Before we started on our rail tour, we bought Thomas Cook's map showing all Europe's train lines. It has the scenic routes highlighted: this was one of them, through the mountains dividing Castilla from Asturias.
My view out of the window across the gangway was interrupted by a couple constantly kissing and caressing each other: they were both male. And there was I reflecting that it was easy to understand why Christianity was always able to hold out against Islam in Asturias when you pass through this wild country.
The line from Oviédo to the sea at Avilés passes through a comparatively developed landscape. We found ourselves in a more or less empty commuter train apart from a pigeon, which hopped on at Oviédo and off again two stops later. I suppose even pigeons value a lift now and then.