Sidra - the national drink
Thanks to VT, I knew before arriving at Asturias that sidra was the national drink and I absolutely had to try it. I must admit, I read so much about sidra that I honestly expected it to be the ONLY drink available in Asturias. Not so. Wine and beer are also plentiful. In fact, at dinner, no one seemed to drink sidra (they went with wine instead) and even in sidrerias, not everyone was drinking sidra.
Since we can get wine and beer anywhere, but we can't get sidra everywhere, you're darn tootin' right that we're going to go with the sidra in Asturias. At Mirador, the local hotspot, at first we ordered "tres copas de sidra." That is NOT how to order sidra. It comes by the botella. A very cheap botella. This one cost $2 Euros and you had to love the handwritten label - like it was made in someone's bathtub.
The taste of sidra was a complete surprise to me. I was expecting something like apple cider, but it tastes nothing like that. It's not sweet and it didn't taste like apples. I didn't think it was too bad - on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being a great bottle of wine, and 5 being one of those past their primetime wines brought to our July 4th BBQ by cousin Elwood, I would give sidra a 4. My husband and son thought that was too high and deserved a 1. (Ya think maybe they didn't like it??)
A couple of days later, we had sidra again on our horseback ride, and we thought it was better. I'm sure that was tourist grade stuff. The sidra at Mirador is the authentic, local rotgut. Not for the faint of heart.
LES ARRIONDES (1)
Looking northeast across the town on a rather grey late February morning in 2008, with the summit above El Fitu in the background, and the station (no, it is NOT a model railway, in spite of appearances!) in the foreground. At first sight, a modern settlement of ugly, high rise flats. The railway provides a useful barrier separating urban and rural. In Spain, where railways run through towns the municipal councils usually campaign to bury them, describbing them as 'architectural barriers' and telling the good, innocent and possibly uninformed and gullible townsfolk that they are dangerous and that they would be better off without them, and with roads instead. Oh, yes; a good excuse for freeing up land for property speculation, and filling the municiple kitty, no more and no less, full stop.
Ah, but the railway is not buried, and a few years ago they raised the platforms and lengthened the passing loop (this latter action in norder to allow longer freights to cross each other). Here is the morning Santander to Oviedo train arriving, in March 2003.
Kilometres from Ferrol . . .
In the background is the bus station, of which more anon.
Another view of the station area, this time from the north.
And from the south . . .
What a quiet and civilised feature a railway is, traversing an urban area. Wildlife can cross it without fear of being run over . . .
So neat and orderly, too. And spotlessly clean. It could almost be a large scale model. Full marks for FEVE!
The original station nameboard has been conserved, and the old clock - far better cand more useful than a flashing digital text panel - counts the hours and minutes reliably.
The benchmark. Another obligatory feature at Spanish stations.
Continue exploring Les Arriondes railway station on the next Travelogue.