Picos de Europa

We turned into beach bums on our near month long Spain odyssey.  We’d intended to spend the final days along the coast in Asturias but at the last moment we changed our mind.  Instead we veered inland to the Picos de Europa mountain range.  

Our base was Arenas de Cabrales.  I’d visited thirty years ago and remembered it as a one horse town.  But what a difference three decades makes.   The place bears little resemblance to how I remember it. I think I’ve spotted the hotel that I stayed at and a weathered old Kodak film sign outside an gift shop is triggering memories.  But that’s all.

We had a wonderful cycle to the start of the Cares gorge on the first day.   Then I defeated my e-bike on a steep climb to a viewpoint.  There’s a special setting that assists with pushing when you’re walking.  My trusty stead reared up like an untamed gee gee  because I couldn’t keep up with it.   We aborted because we had a pretty pleasant view a third of the way up.

On the second day we visited the village of Bulnes,  again somewhere I’d been before.  In the olden days the only way to reach it was by a steep mountain track.  I remember walking up and being passed by donkeys carrying crates of beer to the lone ramshackle bar.  Now Bulnes is a veritable metropolis.  There’s at least three or four  places selling food and drinks.  There’s still no road but it can be accessed by a funicular railway,  built at the start of the 21st century.  It’s a wonderful engineering achievement.     We went up on it and descended on that winding mountain path.  Walking down can be as strenuous as going up.  I ached the next day.  It’s been a while since I was an accomplished mountain trekker.

The Picos de Europa range clouded over on the third day but we still managed another cycle along the road either side of the campsite .  Luckily we were only about 500m from the campsite when the rain started coming down.    On the wonderful little ride along a meandering river gorge I came across this wonderful memorial in the village of Poo de Cabrales.    And of course I couldn’t resist taking a shot of the village sign! 

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