Playa de Merón, Asturias, Spain 8/13

September 18, 2013

According to the notes on our 1997 Spanish map, it was 16 years ago that we had explored the many beautiful beaches along the Costa Verde of northern Spain. Perhaps our favorite was one called Playa Merón. Parking was free and the long, clean deserted beach was a short walk away. We remembered it had another name, “Whalebone Beach”. There was a small restaurant with a mouth-watering barbecue. Lean baby-back ribs, lamb chops and several kinds of Spanish sausage filled the evening with tantalizing aromas. If you ordered in advance, they also made wonderful paella.

To our delight, both the restaurant and beach were little changed. Parking was still free at the restaurant and the wonderful beach was as pristine as ever. Each night the tide came in to erase all the footprints and sand castles, as if Mother Nature had cleaned the giant blackboard for a new day of memories.

Having just come from the spectacular open market in the city of Santander, we were loaded with fresh fish and shrimp. At a quiet meadow just up the road, we celebrated our first night on the beach with a pile of fresh mussels sautéed in garlic, butter and white wine, with plenty of Spanish bread to sop up the juice. We had also splurged on some of the famous Spanish Serrano ham and some tasty cheeses.

This being August when virtually everyone in Europe is on vacation, Playa Merón had been discovered, mostly by surfers. We were surrounded by fellow campers from France, England, Ireland, Germany and of course, Spain.

Long walks on the beach, beautiful sunsets and a few hours of baking our white bodies in the sun were just what we had been looking forward to. The water temperature was refreshingly cool and the waves were just the right size for playing in. We could’ve stayed a month but there were other beaches to explore and Portugal was calling.

Camping at the Restaurant Playa Merón was still free.  The grassy field just up the beach was only 5 Euros a night and offered more space.

Camping at the Restaurant Playa Merón was still free. The grassy field just up the beach was only 5 Euros a night and offered more space.

We celebrated our first night on the beach with a pile of fresh muscles sautéed in garlic, butter and white wine, with plenty of crusty Spanish bread to sop up the juice.

We celebrated our first night on the beach with a pile of fresh muscles sautéed in garlic, butter and white wine, with plenty of crusty Spanish bread to sop up the juice.

This being the end of August when virtually everyone in Europe is on vacation, Playa Merón had been discovered.

This being the end of August when virtually everyone in Europe is on vacation, Playa Merón had been discovered.

Playa de Meron 2

We splurged on some of the famous Spanish Serrano ham. At 49 Euros a kilo, ($32.50 a pound), we savored every slice.

We splurged on some of the famous Spanish Serrano ham. At 49 Euros a kilo, ($32.50 a pound), we savored every slice.

We remembered that Playa Merón had another name: “Whalebone Beach”.

We remembered that Playa Merón had another name: “Whalebone Beach”.

Playa de Meron 9

In addition to the succulent ribs on the grill, there were also lamb chops and several different sausages.

In addition to the succulent ribs on the grill, there were also lamb chops and several different sausages.

A combination plate for two was more than we could eat.

A combination plate for two was more than we could eat.

The ragged range of Picos de Europa was a backdrop for the long deserted beaches.

The ragged range of Picos de Europa was a backdrop for the long deserted beaches.

Each night the tide came in to erase all the footprints and sand castles.

Each night the tide came in to erase all the footprints and sand castles.

A lone surfer watches the Spanish sun melt into the Atlantic.

A lone surfer watches the Spanish sun melt into the Atlantic.

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