soaked trails

Breakfast-view is on fog sneaking between the mountains. Like a huge kettle was boiling in the valleys.
It's not raining but it starts right when I step out the door. Joann gives me instructions for three walks and maps. I'll try to stay below snow line today.
In Arriondas I visit a bakery and choose a huge round white-bread with thick chocolate. Walking ahead I arrive to marketplace where a merchant has just spread out his things. His competitor is only adjusting the plastic sheet to cover his empty stall. I listen to the locals chatting and try to pick out some familiar words. When my turn comes then I ask for 'tres manzanas y un kilo de fresas'. Strawberries just look so tempting. In addition to that these are probably local. Algo mas? Like from a language learning book. It seems I'm not too convincing since in the end the seller says 'thank you, merci, danke schön'.
First I drive to La Molina. Some wandering on goat tracks and wondering what could Nigel mean by 'start of the village' - the sign or first houses. Probably neither but the cluster of houses at the end of asphalt. Right in front of me three wild boars cross the road. Narrow path jiggles between the rocks and along the river. Steep striped walls glisten in the rain. It doesn't take much time to make my boots wet again. Rocks move further away and the path comes to a clearing with majestic thick trees, some mossy trunks cut in half under the weight of the branches and are hollow inside. From stones marking edges of houses one can guess that some time ago a village was here. Walls of a small church are still standing. On the other side of the river two horses are grazing, not bothered by the rain. A part of the church still has some roof left so I stand there a long while waiting for the rain to lessen. It doesn't. It's the kind of stubborn thin dense rain that soaks through everything. Finally I start back towards the car, recording the trees with my wet camera as I go.
I drive to Puentenuevo or Newbridge. There starts el camino encantau, enchanted trail. Enchanting means wooden sculptures that look at the walker from unexpected places next to the path. Each one has something to say. Nuberu for example claims to command wind and rain. This spring he has commanded the rain around here to be especially weird. Even the locals don't understand what's going on. Usually the weather changes very fast on Asturian coast, rain or any other type of weather doesn't last for long. This year the forecast promises another two weeks of rain.
The trail goes 9 km from one village to the next along remains of cobbled paths or animal tracks. The villages are as empty as they should be on a rainy Saturday. It smells of dung and from time to time one can hear cow bells. Real rural idyll. A big white dog sleeps in the door of a house and doesn't bother to react to my appearance in any way. Some houses are dilapidated, grass growing through the windows, some are new and colorful. Peculiar are small buildings on stilts, some plastered and built full at the ground level, some have the staircase broken but the ground floor being used as garage or storage.
Between villages is green hilly landscape with some patches of forest. It's a bit of a children's trail but nice enough with this weather. Rain gets lighter. From Ricaliente a small shaggy dog starts to follow me and doesn't want to turn back. Then runs ahead and looks back every once and a while to make sure that I'm still coming. He's got some business of his own in Puentenuevo.
Low clouds make it feel like late in the evening, like it was getting dark. It's only past five but there's not enough time to walk the small coastal circle before dinner. Not much of a beach weather anyway. Still I drive to the coast and park at Playa Burro. Waves roar and crush against the rocks. I eat the chocolate bread and strawberries, watching the sea from the secure dryness of the car.
Going back I avoid the motorway for quite some time, driving along the small curvy roads where signs for max speed change more quickly than I can change gear. Parallel to the road is railway. We'll see if riding a train goes off better here than in Vietnam.
Waiting for dinner I sit in front of the fireplace with my laptop, lovely Spanish guitar music as background. Nigel and Samantha speak Spanish with each other.
Pico Zorru

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