If you travel by train along the northern coast of Spain you
get the most amazing panoramic views from your coach window so as
to keep you in a constant disconnected state from the real world
that the tracks are connected to. However, the ride from Olvido
to Ribadeo is almost all tunnels through the mountains that rise
abruptly from the Bay of Biscay (in Spain they call it the Mar de
Cantabria). Along the route you only briefly view tantalizing
"Brigadoon" valleys that have been there sleeping for
the centuries. The occasional glimpse of the sea serve to make
the whole trip at once serene and maddening. You desperately want
to tell the engineer to slow the train.
Eventually the train comes to a stop at a station tucked in
the hills and you are the only one to get off. You wander down to
the center of town for it can only be in one direction and see
quite a few modern six story buildings which makes you think that
you have arrived at some major industrial center. But no, the
entire community around the bay has inhabitants numbering only
about 9,000. There really are no suberbs. People still like to
live in town there and so they can take part in the evening paseo
arm in arm with their spouses and usually pushing a baby.
You can walk from the center of town down along the sea shore
through a semi-undeveloped park like setting and back to your
hotel before breakfast. The city square is the center of activity
where you can get a hotel room for $10.40, watch the men play
dominos in the cafe, and of course check out the evening paseo.
The buses start from right there in the square when it is time to
go. One of the amuzing things for me to discover was that the
restaurant doesn't open until 9pm for your supper. Since I am
usually asleep by then it was easy to maintain my diet here.