This is partially serious and partially fun. We heard that a day trip to Oveido from Gijon was worth the effort. And that all you needed was a round trip ticket on the train and you were set. Being careful travelers we went to the stacion three days early to check things out. The two people behind the train windows to sell tickets or send people away...depending...were surly. None-the-less after being sent away from the window with the directions of machine, machine. OK, I don't speak Spanish and my wife has a light working vocabulary that usually gets us by..with people willing to work with her. We stopped at the Euopecar office. They helped us a lot. Tickets from the machine are good only on the day sold. Don't buy in advance and expect to validate as used.
As with most Renfe equipment the machine has a language selector, but after the first page, you are back permanently to Spanish with words for round trip and one way and weekly..etc. We figured it out. SO Suday..oh, oh,... we went to the station. We bought our tickets from the machine and went in search of the train. To a person they said, "No train to Oveido." Now we had a round trip ticket purchased that day for a train that didn't exist?
After two "conversations" with a train person at the platform, because we were already through the barriers, he got us on the 'right' train. When we asked out loud, "Oveido?" to the passengers in the wagon we just boarded, we set off a roar of discussion similar to a Real Madrid/Barcelona soccer match. Yes, no, and a lot of no. One older woman almost begged us to get off. Another older man encouraged us to do the same. We stayed and thought this would be our train travel experience. Go somewhere and try to get back.
The train took off and a woman came up who spoke English quite well. She said we would have to get off at a particular station and wait for another train. She was doing something similar so we followed her advise, and got to Oviedo.
My wife was hesitant about getting back to Gijon so we asked at the station when a train would go back to Gijon. All windows visited agreed, "not possible today. Wait for tomorrow." walking into town and to the Turist Information we asked the lovely young women how we would get back. They phoned and Googled, and assured us there were trains going to Gijon every hour.
So we toured, and when we got to the train station..."No train." Now Renfe and Feve are two train operations that seem to be all one organization but they ignore each other and know nothing of the other's operations. Although their stations and trains have both these names on them it is impossible to know who you are talking to or about what organization. Both have trains going to Gijon, as we eventually found out. But....who knows...wait for tomorrow.
We missed a train we wanted by...actually we were there on time, but it was labeled for a town we didn't know. thankfully, behind an closed official door there was a single man sitting behind a large wooden desk. He told us that YES there was a train and we only now missed it But in an hour...another. I went out and assured my wife. I went back in to the man, and asked if we would have to change trains as previously, YES.
Additionally, on Sunday the catedral is closed, the pre-Romanesque church is closed, the treasury is closed, and the museums are open only in the morning....of course morning in Spain runs until 15:00. So that was good.
But a few glasses of wine back in Gijon and we are laughing the day away.