Beach day! But first we we want to share those harbor views with the boys so in the morning we stroll back out to the breakwater’s end, stopping en route to read local Asturian history in some bluff-side paintings and to watch the fishermen reeling in big baitfish. Then we climb a few hundred feet up to the bluff above where we can see it’s going to be a great beach day. The sun is already scalding, so we keep moving, finding shade where we can on our way back down to the flat.
There we don our swim suits, gather towels toys and cold water, then hop in the golf for the short drive across the bridge to the broad beach at the River Sella’s mouth. The Bay of Biscay is cold but bearable – Santa Cruz temperatures, with 3’ swells providing great body surfing. The boys stay for a few hours until the chill drives them out… sun baked they return for more. It’s a perfect family day at the beach.
Back home and hungry we tour the restaurant options, settle on the family-friendly place below our flat, and share salads, scallops and a local specialty chocobo – a cholesterol bomb of veal wrapped in ham and cheese, then breaded and deep-fried. No wonder these basques are stouter than their Catalan cousins. We’ll work it off during our River Sella paddle tomorrow…
Monday we’re up and out around 10:30 for the short stroll down to our outfitter’s office. There they hurriedly pack us into a van and off we trundle to the put-in at Arridonales. Now we understand the hurry – it appears every school in northern Spain is on the river today, and our guide service rightly wants to get us on the river ahead of the hordes.
(Editor’s note: Here’s Max’s description of our paddle…)
Today we went kayaking along the river Sella. The kayak outfitters drove us up to the launch point where we were surprised to find several very large groups of school kids, ranging from middle school to college. Our driver rushed us to the front, shoved us into kayaks, and pushed us down a ramp into the river. We quickly paddled downriver in an effort to get away from the kids, only to run into even more groups. For a half hour or so we paddled through masses of inexperienced paddlers splashing their way down, or sometimes up, river. After we eventually cleared the kids, we enjoyed some nice floating time down river, enjoying watching other people crash and get stuck in the shallow sections that only we seemingly knew how to avoid. Once we got to the pullout point. We loaded up in the van and returned to Ribadesella. From the kayak shop, we walked to the beach where we enjoyed some peaceful wave time. After an hour or so it looked as if it was going to rain so we packed our bags and walked back to the apartment. We did some homework and had dinner inside as we looked out our window and enjoyed the thunderstorm that we had predicted earlier at the beach.
Thanks Max. With half a day left we returned to downtown Ribadesella then walked across the bridge and along the Sella’s riverbank to its sandy mouth, where the boys snuck in another hour or two of bodysurfing. We haven’t seen enough of Asturias, and must race through Cantabria tomorrow en route to Basque country… this quiet Green Coast deserves more time, and we hope to return.