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Day 22, Gijon to Cadavedo, More hills

Hotel Santa Rosa, great hotel, great breakfast and they liked my bicycle. Shame I didn't book them originally and save all the unpleasantness with the other hotel.

First objective of the day was to get out of Gijon as quickly as possible - more traffic lights to deal with.

The weather was grey and overcast, so I had my winter top on initially but it was warm and really muggy, so had to strip off straight away. The route had 900 metres of elevation, so my plan was to make the first 25km to Aviles, legs only, whilst I would be feeling fresh, and save battery.

Once out in the countryside and I'm cycling along and happen to glance down at google. Because it's in a waterproof bag on the top tube, you have to make a big head down, look at your feet to see it. Shock, the screen is blank except for a warning message saying it's lost location. My fault, I forgot to turn on roaming data before leaving the hotel so it was just navigating on the map loaded from the hotel wifi. Once corrected and it does a route calculation and damn, I've been going in the wrong direction. It wants me to go back and take a tiny country lane. This becomes a gravel, then more of a mud track. Not a good start to the day and all my fault. Just at that point I go past a stone yellow shell camino sign. What a coincidence. So back centuries ago, the pilgrims made the same mistake and forgot to enable data roaming, got lost and ended up on this trail.

I can see I'm headed for a road so think this is good, then see it's the motorway and realise it's bad. Don't know if I'm capable of lugging 3 tons of luggage over crash barriers and dodging the trucks. Fortunately there's a way to get on the ordinary main road and I'm back on tarmac. Phew! .

Aviles is massive, as well as a big industrial city, it's on a large estuary from the sea, on which there's an extended commercial port that goes on for miles with quite big ships berthed. It's not at all picturesque. Can't get excited about stopping, although legs are ready for a coffee, having been doing all the work. I press on in the hope there's somewhere nice just around the corner. There isn't!.

I'm now around 40km in and in need of a stop, whatever. Spy a roadside cafe at last, with tables outside for coffee and sandwich, Back to pointing at what turns out to be a very nice sandwich full of all sorts of stuff. Owner brings it out and asks me where I've come from.

When I told him England I got a big hug and a mouthful of spanish that I think was along the lines of you're an idiot. He gets out his car key and waves it around. I wasn't sure if he was offering to drive me to Portugal or telling me to ditch the bike and get a car. He wandered off shaking his head. Coffee and sandwich were very good though.

Main N632a is totally quiet, apart from occasional other cyclists. There's one occasion when a group of four guys go past on serious carbon aero bikes in matching lycra. I'm thinking as this is the middle of the morning mid-week, they could be professionals out on a training ride. They looked serious athletes, you know, big thighs. Anyway, they're soon in the distance so I assume I won't see them again, but they're held up by a red light. It stays red for ages, such that snail here finds himself coming right up behind them at the light and as I'm about 5m to go, the light goes green and I've probably got the momentum to go past them before they get going. I decide it might be construed as taking the p**s and keep behind.

It's just one hill after another, not many places, I'm just in countryside in a particularly empty part of the coast.

Lunch is looking problematic, it's now around 2pm and what places I do pass are closed for the winter. I finally find a cafe at 70km and go inside making the shoveling food in to my mouth sign. No, only a sandwich. That'll have to do. I get half a baguette filled with cheese and ham. It's a bit dry, but it's hitting the spot. For the first time I have a coca cola. Full fat jobby, I need the sugar and it comes with ice. It's seriously hot sat in the sun. Decide I need a pudding and see there's an ice cream sign on the wall with all the different options. Take ages to decide what to have, but get told there's only one thing left, a cornetto, so that will have to do. Followed by the usual coffee. This proves a great meal isn't about the content, it's about how desperate you are at the time.

Second half of this route has been perfect for a motorbike. Continual up and down and tight twisty bends, due to a succession of gorges cut in to the coast. Each time I'm going down I'm thinking, damn, I've got to come back up this. I look up and I see the railway line on like an arched viaduct to keep it flat. Way above that is the motorway on concrete pillars towering in the sky to keep it flat. What about me? Why don't I get to stay flat?

Finally arrived at Cadavedo, it's literally a few houses in the middle of nowhere. Except one of these houses is my amazing hotel. In France it would be called a chateau. It's another stunning moment. Can you believe it the owner's son, who is kind of running it, used to live and work in a pizza restaurant in Weymouth, then Bournemouth. So he spoke a bit of English. Checking in went on for a very long time.

Looking ahead there's bad weather coming in for the weekend so I'm starting to get confused as to where to go.

Distance today 83 km

Total so far 1816 km


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