Ribadesella: Exploring Caves and Consuming Cider

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 The big draw to Ribadesella for most are the beaches. However, I arrived on a moody day in June, and beaches were not on the agenda; something much better was–eating, drinking and exploring prehistoric caves. Yes, please!

Lunch at Quince Nudos

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We stopped by local favorite, Quince Nudos for an early lunch before we set off to see the caves. While it’s no secret that I love Spanish food, I do find a lot of restaurants in Spain to be lacking in aesthetic. Quince Nudos most certainly was not–the restaurant space was light and airy, the decor neutral and tasteful. Part of a great dining experience for me is eating in a place that lives up to the food…except for the odd hole-in-the-wall place, full of Spanish grandpas, which I’ll always make an exception for! 

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 Since we arrived early, we were the only people in the restaurant. We were greeted by the chef/owner and whisked away to a table. The chef helped us pick a well-rounded selection of his menu: creamy, piping-hot croquetas, fresh, garlicky mussels, a seafood rice dish, and my personal favorite, an Asturian cheese plate. I don’t know if you’ve heard, but Asturias is well-known for their cheese throughout Spain (Cabrales, anyone?)–they even call their region “The Land of Cheese”! Cheese-making here is taken very seriously; Asturians have been making it for centuries in the caves scattered throughout the land, passing on their secrets from generation to generation.

We washed everything down with a bottle of Poma Áurea, a sparkling hard cider that I enjoyed so much, that I bought a bottle off of the chef…along with some of that Asturian cheese! What can I say, the best souvenirs are always food. :)

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Dessert was this pretty creation: chestnut ice-cream deep-fried in tempura with a chocolate base and a fine, churro topping.

Obviously, if you’re the only person in the restaurant, you’d expect great service, but at Quince Nudos they went beyond that by patiently answering all of my questions about the food, offering excellent recommendations, and timing everything perfectly. If you’re in the area, I highly recommend lunch here. Starters are from €10-15, rice dishes and meat are around €20 and desserts are €5 apiece.

Info:

Quince Nudos

C/ Avelina Cerra 6, 33560 Ribadesella, Principado de Asturias.    

Tel: 984112073

Tito Bustillo Caves

As much as I would’ve loved to leisurely finish my meal, we were about to be late for our tour of the Tito Bustillo Caves. These caves are named after the guy who discovered them with a group of his friends in 1968. Days after their discovery, Tito died in an mountain-climbing accident, and his friends named the caves after him in his honor.

Well, Tito and friends made a pretty huge discovery. They stumbled upon what is quite literally a treasure trove of history, dating back a mind-boggling amount of years and including some of the best-preserved Paleolithic cave paintings in Europe. Inside, the cave is BIG, and stretches back surprisingly far. I don’t know the exact distance, but we walked with our group for a good 10 minutes before arriving to the area where the cave paintings are.

I wish I could show you the paintings, but cameras aren’t allowed, and I wouldn’t want to be responsible for ruining them, anyway! They’re something that you just must, MUST see while in Asturias. It’s moving to think about how many years ago that humans were inhabiting these very caves.

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Tips for Visiting the Caves

  • Use the booking system and reserve your visit in advance. They limit the amount of visitors per day in order to preserve the paintings, so it pays to plan ahead!
  • Visit the museum beforehand (buy a combined pass for the caves and museum!), so if you get stuck with a guide who doesn’t speak English, you’ll still have an understanding of the paintings and the history. Tours are given in Spanish only, and audio guides are not currently offered.
  • You can bring your camera, but inside the caves, photos are strictly prohibited. It is allowed in the museum, however.
  • Wear practical shoes and bring a jacket. The floors can be muddy and it’s chilly inside!

Lastres, Asturias: Where the Dinosaurs Roamed

I saw Lastres in a photo (from the same viewpoint as my photo below) a few days before my departure to Asturias and it got me really excited about my trip. I mean, look at this place:

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Talk about gorgeous!

While I didn’t even set foot in the actual town of Lastres (unless you count driving through), I did gawk over it from above, and learned about some of the town’s original inhabitants: dinosaurs.

Jurassic Museum of Asturias

Yup, there have been dinosaur prints found on some of the cliffs on the coastline in the area, and excavations in 2005 found not only Jurassic prints, but bones. These fossils have been put on display in the neighboring town of Colunga, at a multi-million dollar Jurassic museum that I visited as part of my Asturias tour.

Fun fact: the museum is shaped like a dinosaur print!

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Before my visit, I had no idea that Asturias had found dinosaur prints on its coastline, so I was definitely excited to check out the museum. It did not disappoint. It was as interesting for the thousands of fossils and life-sized dinosaurs on display as it was for its cool architecture. See that plywood ceiling in the photos below? They’re meant to simulate a dinosaur’s rib-cage–I love seeing creativity in action like that.

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While the museum focuses on the Jurassic period, it does feature collections that span over 3,500 million years! It’s regarded as one of the best museums in the world of its kind. It would be a perfect stop for families, or just anyone who wants to learn more about these incredible beasts.

Museum Info:

General admission: €7

Entry free on Wednesdays and always free from those 3 and under.

For location, schedules and more, check out the museum’s website.

 

This was included as part of my visit to Asturias with Turismo de Asturias and Paradores de España. All opinions are my own.

 

Capture the Color 2013

Capture the Color is a yearly contest held by Travel Supermarket, where bloggers are asked to submit a personal travel photo that best represents a series of colors (Red, Blue, Green, White and Yellow.) A panel of judges will pick a winner for each color category with prizes including a £3,000 travel fund, iPads and more. I was tagged to participate by Sunshine and Siestas and A Texan in Spain, so here goes!

RED

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I’ve posted this picture a few times on my blog, because it’s one of my favorites. This is of a beach town in Basque Country called Lekeitio. Traditionally a fishing village, it explodes in the summer with tourism, but the port stays active as ever, and the fishermen bring in the fresh catch every morning. I took this particular shot from a mountain-top look-out from over the town, and the red terra-cotta rooftops really steal the show.

YELLOW

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In the mountains of Washington State, there’s a German village called Leavenworth. Come Autumn, it turns into a feast for the eyes as the leaves change colors into vibrant reds, yellows and oranges. After three years of living in Spain’s south, with almost no seasons accept warm, hot, and boiling, I definitely appreciated seeing Autumn up close.

WHITE

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This is majestic Mount Rainier, also from my beautiful home of Washington. I went hiking in Mt. Rainier National Park around this time last fall, and wish I could do the same this year! This landscape made me so thankful–and proud–to call the Pacific Northwest home!

BLUE

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I recently snapped this in Cudillero, Asturias. I had just climbed to the top of the village to look out from its viewpoint, and was making my way down the steep alleyways, when I saw this guy staring back at me as I turned the corner. His sweet face couldn’t have been more perfectly framed!

GREEN

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I was in Rome for artichoke season and saw this beauties while in a local market in Testaccio, a true Roman neighborhood. So many of my travel memories are marked by the food I experience in each places, and I won’t be forgetting Roman artichokes anytime soon!

I nominate:

Kirstie @ Venga, Vale, Vamos

Nicole @ La Mia Vita

Kerry @ Kerry Murray Photography

Amanda @ Marshall’s Abroad

Casey @ We Took the Road Less Traveled