There’s a lot to see and do in the Spanish province of Asturias, as evidenced by how much we have to write about! Continuing along with our collection of posts about coastal Asturias – read Part 1 right here – we’re on to Part 2 with visits to Gijón and Salinas.
We had friends in town from both Mexico (Hi, Devlin!) and Seville (Hi, Pepe!), as well as another friend who was spending his summer traveling along the northern coast of Spain, surfing as much as he possibly could (Hi, Ivan!).
For your bearings, enjoy a map courtesy of ye olde Google.
With all these folks around, we thought, “Why not drive less than a half-hour north to the coast and get together for some time in the sun and some good food and drink?”
This is the largest city in all of Asturias, with around 275,000 beach-loving residents. It’s an industrial center with a huge port, but also a mecca for sun seekers and surf addicts.
Our plan here was just to hang out near the beach, walk around, and eat well. As we do. We clocked our kilometers around the city, but that didn’t stop us from soaking in the sun with drinks in-hand.
I didn’t get a ton of photos in Gijón, mainly because the goal was relaxation and time with friends. And sometimes, you just don’t take as many pictures. Crazy, right?
We also spent a great deal of time looking for some restaurant that was recommended to us, only to find that it no longer existed. That meant we got lost quite a bit, but who cares because, well, we had nothing better to do! It provided a free, nighttime, scenic tour of the city instead.
We eventually made our way to another restaurant. Our pal who shall remain unnamed swore it was only a few minutes away. Thirty or so minutes later – probably longer – we made it there. Weary and walked-out and thirsty and hungry.
Pepe and Ivan immediately set out to try their hand at a traditional pour of Asturian cider. Not bad, we say, although not as crafty as the pros.
Pepe won for reaching the third story, high and tight. Good style points. Ivan, on the other hand, used his height advantage to convince himself that he didn’t need to reach for the sky.
Weak on style points, only getting up to the second floor here. But, he definitely won in the “I don’t care, I just want to drink it” category. And, as we all know, that category counts for quite a lot.
Once a table freed up, we got to sit down and order way too much food, our tired bodies and starved stomachs making us think we were hungrier than we were.
Fortunately for us, our Ye-who-shall-not-be-named-due-to-making-us-walk-for-days was spot-on with the recommendation, as this restaurant had some insanely delicious Asturian fare.
Those big brown pieces of whatever, up there in those scrambled eggs and potatoes? Yeah, that’s a couple massive pieces of foie gras. Mmmmmm.
What a treat. A tasty, stomach-exploding, late-night treat. After dinner, we of course had to ask a stranger to take a photo of all of us together. And naturally, that photo came out awful. Nonetheless, gotta show the posse!
Asking a stranger to take your photo is basically saying: Can you please embarrass us with images that we probably shouldn’t share with anyone, and taint our memories forever? Also, can you please mishandle my phone, get fingerprints everywhere, and accidentally take 23 of the same photo because you seem to only understand how the photo button works on your own phone, but no one else’s?
Also, why do you appear to be standing on a step, when you’re shorter than everyone in our group? What is happening?
Okay, rant over. But I know you know exactly what I’m talking about! Anyway, a memory is a memory. And sometimes, you just have to accept the faults in order to get something.
Also, you sometimes and apparently just have to create your own Abbey Road for no reason at all.
After all of that ridiculousness, we spent more time walking along the boardwalk at night, checking out the views and taking in the sea air.
While we didn’t do a whole lot in Gijón, we had a great time hanging out with our friends and having endless strolls around the city. And while we tend to prefer smaller cities these days, it’s a great place to get that beach-and-city vibe together as one.
It’s definitely worth a return visit one day, as it deserves more than just a random afternoon and evening of tomfoolery.
We also spent two different days in the beach town of Salinas, to the west of Gijón. There were festivities afloat, specifically the Salinas International Longboard Festival and a film festival. This meant plenty of surfing, bands, food trucks, and more. All in this small beach town that’s a major center for surfers everywhere.
The first day we went, the weather was simply awful. Typically temperamental Asturian weather meant a lot of the festival activities had to be cancelled or delayed. And, hence the lack of people in the above photo.
Everyone seemed to be hiding on the other side of the cove, waiting out the weather in tents and beach bars.
Fortunately for us, the second day we went was the complete opposite. Sunshine everywhere, happy people smiling, and surfers getting their groove on.
What a difference a day makes.
The scenery here is breathtaking, with rocks jutting out at all sorts of angles next to the beach area, with towering cliffs overlooking the coast beyond that.
Salinas is also home to the Philippe Cousteau Anchor Museum, which features anchors and other memorabilia from shipwrecks and famous boats scattered around the rocks and beach areas.
We took our time here, watching surfers and slowly eating and drinking our way through as many of the delicious food-truck offerings as we could.
There were so many food trucks around, we weren’t sure where to start and where to end. So, we just sort of dove in and went nuts. Slowly, but still.
And some of the most delicious Italian treats one would ever find…
I unfortunately misplaced their card, but this particular food truck is owned by some former Michelin star restaurant cooks. They are crazy passionate about what they do, and it shows in their hand-crafted work. Also, they were so incredibly nice and happy to chat, that we left and realized later that they hadn’t charged us for our meal!
It was definitely a mistake, caught up in happy times, so we returned a couple hours later to remind them that they never got paid. The chaos of the day caused them to forget, and they were obviously happy that honesty wins out in the end.
I wish I could promote all of these guys. So, if you stumble across this post somewhere in the ether, and you know who they are, please let us know in the comments.
Also in the zone were the fine folks from Vans, who had a shop set up to give free haircuts and bicycle maintenance. Both Devlin and Pepe got their sprouting scalps cleaned up, Vans style.
We also won a free shirt from them for posting the photo on Instagram. How about that.
After a couple of whirlwind days of relaxing and hanging out with friends, it was time to get back to work and life in Oviedo. We had no idea that the festivities were going on in Salinas, so thanks to Pepe for knowing all about it and taking us along for the ride.
It was also nice to see our friends from Spain and the other side of the globe, and spend some quality time together. Good times, indeed.
Want more? Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, and Flickr.
Have you ever been to Gijón or Salinas? If so, what’d you think? If not, what say ye? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!