Monday, November 12, 2012

A walk along the shoreline

The tourists have returned home and Asturias is once again tranquil. The roads are quiet, the towns and villages are subdued and the snow has returned to the Picos de Europa mountains. After all our work in the garden and vegetable beds, a walk along a deserted beach beckoned.

One of our local beaches is Vega. About 15 minutes away by car, along the coast heading west out of Ribadesella lies the small village of Vega.

The road down to the village passes through a stunning gorge that has a meandering river bed and towering limestone rock formations. The sharp, jagged rocks play host a many plants, animals and birds. The trees are small, miniaturised by restricted root growth, they punctuate rocky peaks and enhance the sense of height.

As you pass through this unassuming collection of village houses and newer built holiday homes, it is soon clear that as the road finishes it meets the extensive sand dunes and wooden walkways that mark the beginning of Vega beach.

When the tide is out the beach stretches about 1.5 km, a vast sandy bay backed by crumbling meadows, ancient rocks and layers of fossilised sea creatures. The area is renowned for its fluorite mines and just occasionally you can stumble upon these jewel-like stones as they glisten in the sunshine as the tide washes them to, fro and over them.

There is no-one on the beach today, just a solitary set of bare footsteps from an early morning walker, large flocks of gulls resting on the shoreline and evidence or razor fish surfacing and crabs scurrying from rock pool to rock pool. The spray of the ocean casts rainbows against the blue sky and the passing clouds play shadow puppets on the golden sand.

On the high tide mark there is too much plastic, too many discarded fishing lines and the inevitable lone flip flop. Magnificent pieces of driftwood shout out to us "Take me home" and Luis resists the never ending lure of pebbles.

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