Monday, 21 March 2016

The Rain in Spain Falls Heavily on the North Coast!

The Rain in Spain Falls Heavily on the North Coast!

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'!

And it was more or less from there that as we got higher the snow got deeper and deeper and deeper - until in places in must have been at least 4 feet!   However, by this time both John and the T4rdis were thoroughly enjoying themselves - happily swinging and twisting around corners and hairpin bends, ducking overhanging rocky outcrops and squeezing in quickly to avoid the occasional oncoming vehicle! Me - I just hung on tightly and enjoyed what could only be compared to the biggest roller-coaster ride I've every been on!

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 we I got a bit bored so, as it had stopped raining,  I persuaded John that we should go for the 2kms walk down into the town so that I could take a few pics for the blog!  We donned our waterproof coats and off we went, and it was ok until we got there - then the heavens opened and the rain sluiced down.  Well, I was ok cos I was wearing sports trousers, so although they got wet they didn't really hold the water, but John - he was wearing heavy cotton trousers that were soon soaked through and clinging to his legs, and to make matters worse, the water was running off his jacket and cos his trousers were already so water logged it was going straight down his legs and pouring out into his shoes - by the time we got back to the T4rdis he was squelching loudly with every step and looked somewhat like a drowned rat - I'm not sure if he found it funny - but I did!

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