I have had such an exciting couple of weeks! First, my cousin Hannah, who lives in Denver, made the trip out to visit us. After showing her the best of Gijon, we ventured out of town for a day trip from Gijon to Cudillero, a small, seaside village in Asturias that is known for fishing and tourism. It is also considered one of the most beautiful villages in Spain (according to it’s Wikipedia page) and while I haven’t been to nearly enough villages in Spain to make that call, it is really very lovely.
Cudillero has been on our list of must see places in Asturias and we figured Hannah’s visit was the perfect time to see it. We took the five minute walk over to the Gijon bus station and boarded the 9:30am bus to Cudillero. The hour and a half ride was broken up by a 30 minute stop in the city of Aviles, which is about midway. We had just enough time to walk to a cafe, have some coffee and delicious complimentary churros before hopping on the bus. It is very common in Asturias to be served a complimentary small croissant, cookie, or if you’re lucky, churros (!) with a coffee or juice order. With an alcoholic beverage or soda, you’ll likely receive potato chips, olives, nuts, perhaps a combo of all three or maybe even a small sandwich or other salty snack delight.
I had researched a bit about what to do in Cudillero before our trip, and that was, basically, walk to the bottom of the town and look up at how beautiful it is then walk to the top and look down at how beautiful it is, then eat seafood. We mixed the order (walking down, eating, walking up) and even added in an ocean wall walk.
There was no bus station, rather a covered stop, in Cudillero. Before the bus pulled away, we took our turn asking the bus driver (who we guessed by his mild annoyance, just answered the same question at least four times) when the return trips were and if we could purchase our ticket on the bus. He confirmed both and we breathed a little sigh of relief before descending the narrow, stone sidewalks that hugged the road, toward the sea. The views from the bottom of the town did not disappoint and we decided to grab a beer since we had a few hours before our 2:30 lunch reservation.
We sat and sipped our beer as we enjoyed the view and watched other day trippers walk by. We were not provided any salty delights and after two beers were feeling a bit jollier than expected for noon on a Thursday. We walked on down toward the marina and large seawall. We sat a spell near the water and watched a fisherman gut his fresh catch, throwing entrails toward the appreciative seagulls.
Our lunch reservations were at a Sidreria called Sidreria El Remo. What is a Sidreria? You might ask. Well, Sidra is Asturian hard cider. Unlike English or Irish hard cider, Asturian Sidra is not sweet but rather tart and a bit sour tasting. Full disclosure (which I am somewhat ashamed to admit); prior to Sidreria El Remo, Phil and I had only had sidra one other time since moving to Gijon. I’d read about sidra prior to our move and knew it was not sweet, that it should always be shared, and that it should always be poured (by someone who knows what they are doing) from the height of about a full arm’s reach to create a bit of natural aeration/carbonation. What I did not know, however, when we first tried it, is that what is poured should be drank in one go, immediately after hitting your glass. And well, my first impression of sidra was that it tasted like liquid blue cheese, and not in a good way. Phil and I knew we must try it again. If Asturians love the stuff, there must be a reason.
At Sidreria El Remo, we ordered sidra to accompany our delicious feast. Instead of pouring the sidra for customers themselves, some sidrerias have machines they set on the table that creates a similar carbonation effect as pouring from a great height does but frees up staff [presumably] and allows patrons to pour at their leisure as opposed to waiting for the camarero (waiter) to return. Below is a photo of the sidra pouring machine and a camarero pouring sidra. The camarero pictured is from La Galana in Gijon. The barrel-like pouring station serves as a splash guard for indoor pouring.
In true Jess fashion, I only snapped a couple of food photos because I was so excited to eat and try everything. We had the chorizos a la sidra (chorizo cooked in cider) which was smokey and delicious, the fritos de pixin (fried monkfish) which were huge chunks of meaty fried fish served with lemon, croquetas de jamon, and buchos, a typical dish of Cudillero. The Buchos is a Stew of hake (type of fish) tripe over low heat that is prepared with a ratatouille sauce with chopped onion, garlic and pepper and tomato sauce. Fish tripe stew doesn’t sound great to me but when in Cudillero…It was delicious and everything paired so nicely with the sidra! We even ordered a second bottle. We finished the meal with tarta de la abueula (grandma’s cake) and the pastel de tres chocolates (three chocolates cake). Both were delicious but the three chocolate cake was really something.
After lunch we climbed many winding steps toward the top of the town. Each turn revealed a little window, door, small flower garden, or other magical cuteness tucked away in the maze of winding stone stairs. After taking photos from the top, we slowly made our way toward the bus stop, stopping at a couple of cafes for something to drink along the way. Just as a light drizzle began, the return bus showed up and took us back to Gijon, and we enjoyed the lovely bus ride home alongside the green, Asturian hills.