I started living in Oviedo, the capital of Asturias in the north of Spain, at the beginning of February 2018, together with my Spanish husband and one-year old daughter. From the beginning, I am excited about the beautiful nature, the less stressful life, the delicious food and of course the sun. But the latter did not cooperate this spring! Of course, we already knew in advance that the weather in Asturias cannot be compared to, for example, the heat of Andalusia in the south or the warm weather around Barcelona and Valencia on the east coast.
The north of Spain, with the autonomous regions of the Basque Country, Cantabria, Asturias and Galicia from east to west, is called Costa Verde (Green Coast) for a reason. Because in Asturias the sea and the mountains are relatively close to each other (you drive within an hour from the sea to areas with mountains of more than 2500 m altitude), the heated seawater of the Bay of Biscay is trapped in the form of clouds in front of the mountains. This results in quite a lot of rain throughout the year. And indeed, while everyone in the Netherlands enjoys a beautiful spring, in Asturias it is raining cats and dogs, it is fresh with about 14 degrees and we only see the sun now and then.
Therefore, as soon as a beautiful day arrives, I hike along a so-called ‘Senda Verde’, or ‘green route’. These are easily accessible routes for hikers and cyclists, for example an asphalted disused train track. Maybe not very adventurous, but perfect to go out with the pram, like in my case today. There are more than 1200 km of Senda Verdes in Asturias, thus enough to discover!
The one for today starts in the south of Oviedo, in the Parque de Invierno. A beautiful park located on a slope where it is very nice to relax during a beautiful spring day like this. The route starts on the south side of the park. On this weekday there are quite a few walkers, runners, cyclists and a single skater on the road, which gives a good impression of how the Ovetenses (the inhabitants of Oviedo) recreate. We first walk 2.5 km through a park-like area to the old train station ‘La Manjoya’. The building is now used for environmental education purposes by the NGO FAPAS, which aims to preserve the flora and fauna in Asturias, such as the Cantabrian brown bear (Ursos arctos arctos), the Iberian wolf (Canis lupus signatus), ospreys (Pandion haliaetus), griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus) and different types of bees.
After crossing the highway we end up in an agricultural area that turns into a rockier part where we also pass several tunnels under the mountains. The route ends after about 8 km in the village of Fuso de la Reina.
My hiking guide tells me that a train is going back to Oviedo. However, the people who live next to the station tell me that this has not been the case for years: there is only a bus a short distance away. Luckily, some snacks and drinks are for sale in the old station restoration.
When I decide to walk the same way back, I realize that the first part went slightly down all the way, meaning I now have to ‘climb’ all the way up again! Hundred meters of height difference does not look like much, but it is still a good training for your arms if you push a pram!
About halfway back I see two large yellowish birds foraging in the meadow. A look with my binoculars shows me that they are Egyptian vultures (Neophron percnopterus)! Apparently, these are quite common here, but for me it’s the first time! After a few minutes they fly away, beautifully showing their white and black wings. A golden edge to my real first spring day as ‘Ovetense’!
Do you want to experience the route that I describe here, combined with a relaxing afternoon in an old Spa and a delicious ‘menu del dia’ lunch? Yes? Check our hiking activity here.