Walking in the Cantabrian Mountains

Trip Start Apr 04, 2008
Trip End Jul 01, 2008

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Flag of Spain  , Cantabria,
Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sunday 22 - A misty walk
We had a simple breakfast and then got on the bus for a 50-minute drive to the start of our walk. It was very misty for most of the day but the sun did break through at times and was very hot.  We saw some of the daintiest little pink sunwert and the brightest blue trumpet shaped flowers.  There were also yellow butterwert, and lot of white ones.  They were so pretty against the sandstone.  We also saw gentle looking caramel cows with soft eyes and long eye lashes that were quite happy just to stare at us as we walked past.

Stopped at a pub in Sortes for a drink at the end of the walk.  I tried the local cider but it was very sharp, a bit like Scrumpy rather than Bulmers. 

We went to dinner at a restaurant that had the beams of an old grain store house as its basic structure.  We had grilled wild mushrooms in garlic which were delightful and I had a dish of beans with pork, chorizo and black puddings.  It was so rich and very big.  Danny finished it off after he had finished his own rolled steak with cabrales cheese.  I also had crème caramel which was smooth with a very strong caramel flavour.  It was all delightful, fresh and flavoursome but there was just way too much. 

Spain won its match against Germany and the owners of the hotel next door, where we had to go to get internet access, were watching the tv intently.  There were loud cheers when Spain kicked the winning goal and I was told there were fireworks during the night.  I didn't hear a thing.   

Monday 23 -  Beautiful flowers in a meadow under a baking hot sun
It was a long walk and a hot walk in the afternoon.  We started off walking in a lot of damp heather.  Evelyn set the pace behind Barry which was good as it meant I wasn’t stretched too much.  We got to a rocky area in a col where we stopped for morning tea and watched the griffin vultures soaring.

We walked on a rough path where there were some big steps up and then we came out on a meadow full of beautiful little wildflowers.  There were orchids and lots of small yellow, white and blue ones. 

Had lunch under a big shady tree and slapped at the bugs.  It was long, long hot walk in the afternoon which ended at the pub. 

Tuesday 24 - Cares Gorge
We did a 350m ascent to get to the start of the walk.  We stopped for morning tea just before the walk starts and Kate gave us home-made tortilla.

The Gorge was beautiful.  Such steep sided grey gulleys with the grey blue water rushing along the rocky bottom.  There were also the multi-coloured rock formations and griffin vultures to keep your attention. 

We had lunch at the bottom and a couple of people went for a swim. 

The final part involved walking through a tunnel with water dripping on you from above to where the water from the lake enters the gorge.  The force of the water causes a wind which almost lifts your hat off. Drinks at a pub about 2kms from the end of the walk were a nice way to end the day. 

We then had a two hour drive to our hotel in the mountains behind Potes. It was a lovely genuine homestead with polished floor and carpets.  It also had a resident puppy called Picos.  Six months old and full of beans, his fur was soft curly grey and he had a very friendly disposition. 

We had dinner outside at a table with some clear plastic screening.  It was a delightful meal of salad, grilled mushrooms and fish pate for entrée.  For dinner we both had a sirloin and we agreed that it was the nicest steak we had ever eaten.  I waddled back to the room to sleep the sleep of the dead.  

Wednesday 25 - Potted around the hotel
We woke up at 8.20 which was good as breakfast was at 9.00.  Once again we had a view of the steep wooded mountains as we dined.  Scrambled eggs and pancakes is a civilised but un-diet-friendly way to start the day. 

There are clouds on the mountain tops and it is a grey sky but the green of the mountain side is calming and delightful.  The others elected to go into Potes, go to the natural history museum, shop, go to the internet café or do a walk.  We elected to spend the day at the hotel and chill.  

Thursday 26 - Mist in the valley
We went up in the cablecar which gave me the jitters when it broke through the cloud.  So high up with such amazing views. 

As we walked through the rolling hills we saw horses bred for the French meat market and saw the lodgings for the King of Spain when he went hunting. We managed a 1100m descent and walked in the cloud for a lot of the day while I got more blisters.

Friday 27 - The final walk
We walked out of Potes and there were some tough bits at the start.  Walked through Cork forests and then into more Alpine Meadows.  We stopped for lunch on a hilltop with great views.   
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