DAY 47. 23 JUNE 2016. SANTILLIANA DEL MAR TO AVILÉS.

 Back on the bus

Back on the bus

The taxi arrives to take us to Torrelevega bus station at 9.15am and Dad and Linda set off to sunny Salamanca and I catch up with emails and blog in bar with wifi until 12.45pm when I catch the bus back to Gijón. It's a very grey journey with low clouds and no mountain views, made more sultry by the anti-glare film on the bus windows.

A British couple behind me are squabbling because the weather is so grim. It is! This isn't the bit of Spain to visit for non-stop sun.

 Some glorious coal powered power stations en route.  

Some glorious coal powered power stations en route.  

Since I've already spent four nights in Gijón; I make a decision to escape the time-warp and travel to Avilés by bus. The motorway journey takes 30 minutes through a heavily industrialised landscape and I'm rather sad to miss the grit of the walk. We pass several coal-fired power-stations belching dramatic clouds of steam en route. However when I arrive I realise it was a good decision; it is the natural next stop on my journey and preserves the correct order in my Credential. I discover that Avilés is an interesting mix of old and new and the albergue is clean, well run and costs €6.

 Back to it.... 

Back to it.... 

But it's back to the bunks and men in skimpy underpants. An Italian chap moves into the bunk next to mine and starts a loud conversation about kilometres with a fellow Italian across the dorm. Mmm. 

I have a nice hot shower, do some washing and go to explore. First stop Centro Niemeyer; a cultural centre designed by the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer. It is reached by a dramatic Cor-ten steel bridge across the old docks and has splendid views of the belching power-station, coal depots, cranes and ships. This is an industrial city with chutzpah.

 A real bit of Modernism

A real bit of Modernism

Then I turn inland to the Old City with its marvellous arcades, cobbled streets and spacious squares. It's a University town with an art-school. I stop in an arcade bar for a beer and then a Pilgrim's meal for €9. Fabada bean stew followed by tortilla and pudding with a bottle of red wine. I only manage a couple of glasses.

 The Old Town fountain

The Old Town fountain

It's EU referendum night. There's lots of stuff flying around on the internet and I'm glad I'm a thousand miles away.

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