Santa Maria del Naranco, Spain ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ 2019

Date: 24th July 2019

Travelled: 103 kilometres from Llantres to Aviles

 Visited: Santa Maria del Naranco and Playa Salinas

Stayed: Playa Salinas, free. T+B N43.57756, W05.95631

Budget: 45 days @ โ‚ฌ90 per day

We drive out of Llantres and follows the GPS instructions to the A8 and continue on to Oviedo. Itโ€™s a small city in reality, itโ€™s industrial area spreading 10 kms from the Centro. Our guide book highly recommends visiting the hillside churches of Santa Maria del Naranco and San Miguel de Lillo, overlooking Oviedo.

We arrive early enough to have our breakfast before walking up the hill to the first church. Our original plan was to spend half an hour visiting the churches before going into Oviedo and having a wander in town. But…

The guide book calls Santa Maria del Naranco the greatest Church in Asturias. It was completed in 842.

I can only say we were underwhelmed.

Firstly we arrive to find we can only see the church, which is in reality a ruin, as part of a group. OK, we pay โ‚ฌ3pp and wait on one side as instructed. We seem to be set aside with a number of non-Spanish people. Other groups form and go inside we wait for 20 minutes or more. Our guide arrives tells us we should wear sunscreen and have a hat and be careful of trip hazards, she then lights up a cigarette. You can tell where this is going ? Eventually our guide walks us up the hill to the church of San Miguel de Lillo, the second ruined church on the site. Our guide then speaks in Spanish for 20 minutes, as half the group who cannot understand Spanish look at each other. The funny bit is the other half of our group are deaf and a person stands next to the guide is relaying her spiel in sign. So we all stand in the shade waiting for some information in English. Eventually I interrupt her and ask if any of this tour is in English, she tells me no.

The ruin of the church of San Miguel de Lillo, original a royal chapel circa 8th century. Only half of its original footprint remains, and we cannot see inside as itโ€™s being restored. Our guides still talked about it for 30 minutes ! Mind you she could have been reading MacBeth for all we knew.

By the time we return to the ruin of Santa Maria del Naranco and spend another 40 minutes listening to this woman, we can hardly wait to pull the rip-cord. But they lock you inside the church until the spiel is over. The church is a ruin, none of the frescos are actually visible. You may well have guessed we will not be recommending this tour to anyone we like.

By now its mid-afternoon, and getting hotter by the minute. Our plans of spending the morning walking Oviedo long gone.

Trying to put a wasted morning behind us we drive on the Aviles. There is a proper aire service point here, but no shade. We continue on 4 kms to the beach-side suburb of Salinas.

The camper stop in Salinas is a huge carpark behind the beach which looks a bit ordinary to be honest, so we venture further into town finding 50+ motorhomes and campers parked along the edge of the road behind the beach, so we find ourselves a spot. Chatting to our neighbour he tells us a festival starts here tomorrow and the local authority set aside this street for camper-cars, they even install drop-in toilets and wash facilities opposite. We introduce ourselves Midget and Gidget from Byron Bay and chat about our last gnarly ride and the great white that bit Gidgetโ€™s board in half. So we go to the beach for a couple of hours, have a nap, get the BBQ out and relax the remainder of the evening away. All the following photos are taken the next morning.

We walk up the beach and around the headland, finding this unusual piece. The mist came back as you can tell.

Anyway that was Playa Salinas…time to pack the Hymer for our next adventure.

Michael and Pam

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