Thursday, March 28, 2013

Sleeping Dragons and Inland Beaches

Two weeks ago I discovered a hidden dragon lair in Asturias. 

Haha, that's not actually true, but I got your attention didn't I?? What I'm referring to are called bufones, for the sound that they make. Imagine a giant going "BOOFFFFFFF" (it's also reminiscent of a dragon). They are holes in the cliffs along the sea. At high tide, the waves come smashing into the holes and water and vapor shoot out.

Let's go back and start from the beginning. My friends had been wanting to go to Llanes, so we took advantage that Héctor had his car and decided to visit the village plus a couple of other cool things along the way. 


We started out in Llanes. This is another beautiful coastal village but it's nestled up in the foothills of the Picos de Europa (European Peaks- a famous Spanish mountain range). It's famous for the surf break, or massive concrete blocks that are used to protect the bay- they have been painted with different colors and designs. Another cool thing about Llanes is that they have a coastal green way on the top of the cliffs. From there you can see the sea and the snowy mountain peaks without even turning your head!

Panoramic view from the green way

                                    The one tiny beach in Llanes                           The view upon exiting the car
                                 with a mountainous background

Examples of the surf break


 *lord of thunder and the moon*
Llanes has bits of poems inscribed on metal plates and placed strategically around the town

Llanes is also famous for its film culture-         
this mansion (Palacio Partarríu) was the scene for 
the filming of the movie The Orphanage (El Orfanato)

Playa de Gulpiyuri

Next order of business was the inland beach, or Gulpiyuri Beach. This is one of the coolest things I've ever seen, ever. The beach was caused by a sink hole which has flooded. There are tunnels leading to it from the sea and it has waves, just like the sea! The hard part is you have to catch it around high tide or there won't be any water. After viewing the beach itself, you can climb up behind it and see the cliffs and the sea. 

 The place where the water comes in, looking down from the top 

 The view from the top, behind the beach

Bufones de Pría

The bufones were the last and most difficult part of the day. The thing is that we didn't exactly know how to get there. The best information I found online was a vague description saying which exit to get off, and a list of the towns you had to drive by. Unfortunately, we couldn't find any of those towns. We drove around in circles and past that exit two or three times before I was finally able to find a map of where we had to go. The problem was that the map didn't have all of the "streets" in the tiny pueblo where we ended up and we got lost several times. Following the map, it brought us to an unpaved dirt road. Well, I'm not sure if you could call it a road; it had two dirt tracks where your tires could go. It looked too narrow and we thought it might end badly. We decided not to go down it, but noticed a sign pointing to the beach where I had noticed you had to go to get to the bufones. So, we decided to risk it and take this path: 

It was a risk alright. We ended up trekking through super muddy patches that looked more like lagoon than road. At least the whole time we knew we were going in the right direction because we could hear the dragons roaring! I mean, we could hear the bufones. Then we made it to a town and still weren't sure which way to go. We took the wrong way. One way would have taken us on a road straight to the sea. The other took us through cow and sheep fields and we had to climb more than one barbed wire fence. It was worth it though. 

This is a short video of what one of the bufones sounded like. It wasn't as interesting in that it didn't have any vapor or water shooting up, but it was making quite a racket. 

Getting up close and personal

 Sometimes the waves would be unexpected- and a little scary!

By the time we got back to the car, it was pitch black. We made it though!!

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