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Pyrenees & Picos: Day 8

We were spending two nights in Riaño, the last stop of the tour, so today was another optional rideout, this time taken up by most of us.

We crossed the reservoir over a long, high bridge, then wove through the mountains to the town of Cangas. Here I learned a new Spanish word, sidra, and Spain went up even further in my regard with the discovery that it goes in for cider.

I was very keen to try Spanish cider, but it was only available in wine-size bottles and I was riding, so several of the party kindly helped me drink it. While we ate our tapas, gunshots sounded close by. We were mystified, and nobody appreciated my cry of Viva la revolución, but it was Sunday and they turned out to be heralding a church parade.

It was blazing hot when we reconvened at the bikes, and some of the group, thinking of cool beers in the shade, decided to head back to the hotel along the route we'd already done.

"What are you going to do?" I was asked.

"My job," I replied, virtuously.

Eight of us, on six bikes, decided to continue with the ride, along unknown roads picked out on the map as interesting-looking. We started on dual carriageway, which narrowed to an A road through towns, then to a single track country lane that got narrower and narrower as it climbed. It was twisty, and sometimes crumbly, and I was a little concerned it would peter out altogether. Then we descended again, and found a fortuitous bar to serve us coffee and cold drinks before the return journey.

Back at the hotel, I fulfilled my ambition of having a swim in the reservoir. The water was cold, but the day was hot and I welcomed the chance to float among little fish in its blue depths.

A couple arrived with a small dog, which swam earnestly and strenuously at the end of a long lead. Then a family with children, who pointed delightedly and told each other to look at the perrito. Then I decided it was getting too crowded, and headed back up to the hotel for a bath and dinner.

We were offered a choice of first course, and I picked black spaghetti with prawns. When it arrived, I discovered it also contained strange, twisty things, grey on one side and white on the other. I was told by someone who had ordered them by accident on a previous occasion that these were elvers, or baby eels.

To my relief, the taste and texture was of fishy pasta, and I rather liked it.

It was the last night and dinner was a rowdy affair, with speeches and jokes to follow. I was formally thanked for my role as back marker, and got to stand up and take a bow.

I was both slightly embarrassed and deeply touched; I'd been delighted to be trusted with the job, I'd loved doing it, done my absolute best to do it well, and here I was being praised for it.

Plus, I got to keep the hi-viz.


Mileage: 114.4

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Cider, swimming, and cries of revolution, what's not to like... splendid view again, too!

Black spaghetti — colored with squid ink, or cocoa? I've seen both, but tried neither.
I'm not sure! I'd only heard of squid ink as a colouring, and I'd guess it was that, to fit in with the seafood theme.
Surely living where you do you subsist on eels of the jellied variety? ;-)
I have so far managed to avoid them! One day I will be brave and give them a shot. (I think it's the 'jellied' more than the 'eels' that puts me off.)
It would me too. I enjoy unagi.
Not sure whether or not I've had that! I will make a point of seeking it out.