Spanish Gems: Cangas de Onís

You know when you have pre-conceived mental images of a place before you visit?  You've seen the photos, you've done your research.  You've studied the map (a lot, if you're like me), looked at Google Street View.  You've seen photos from the points on the map and your accommodation-to-be's representations of a place.  Then, you get there, and, good or bad, it's totally different?

That was my experience with Cangas de Onís, a town near the Picos de Europa in Asturias just south of Spain's northern coast.  And I have to say that everything exceeded my expectations.  I can't put my finger on exactly why, but it was definitely good in a positive way!

We stayed at the Parador just outside of Cangas de Onís.  While I imagined the property to offer panoramic views of the Sella River, it didn't.  But the walk down the pathway (really hidden -- as in, are we even supposed to be down here?) was a treat.

This Sella River is beautiful.  At this more mountainous point, as well as at the mouth of the river in lovely Ribadesella (post coming soon) where it spills into the ocean.  During the summer, a huge kayak festival takes place where lots of people race down the river toward the ocean.  It would have been great to kayak here.

I really hadn't thought much about the town itself, aside from its famous Roman bridge.  I expected it to be loaded with tourists; it wasn't.  But the bridge was more picturesque than I'd even hoped, and sitting in the town during the evening paseo (walk / when the locals come hang out in the public squares and parks) was super pleasant.


The traditional sidre (cider) pouring

I hadn't realized the proximity to Covadonga, which is really eye-catching and set beautifully in the mountains.  Nor did I even know, until our previous proprietor had told us, about the Lago de Covadonga, the beautiful lake area set high up in the mountains above the historic site.

The ride up to the lakes was a steep, twisting, winding one with the sheer edge of a mountain dropping off alongside us.  It was foggy and misty, and we shared the roads with cows and horses along the way.  I would love to go back and hike and explore this area for longer.

The Parador itself was a destination.  The outside of the building is impressive.  The exterior walls of the chapel still bear the stone masons' marks.

We wandered the halls, sipping the lemon water they offered near the front desk: so refreshing on a hot summer day. There is an old excavated historic site within the Parador.  Also, at one end, there is a beautiful little chapel.  One of the wings of the property containing rooms is connected by a long, glass-enclosed hallway.  I was enamored with a display showing a collection of sands from Asturian beaches.

See the builder's initials carved into the stone?  

The Parador's chapel, painted using the Brushes App

Finally, here are a few layouts I've made about our time there.  Typical to my mindset, the first one I created is a page using the time we were off by ourselves at the river - at a pretty natural setting, skipping rocks enjoying the surroundings.
Jen Maddocks Summery kit and Peaceful Autumn kit, Studio Stories: Summer Harvest kit all from

Foxeysquirrel Savannah Timepiece and Ripped Strips
The latest page I made, below is a combination of the lovely chapel door, and a photo of a painting of a typical Asturian scene.  Blending applied for texture and some filtering.  I'm really happy with the outcome of this one!
Studio Stories: Sonnet of Autumn & Palvinka Autumn Splendor