she suggested she drive ahead of us. The road is steeper and windier then the ones we’ve had up till now. My mom dares only look straight ahead at this point. If she’d look to the right, she’d see the abyss below us. Way too scary. Meanwhile, I am getting more comfortable with the roads and want to ensure I don’t go to fast so as not to add more G-force to my mom’s experience. After 25 minutes we arrive at our destination: Besullo, an idyllic village with spectacular views. We park the car and bring our luggage inside. Fatigue is starting to set in and I am ready to relax. We unpack, make a fresh salad and eat the remainder of the fright sardines, which our oven did a grand job keeping crispy.

The night brings the sound of barking dogs, clinging cow bells and a mild breeze. We are ready to get our night’s rest.