Wednesday, June 29, 2011


We took the train from Madrid to Oviedo, leaving from a different train station than the one we arrived at.  Oviedo is in north-central Spain but not on the coast.  Given that we had an early train, we were very excited to find out that our Eurail passes entitled us to take a communter train, Cercanias, at no charge, from Plaza del Sol.  This took a mere 10 minutes to get to the Chamartín train station versus an hour on the metro.  These early trains do not jibe with the hours we have been trained to keep in Spain!

Tired boys waiting for the 7:30 AM train at Chamartín.

 The train to Oviedo took about 5 hours.  Not an AVE fast train but still an enjoyable ride.  We all "slept" and then the boys watched Despicable Me in Spanish so it was like a mini Spanish lesson.  When we arrived at Oviedo we had to purchase tickets for the local train to continue on to Ribadesella.  These were dirt cheap as the Eurail pass got us a 50% discount on them....15 Euros in total!  The catch, we had a 3 hour layover in Oviedo.  The plus, just up the stairs from the train station is a beautiful square with a coffee shop where we planted ourselves, with all our luggage, and took turns exploring the neighborhood.  Oliver, Louis and I set off to explore and find a tobacco shop so I could buy postcard stamps.  Stamps are sold in tobacco shops, I figure, because the two things must be state controlled.
A church just up the hill from the train station.

 Oviedo is very hilly with very windy streets.  I think I would have either gotten lost or walked a lot further if I hadn't had Oliver with me to navigate me back to the train station.  :)
These buildings next to the train station in Oviedo look like you could take them apart and put them together in a different way.

Louis says, "When we first saw this statue of a person standing on a duck dolphin thing we thought it was weird and funny but when we got a closer look at it we thought it was creepy."  Sculpted by Dalí.  Imagine having a work by Dalí in the middle of Boulder!
On to Ribadesella we went after our very enjoyable layover.  The FEVE trains in the north are less cushy and there is not much room for luggage but we managed.  We did have to switch trains after about 20 min,  for unexplained reasons.  Hauling our luggage onto the next train, we settled while watching all the locals stare at us.  We were definitely a spectacle.  August's backpack, with the laptop in it, did fall from the rack above onto the floor with a loud thud.  Luckily no one's head broke it's fall!  This train was hot and not as comfortable but I loved watching the countryside and small towns pass by.  There was also a man on this train that had been on our train from Madrid.  He actually smiled at me when we saw and recognized each other on the Ribadesella train.  When we got off of the train, I even got a little goodbye wave from him. 
Two hours later we arrived in Ribadesella to be greeted by our landlady's husband, Carlos.  He drove us and our luggage, in two shifts, from the station to our apartment, where we were very enthusiastically greeted by Isabel.  She showed us around and told me that her cleaning woman would clean the apartment when we wanted, at no extra charge.  She also told me that she could hang my laundry for me if need be.  Had I just landed in heaven?  We unpacked and headed the few blocks to a beautiful, rocky beach, Atalaya.   We loved all of our touring in Barcelona and Madrid but it was so nice to realize that we had finally arrived and could settle in for a bit.

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