The name Ribadesella will probably make you think in hundreds of canoeists going down the river as if there’s no tomorrow. And you are not wrong, no: what you’ve seen on the TV is called the International Descent of the River Sella, held every year at the beginning of August.
However, if you have an inclination to study the most remote times of the planet, it is possible that this part of Asturias will take you, more likely, to remember the dinosaurs. Because around one hundred and fifty-million years ago, one thing we can say for sure: the giant creatures that lived in the Jurassic were very fond of going down to the Bay of Biscay to soak their claws.
At the end of the sixties, Professor García Ramos began to discover ichnites in the coastal area that stretches to the west of Ribadesella. You should learn that word, ichnites, because it refers to the footprints of the dinosaurs, and it will help you to look good in any conversation of things that can be found in this region.
The footprints of Tyrannosaurus marked on the rock are very impressive, there is no doubt, but the same could be said of the marks left by human beings around thirty-five thousand years ago in the Tito Bustillo Cave. It was discovered in the late sixties when a team of speleologists entered within its walls and saw them covered with paints of deers, horses and reindeers that some hands drew a dizzying amount of centuries ago. Today they form a group of cave paintings of world importance and are a World Heritage Site, together with the Altamira Caves and others that keep more Palaeolithic treasures in this Cantabrian cornice.
As you can see, not everything is about canoes in Ribadesella, but do not think either that it is all Prehistoric. In the Middle Ages, the town was in fashion thanks to the shipyards and the wood brought by the River Sella. This, together with salmon fishing and the occasional distracted whale, were the main cause for the area’s booming economy. So much so that it was even proposed to turn it into the main port of Asturias, but finally, the trophy was taken by the nearby city of Gijón.
Despite this, the town that gave birth to the painter Darío de Regoyos is a beautiful town in which the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries left their architectural heritage, and, if that weren’t enough, it has that peculiar virtue of joining the sea with the mountain, which saves family arguments when summer holidays approach. Because the impressing Picos de Europa Mountains reach as far as here to get into the water without any complexes …