"SALAS" Salas by AsturArcadia
Salas Travel Guide: 0 reviews and 59 photos
Salas. The western outpost of central Asturias. Beyond, the great wilderness, scattered with staging posts such as Tinéu, Lluarca or Pola de Allande. Well, that was how it felt in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when we made longer expeditions from San Vicente de la Barquera, usually in mid-winter. The by-pass caused the N-634 to by-pass Salas at about this time. By-passes remove unwanted traffic. They also extract much-needed trade, the passing sort. In a couple of years' time even the by-pass will be by-passed by the Uviéu to La Espina motorway, which scales the escarpment to the west of the town in an awesome and intrusive manner. If the present national administration continues its erring spending spree to haul spain out of the recession through Public works, that same road will continue, at great expense, to Tinéu, Cangas de Narcea and Ponferrada. Spain has motorway fever as well as high speed railway fever. I prefer the latter infliction. At least it makes some sense.
Intrigued by a description in a Sunday supplement to 'El País', entitled 'Pequeños Hoteles con Encanto' (some of the paintings illustrating this hundred-page guide, which I still have somewhere, were an 'encanto' in themselves), my late mother and I decided to spend a night in the castle in the centre of Salas at the end of September 1993, en route to a weekend in Galicia and El Bierzo. A short break between the teaching of the summer holidays and that of the autumn term. We left San Vicente early in the morning, parked the car in L'Entregu to go into Uviéu to do a bit of research at the university's Geology department (I was then preparing a history of railways in this part of northern Spain), then drove to Salas via the Turón valley (the dual-gauge railway to the coal washery at La Cuadriella from Figaredo had just closed) and Quirós. The food and rooms were average, not that memorable. Breakfast the following morning was unforgettable. I think we were the only overnight guests (it was a weekday - Thursday to Friday night). The hotel was invaded by a group of catering students, who spent the early morning practising laying up tables and serving one another. Now, in my Cambridge and Cranfield days, I doubt whether if a group of us had been called on to do that, we would have been unable to keep our faces straight, or to resist cracking jokes both clean and vulgar. This bunch were absolutely dead-pan. They did it like zombies. Nary a grin, nary a giggle, nary a snigger. Not a word spoken. No playing to the highly amused audience of two. The shape of things to come in the basically humourless century twenty-first. But this was SPAIN (sorry, Asturies), not Britain or Germany!!!!!
John Cleese and the Fawlty Towers team could have taught them a thing or two. Sorry - Monty Python and Fawlty Towers (et al) is politically no-go land nowadays, I suppose. Best not stick my neck out and get arrested by the PC Police International. But that was in 1993, for Heaven's sake . . .
So, Salas, then. Rooms, in plural?
The pictorial account that follows is, for the most part, the fruit of a lunchtime visit in late September 2009 - a photo-collecting street-bash. Lunchtime? Well, it was nearly a lunchtime without lunch (I did not fancy the castle restaurant prices, especially not on a Saturday). Then, at the last moment I found an establishment on the ground floor of the modern block of flats near where i had left the car. Saturday prices, average, not spectacular, but wholesome. And on a hot day, liquid refreshment (a 1.5 litre bottle of water and half a bottle of red wine) is as welcome as the solid sort. Walking around the town, and looking at the closed and dying businesses (funny which ones survive the longest, not those you would think), I felt the recession was hitting hard here. Hitting the wrong shops, too.
Salas was preceded by Cornellana, and followed by Villamar, Camuño, Priéiru and the incomparable Maeza (Malleza), with Somao (Somado) rounding off the day. Check them out on my various pages!
Without any more ado, let us take a dekko at the town plan, then work our way from east to west, up the left bank of the Nonaya, returning down the right bank to the main plaza and the castle (see map).
I wonder whether catering courses are still held in the restaurant to entertain diners?
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