That’s twelve and a half miles! I mean, we didn’t run a marathon or anything but that’s a whole lotta steppin’. After Spanish class we ate an early lunch and then set out for Parque Arqueologico-natural de la Campa Torres. We knew it would take us an hour and forty minutes to get there on foot. We had no commitments or plans for the day and could take our sweet time, plus there was a bus that stopped near La Campa Torres that we figured we could take home if needed.
The early walk took us through the neighborhoods of El Natahoyo and La Calzada in Gijon. We had walked to Playa de Arbeyal, which is near the Gijon port, in Natahoyo before so had seen a good bit of the barrio already but I had no idea what a bustling area it was near the neighborhood center. El Natahoyo has a working class family feel to it that I like. While not the most beautiful area but it has a good vibe to it.
Next was the La Calzada neighborhood of west Gijon. The farther we walked, the more the city disappeared. We were still in Gijon but houses (with yards!) replaced apartment buildings. We even saw a few horses and goats as on we went, climbing hills. I feel like everywhere we go in Northern Spain, we’re walking uphill. Escalar, escalar. I’m not complaining (yes you are) because it’s always worth it.
Phil assured me that somewhere near our destination was a restaurant that we could stop at for a rest. The signs we passed for the restaurant, Les Cabañes, and the promise of a cold beer and a seat kept the pep in my step. After waking for almost an hour and a half, we finally came upon Les Cabañes! They had a large, inviting patio (terraza) that was almost empty with the exception of one other table. We arrived at an odd time, a bit late for lunch and but much too early for dinner. Since we had eaten early lunch at home, now we were looking for a cold drink, a Radler to be specific. Radler’s are very popular in Asturias in the summertime, and why wouldn’t they be? Sixty percent beer, forty percent lemonade, they are delicious and refreshing and with only 2% ABV, you can easily have a couple during the day without feeling (too) tipsy. To accompany our radlers, the waiter brought a small charcuterie plate of chorizo, two types of jamon, and bread. I mentioned in my last post that bars, restaurants and cafes in Asurias often serve a small, gratis plate of food to snack on (pinchos are what they are called) and this particular plate of food was a real score. The chorizo was so good and really really spicy. Spicy food is not common in Spain as Spanish food is very flavorful but not spicy. Phil and I enjoy spicy food so the chorizo was an especially welcomed treat and it paired so nicely with the cold radler.
We decided to have one more cold one before we left and when the waiter returned, I told him how much I liked the chorizo, “Me gusta el chorizo. Es picante.” He responded with a smile and said, “Es picante, no?” and we nodded our heads. So when he returned with our second round of radlers, he also brought another plate with only the spicy chorizo and more bread. It felt rude not to eat it, so we polished off that plate as well.
After we left we told each other we must go back to Les Cabañes and eat a proper meal. They are known for having the “best lamb on a steak” in Asturias, so says their website and a few signs on the patio. I’m not sure if this means it’s an actual lamb leg steak, lamb cooked on a spit, or some other deliciousness I don’t even know about but when we eat there, I will certainly let you know.
When we left the house that afternoon, we decided not to bring our wallets, just a €20 note and my change purse were our funds for the day, as the museum was free and we had already eaten a full lunch. We wouldn’t need a credit card, right? Note to self: always bring the damn card! Although, if we’d had the card, we might still be at Les Cabañes, drinking beer and eating plate fulls of lamb and chorizo. After spending €7 (around $9) at Les Cabañes we carried on. I feel the need to point out that the cost of four beers, and two small charcuterie plates in Los Angeles would have cost at least $45. I don’t usually talk about prices in my posts because I don’t think it adds to the story but c’mon, that’s one heck of a deal!
La Campa Torres was a further 15 minutes away from Les Cabañes. It is located on a clifftop overlooking the sea, from which you can see the beautiful ocean, the city, the port, and the Repsol oil maritime terminal (see the globe below) which is oddly located right next to La Campa Torres. So, a real mixed bag, view-wise, depending on where you look but all in all, it was stunning.
La Campa Torres is the largest maritime fortified enclosure on the entire Asturian coast. It originated in the 5th or 6th century AD, was occupied by various tribes, and Romanized in the 1st century. The area was gradually abandoned with the founding of the Roman city of Gijon (and building of the Roman wall) in the Cimavilla area of modern-day Gijon.
We walked the grounds and the two small museums for a couple of hours before heading back. We walked to the bus stop we had passed near the entrance of La Campa Torres only to discover that the last bus during the week picks up at 3pm… and it was 6:45pm. Soooooooo, we started the long walk home, stopping in La Calzada and then in Natahoyo for a rest and a beer. The large plate of pinchos at Cafe Doza in Natahoyo were much needed for the last stretch of the walk home. Luckily we had just enough left from our €20 to buy bread at the panaderia (making it there with only seven minutes until close, phew!) for dinner that evening. Our trip to La Campa Torres, the walking, the views, the neighborhoods, and the food all added up to a pretty fantastic day!