sil valley, mineral rich, villages centro urbano
Ads for the province of Asturias claim that you don’t need to choose between mountain and sea, because you can have both. That was today, mountains and sea. Oh, and Montana (yes, the state).
I woke up exhausted this morning, and the bed was comfortable, so it was hard to get out. In the end, bladder and uncertainty teamed up. I wasn’t sure what time Alejandra, our hostess, expected us to be out. When I went out to the shared bathroom, though, she was making up the beds in the next room, and didn’t seem to be in a hurry, so I stopped worrying and although I didn’t dawdle, I didn’t hurry either. Nor did Matt, who slept very well.
In order to head north, we had to go back into Ponferrada, but this time, interestingly, it was yet another route. We had coffee and Matt had a pastry at a gas station, then we began an ascent, through one type of hills and mountains then another. The first, the Sil valley, had lots of shiny rocks and beautiful dry landscapes to start with. There were dilapidated mining operations all over.
The same valley brought us to various dams and ravines.
But when we left the valley, we entered Montana. I had to pull off to take a picture, and asked Matt how we’d gotten here. Can you see the herd of horses? There were also lots of longhorn cattle.
An interesting note about the old stone villages along the way. My TomTom shows the layout of streets in each village, and so I know exactly how big they are. And yet frequently, they’d have signs telling us where to find the “centro urbano.” It can’t be that urban of an urban center.
The villages are adorable. One was built around a giant jagged wedge of a stone, and there were a couple of cafes, but although it was noon, no one was serving food of any sort, only drinks. And there we’d had such luck earlier in the trip with lunchtime meals. Oh well. The supermarket was open, so we got some picknick supplies and continued on our way.
Next up, and where we at our lunch, was after passing snow along the road that was taller than our heads, wedged out for the road. Rock slides had littered the road with stones of all sizes, up to so big that we have trouble thinking of something comparable in size. You could probably not quite wrap your arms around it. Or if you have short arms, you’d just be giving it a hug.
Anyway, about that viewpoint, I loved the cattle grazing the meadow, visible here on the right.
We crossed into Asturia on that mountain, and found ourselves in another National Park, something Urbinos. If I remember, I’ll look it up later. There are some villages in the national parks, and we were warned by various people on the side of the road that something was ahead of us. We were already going slowly, but we slowed down a lot, and found a small group of young cattle being herded down the road. There were, by the time I got this shot, 3 just to my left, who had been giving their herder so much trouble that I eventually turned off my engine because it seemed to be scaring them. Those ones passed, but the ones in front of me were much easier to get past, so the herder waved us on.
Instead of this picture, I’d like to show you the deep ravine we drove through just before arriving here. This is a prehistory exhibit and park, and also has a herd of wild horses (Polish sounding name), but we didn’t see them. The park has a reproduction of cave drawings, but since we will see real ones in a few days, we ignored it.
The ravine was deep, and steep and all stone, towering above us. The road was clean and smooth, and curved just right. We took it somewhat cautiously anyway, but it was lovely. There was nowhere good to stop for a picture.
We had hoped to catch up with Dick today (or he with us, actually), but at 15:00 we had a message for him, and he was exhausted after a very early start and had just made San Sebastian. So we decided to head for Cudillero, which is a seaside town known for seafood. We are at our first camping site, and set up the tent for the first night. If it’s too cold, we will switch to one of their cabins or elsewhere altogether for tomorrow when Dick joins us. Here is my tent!!!
It’s not a spectacular campsite, but it’s quite near a lovely beach, which we walked to via a winding forest road.
And here’s the beach:
Right now we’re drinking Spanish cider (sidra) in the picknick area of the campsite. It’s damn cold, so as soon as I’m done here I’m crawling into my sleeping bag, with my balaclava on. I let Matt use my gloves as glove liners, so … my hands will be cold. But otherwise hopefully I’ll be ok. If not, we’ll switch to someplace heated in the morning.