Friday, October 28, 2016

Walking up an appetite

We biked all morning, and it was so much fun! Time for lunch.

"There´s a great home style place on the mountain top in the next village", our bike rental lady told us. "You can drive, but most people walk because you need a huge appetite and even then there´s no way you´ll finish what you´re served," she went on.

Man, was she right!

The route, Las Xanas, was stunning. We had struck a similar hike, Ruta del Cares, from our list, due to crowds and potential danger due to poor conditions. It´s gotten so popular in recent years that maintenance can´t keep up. I had been feeling nervous about it (a great reason to make other plans - don´t start trails you don´t feel comfortable walking on!), but disappointed because I knew we were missing out on some gorgeous scenery. Well, Las Xanas certainly made up for it. 

La Ruta de Las Xanas (source and info)
After a substantial climb, we walked along the edge of the gorge on a fairly flat, wide trail. There were other hikers, but it wasn´t overly crowded. The path was mostly rocky, but passed through a forest and ruins of a water mill, and crossed a grassy hill, before coming to a picturesque Roman church. From there, it was a smooth walk on asphalt into the village, where we enjoyed the most enormous lunch I have ever been served.

We ordered a typical Asturian dish, fabada, a bean stew, and it came in what I can only describe as a witches´ cauldron. It was served with bread which would have fed our family of three for a week, and followed by a plate of meat cooked over an open fire. I think we got through a third. Then there was dessert. When they say a bowl of rice pudding, they mean a super-sized bowl of rice pudding. And the coffee! Wow. To top it off, we ate in what had originally been a stable or work area in of a traditional house. Very atmospheric and lively, with voices from tourists from all over Europe mingling in the dim, smoky air. The price was also right. At 16 euro a person including wine, the menu del dia is the way to go. It really actually is the only way to go, since they only serve menus. The restaurant is aptly named Casa Generosa.

After all of the food, we were glad the return hike started out heading down hill. We made it back to the car in under two hours, despite being stuffed, bringing our total hike stats to 8km and just over 4 hours. I highly recommend this hike, including a stop for lunch at Casa Generosa, as an off-the-beaten track option for Asturias. As the Spaniards say, Muy recomendable y repetiremos.

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