Saturday 19th March 2016
This morning we dithered - not with cold, but about what to do! As we still had no wifi we could only check the weather forecast on our phones, but from what we could see it was for lots and lots of wet stuff over the next few days - starting about 3pm in the afternoon. However, the morning was bright and sunny so we didn't want to waste this last bit of good weather, therefore with that in mind, we discussed nipping back up into the hills to do a bit more cycling and then stopping at an Aire at Pola de Laviana. However, as our derrieres were still a bit delicate from our previous cycling adventure, that didn't overly appeal, so instead we decided to go on a scenic drive up into the Pico de Europa mountains.
John had spotted a mountain road with lots of twists, turns and hairpin bends on it that he fancied driving up, and as it was marked as a brown road on the map he felt the T4rdis and he would be well able to cope with it. We did also take into consideration the possibility of snow - we were fairly sure there would still be some hanging about at the top - but we thought by now it would be fairly minimal - WRONG!
We set off and drove away from Gijon via the motorway, but it wasn't long before we started to climb up the AS117 - a pleasant mountain road that was reasonably smooth and divided by a white line, thus giving us plenty of space. It took us towards Parque Natural de Redes and as we went we came across a resevoir - Embalse de Rioseco - the water appeared quite green but it was beautiful and had several waterfalls gushing into it, so it was here that we decided to have our coffee break.
Once our coffee was consumed we continued along the Puerto de Tarna (CL635) - a mountain pass, that passed The Embalse de Riano, another lovely body of water, but sadly here there was no where to stop. Then we noticed that the higher we were getting the narrower and rougher the road was becoming - and then the piles of snow on the road side began to appear, and at this point John said 'not to worry, we've only got about another 30kms to go to get to the top'!
Happily, the road was mostly clear of snow - there was just one place where a large amount had fallen back onto the road - but we managed to squeeze by, and then we spotted a little alcove that had been cut into the snow bank that allowed us to park. John wanted to play snowballs, so while he was out of the cab I quickly jumped into the driving seat and told him it was my turn to drive now!
But then we looked up and noticed the clouds were gathering, and although it wasn't particularly cold we did think we should move on and start our decent before any precipitation started to fall.
However, before we set off we remembered we hadn't had lunch so that forced to stop again - but this proved a bit difficult because most of the parking spaces were occupied by snow! By now we were well into the Picos de Europa National Park, and as we rounded another corner our breath was taken away by the awe inspiring view of the sun glinting off the top of a soaring snow covered mountain, and very conveniently, there was a parking space so we dived in. Lunch was soon ready and we sat chomping on our healthy salad leaves while we admired the fantastic view, and laughed at several people attempting to go for a walk wearing huge snow shoes - they didn't get very far!
Once lunch was eaten we really did feel that we shouldn't linger any longer so into gear went the T4rdis and off we went - down slightly better twisting turning mountain roads, through huge towering gorges and through several little snow covered villages. For most of the way we also had the company of the River Sella - to start with it was quite narrow but with the extra water from the snow melt it soon became a roaring tumbling torrent, but as we got lower it broadened out and became much quieter and wider with canoeists paddling along it's very pretty path.
We were now aiming for a camp site just outside the town of Ribadesella - we had nearly a fortnights worth of washing to sort and we thought it would be good to have internet access if we were going to be kept inside by the bad weather. It turned out to be a very good choice and has excellent facilities (but slow wifi) so we planned to stay for a couple of nights.
Sunday 20th March 2016
Well the weather forecast was right - the rain had hammered down all night and was continuing to persist this morning. Oh well, a good time to get chores done, so 2 lots of washing were soon whizzing round, and then most of it went straight into the tumble dryer so it was soon all out of the way. We also spent sometime planning our ongoing journey, some blogging, and a bit more just nattering, and I also Googled Ribadesella to enquire about it's interesting features. It's described as a beautiful coastal town with the Picos de Europa mountains behind it and the ocean at it's front, and with it's name being derived in part from the River Sella which cuts the town in half and then empties into the Bay of Biscay ocean.
|Borrowed from Google!|
It's other claim to fame is a canoe race that takes place there every year. It's held between the villages of Arriondas high up in the hills and Ribadesella and apparently hundreds of kayakers and canoeists come from all over the world to take part or to watch.
Anyway, later in the afternoon
Monday 21st March 2016
Well, we've got a bit of a bonus this morning - Sunshine after a whole night of rain - however, maybe it wont last! The campsite is described as having lovely views of the Pico de Europa mountains but they certainly aren't peeking out of the dense cloud that is hanging over them this morning!
Anyway, it doesn't really matter cos we're not stopping. This morning the T4rdis is just being prepared for launch towards Santander where John has picked out a pretty Aire that overlooks an elephant enclosure (just behind a big wildlife park) - just hope we're down wind of it!
So with our move, and as usual of late, we are unlikely to have any internet connection for the near future, so it's bye from us until we reach our next area of 21st century technology x
Click here to see our Spanish Camping spots