Resting and Resetting

We are Llanes, a very pleasant fishing/resort town, in Asturias having left Cantabria behind. Decided we needed a extra day to let feet heal and to spends bit of time to adjust schedule so that days are 25-30 kms vice 30-35kms. We are very good to 30 but much more and the tipping point to unhappiness is reached. We have 2 more days along the Camino Norte and then will head to Oviedo for a couple of days and then start the Primitivo: Primitivo description

The primary business of the Spanish seems to be the selling of food and booze to each other. They do this in 3 shifts so there is lots of work to go around. I was surprised that when wine really is as cheap as water that I switched back to water (some days). Everything is quite inexpensive here. A monumental lunch, that comes with starter and a second of seemingly equal size, can be had for 10-12 € with wine, bread and desert (and coffee). This is cheap for us but the minimum wage here is about 750 € per month (~1/2 of France). We have seen almost no poverty and almost no panhandling. 

Unemployment is running more than 20% and much higher among the young. There are the obvious signs of a lingering aftermath of a property bust that sees many near complete building sites looking 7 years abandoned and many for sale signs. Quite a bit of wealth was evaporated here and the banks must own a lot of property that limits their ability to lend. From observation I would guess they are in the last 1/3 of the bust and that activity is picking up. 

Income inequality is statistically very high but not much in evidence and conspicuous consumption (other than lunch) is not on display. The towns are very clean and the people very efficient and industrious. The hotels and tourist apartments we have stayed in have been inexpensive and spotlessly clean. A double room with breakfast for 50€ all in and a spacious 1 bedroom apartment  with kitchen and large patio for about 75€. 

It is low season along this coast and most of tourist facilities, which is the major businesses in these beach towns, running about 20% full or less. Feels warm to us as  most sunny days reach low 20s and cloudy rainy day, like today, is still mid-teens. 

We are feeling well rested and ready to finish up our last few days along the coast before pushing inland and over a mountain range (don’t tell Di). I spent a good bit of yesterday lining up our accommodation along the route and mostly done just waiting for a response from a few guesthouse sand pensions and we will be set.


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