Still here – Posada de Valdéon, Picos de Europa National Park, Spain

Last night we got an early night, planning to hit the road early in the morning to depart. Whilst we were sat in the van, other motorhome kept arriving, finding the place full due to the busy Easter weekend and turning round. Unfortunately, Conchi, our nice taxi driver lady bore the brunt of the about turns, as one motorhome reversed into the back of her taxi 😫 Kev went out to help. The cracked tailgate light was able to be replaced and held in place with the ever useful gaffer tape. The additional scratches etc meant the apparently very long process of exchanging insurance details on what appeared to be a pre-prepared form.

We heard more vehicles moving around at 10pm and beyond and resolved not to try and tackle the roads on one of the busiest days of the year the next day, but to stop another night. Sure enough when we woke early in the morning and opened the blinds, there was another motorhome in touching distance outside our window. It and at least half a dozen more had created some additional spaces than planned in the municipal campsite. We thought that parking at the end of a row with a great view was a good plan. Apparently, not so much

However, we figured it was likely a hard working family who had worked Thursday before the bank holiday weekend and driven the 2 hours into the mountains to find no space. We figured they weren’t hurting us and let them stay. Hopefully someone will move during the day and give them a more level pitch.

Therefore today we decided to take a hike from the village. The route actually joins the same Ruta de Cares we took yesterday but further up river. We found the start of the route in our exploration on the first day, so rejoined that route after breakfast aiming to get to the Mirador de Tombo (viewpoint) which looks down over the Cares valley.

We we followed the route through fields with mountains each side, passing the lake and free roaming horses (“Caballo” as per my Spanish homework told me before we left). It was a lovely walk on a well marked track. We hit the road to cross to Cordinañes village when we realised that the track led to the village only, not the viewpoint we wanted to see. We had passed an apparent fork in the track a couple of hundred yards back (uphill obviously). So Kev decided we must have to go back there for the viewpoint. I suggested Google Maps, but he was sure, the previous track leading to the highest point locally, where you would expect a viewpoint to be. Well after a scramble through brush and bramble up a goat track, expecting to find the road past the mirador, in fact we found the top of a hill with gorse the other side. We could see the road many meters below us in the distance. On the plus side, we saw what we can only imagine was a golden eagle (they do live hereabouts) soaring in the thermals above us. Obviously we were far to slow to get a photo.

Kev scrambled up to the highest point which looked liked just the sort of place you would see wolves howling in front of a full moon (see yesterdays post, there are wolves in these here woods), I hung back expecting we had found the lair. Anyway, it was apparently a sheer drop with the mirador many meters below us beyond, so we switched back to try and find a route down. We eventually made it to a field, with a fence between us and the road. We skirted along the fence to go back to the exact path we had left approximately 40 mins earlier!. Sure enough we turned left at the road and the mirador was about 100m further round 🙄🤣😫

We went and took the obligatory photos at the mirador, though to be fair the view was better higher up where we had come from. We followed the track back towards the village finding ourselves literally 5 yards on from where we had doubled back. Though, to be fair there was no sign for the mirador there. We decided against going back downhill to go into the village, having drive through the day before. Instead as the dogs were hot we opted to return home back on the track.

We had brought water for the dogs and they had already emptied a 500ml bottle but they obviously wanted a dousing to cool down so we headed back to a natural stream which fed into a grill across the track. There was a horrible algae filled trough which Lola has tried to investigate on the way out and fallen into much to her surprise but we opted for the cleaner version. Further along They both had a good soak on the way back and everyone was happy. We followed the route into the village which was soon in sight, we only paused once in surprise when we heard what sounded like thunder in amongst blue skies and no clouds. We looked around but it appeared to come from the mountains, it could only have been a big rockfall, though we could not see it from where we were.

By now it was lunchtime and we were feeling we had earned some food from our hill climbing and about 5 miles of walking. We had planned to try Pension Bergona next to the bar. Google maps said it would be open, but the tables were laid and doors closed. We contented ourselves with a drink at the bar in the sun and some great free tapas while we waited.

Eventually some sort of chiller repair van came and went and doors opened. We managed to get a table for 2pm, so contented ourselves to another beer whilst we waited. At 2pm we managed to get the last table on the terrace. We were verbally offered 3 options for starter and three for main, for no written menu. Luckily I was able to have two veggie starters. Vegetable soup followed by red bean soup which was more of a casserole. Both were brought out in a terrine and ladled out in front of you with some lovely local bread. Kev had grilled pork for his main. It was certainly the closest to home cooked Spanish food we had come across and was delicious with a glass or two of a fruity red labelled for the restaurant. Desert was either Crème caramel (house speciality which we ate compulsively whilst sailing and Kev had to try), I ordered the fruit, which turned out to be literally an apple served on a plate with a knife. Just perfect.

It’s now 3.30pm. I am sat in the sun with the dogs writing up the blog (outside chairs etc are strictly prohibited on the campsite, but we were literally the only ones without them, including the illegally parked vans, so why not?!). Quiet afternoon a bit of reading and Spanish lessons before a second attempt to get an early night and early get away.

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