Spanish Style

May 292017 0 Responses

Segovia – stunning last stop

Segovia – chosen by default as close to Madrid airport.  We had wanted to finish up with another walking destination as neither of us are city lovers, but Segovia is so well situated, only an hour from Madrid and what a history we found.

A small walled pedestrianised village with a Roman aqueduct that is nearly a kilometre long!  So large in fact that you can’t get it all in a photo.  The stones aren’t even set in mortar!  Be sure to visit the museum which has a fabullus exhibition on the aqueduct and how it was built.

Segovia is steeped in history – churches, plaza, castle and very good shopping all in one little town.  Not to mention the Palace and gardens of Jardines del Palacio de San Ildefonso with its 20-odd fountains which is only 12km away and makes for a pleasant day trip.

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May 292017 0 Responses

Leon and the Camino

Our last two stops enroute to Madrid were south through Leon and Segovia.

As we approached Leon the “pilgrims” on the Camino became more obvious.  Now and then as we crossed the Trail we had seen a few walkers, but Leon and it’s Parador is a real highlight for many people travelling the Camino.

Our hotel for the next couple of nights (courtesy of a great special) was the Parador which had originally been built many centuries ago to care for pilgrims on the Camino.  If you look up Trip Advisor or the reviews are predominantly by Caminos who are breaking their journey here.  They made an interesting sight at dinner with their walk shorts/lightweight trousers  and then their sandals poking out from underneath the heavy linen floor length tablecloths.   Beautifully uniformed staff carrying their packs to the rooms.  I’m sure the Caminos were only too willing to give their bags up, if only to the distance to their room!

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May 292017 0 Responses

Cute Cudillero

In between mountainous villages we took a break in the tiny village of Cudillero.  The Lonely Planet mentioned how cute this place was and that it is swamped in summer with tourists.  Well – it is obvious why.  Cute is the only word for this tiny fishing village.  Well worth an overnighter in spring or autumn when the tourist traffic is low.

This Pic. Is taken from our apartment high in the village.  No road access. On the same narrow strip lived three old ladies in their 90’s. – the adage ” use it or lose it” reigns here.  I asked our hostess how they got their food etc.  she told me that they all go to the supermarket EVERY day whether they really need to or not.  Partly to keep the legs going and to have a good gossip.  The supermarket was a good twenty minutes away on our 50yr old legs, and you had to go Down and Up again to get there….

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May 292017 Tagged with , , , , 0 Responses

North to Potes, Cantabria

From Montesinho, northern Portugal we moved through the rain to the mountains of Potes.  We couldn’t complain as this was the first rain we had experienced in over a month.

From the sparse mountains of Montesinho, over the border just ten minutes away, we travelled through countryside that looked very much like Waiouru!  Bare with only a few settlements and lots of gorse.  This soon gave way to rivers and green hillsides.

After a hot meal en route we came across fields and fields of wild daffodils just below Riano.   Not just little miniature alpine Daffs like we had seen on our hikes, but quite large ones similar to what we would grow in our gardens at home in New Zealand.  How amazing.  The rain didn’t keep us in the car long!  I’m sure the locals thought we were completely mad – but then that wouldn’t be the first time.

Potes turned out to be all it said in the guide books.  The perfect base for exploring the east side of the Picos.  We were here four nights and could easily have stayed seven if the weather had been better.  Luckily the next morning dawned fine, sunny and slightly warmer.  We drove to the Fuente De chair lift just before 9am – it’s only 20mins drive from Potes – and found ourselves the only ones there apart from the staff.  What a huge bonus.  We were the first on the mountain and had it all to ourselves!  Gentians greeted us the minute we left the buildings and by the time we had completed the short climb to the top the day was perfect and not a breath of wind.  So, so, so lucky.

The next five hours were spent drifting down the mountainside tripping from one patch of alpine flowers to the next, occasionally taking a breath to enjoy the splendour of the soaring peaks around us.

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