Day 5, Larrabetzu to Potes — 187 km

Today was mostly all about squiggly roads. We loved it. When we planned the route, Matt frowned. “It’s -2 degrees. Oh. Wait. No, it’s 7 degrees. Ok. We still can’t camp, but we’ll be ok, following the valleys through the Picos de Europa.” He was wrong.

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Our route took us OVER a mountain. 🙂 As we went up up up up, switching back and forth, it got colder and colder. I thought: Matt said we’d stick to the valleys. I hope he’s not too cold. I have my heated jacket!

We got to a viewpoint. Ok, it certainly wasn’t the tallest mountain, but still.

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We had a good look at our route down. Some of the switchbacks actually went slightly UNDER each other. 🙂 The way down took less time than the way up, and we passed a bicycle on his way up. Poor bugger.

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After the mountain, we headed for a prehistoric cave that Matt had chosen from my shortlist. First, though, we had lunch. The food here, when you’re not dining at a 3-star Michelin restaurant, is really cheap. Wow. Ok, it wasn’t the best food, being a touristy place en route, catering to buses, but whatever. We knew we’d finish the evening with more pintxos and wine somewhere, so a 3-course tourist menu at lunch for 10 euros was just a good idea.

Unfortunately, the cave was fully booked. There was a busload of French school kids. So we took a couple of pictures and changed the route to fastest to our new hotel.

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We have decided to spend two nights in Potes, in the heart of the Picos de Europa. This is like Baños (in Ecuador)… an outdoor adventurer’s haven. There are lots of touristy shops and lots of guest houses. We had a little adventure checking in at ours. We have a little apartment, so we can do our laundry and have our own breakfast in the morning and chill a little.

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At the moment, we are sitting in a climber bar having wine and pintxos. There were a couple of Belgians at the next table, so we chatted with them a bit, in Dutch then in English, although one of them was better in Dutch. They had some good advice for later in the trip. The dreadlocked pub staff is all super friendly and has been chatting away at us, mostly in Spanish and one in English.

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On a language note, so far I totally give up (as usual), if the person speaks English, but do fine as long as I’m not super exhausted. The first moments off the bike at the end of the day are bad. As is just before lunch, although after lunch is always much better. And much like in Ecuador, with Matt, the stress of constantly being in charge of translation is wearing, so that by the end of the day I’m more tired than he is. However, unlike in Ecuador, Matt is finding it easier to parse what is intended by words he doesn’t understand. Funny, since Ecuadorian Spanish was, to my ears, much slower and therefore easier. Anyway, when I’m tired, I prep him with a few key words or phrases, and send him off to figure something out. 😀 It’s been working so far. And it gives me a break.

Oh, one last thing. We are no longer in Basque country, but here’s an example of Basque written, in the toilet:

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2 comments

  1. we love reading your blog!! just wonderful writing….and wonderful pictures and …..wonderful people doing all that hard vacationing!! Fun!!

  2. Interesting commentary about language, about engaging through and in spite of different capacities. Thanks for posting the basque sign, too. News from Seattle: R&E’s baby came yesterday (4/27), Delia Ann. All well & happy & getting on with life! Stay warm.

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