Spain Archives

Living it up in Spain…

Algar FallsI’ve been a bit neglectful about writing lately but have a good excuse… I have been sitting sunning myself in Spain for ten days!

Okay that’s actually a not very good excuse at all and isn’t this blog supposed to be about tough endurance type things anyway- not sunbathing, gentle walks along the beach front and dipping into a lovely cool pool?

Well yes but it’s also good to take a little time out once in a while (although along with the cruise I have been taking more time out than most!) My Dad lives in the Costa Blanca region, in the lovely Spanish town of Catral, so the plan was to spend some quality time with him and my step mum.

It wasn’t all sunbathing though- we did do our share of walking and exploring. I also took myself off for cool evening walks around the town, watching the late evening light turn the mountains purple and spotting bats flittering around my head as they hungrily gulped insects.

We took the train to the city of Elche, known for its extensive palm groves, the scale of which could only be truly appreciated when we climbed the narrow twisting stairway to the top of the bell tower of the Basilica de Santa Maria. They were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000 and are a delight to wander through.

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Chasing the Naranjo de Bulnes, Picos de Europa

Naranjo de BulnesThe Naranjo de Bulnes, literally the ‘Orange of Bulnes’, had acquired a somewhat legendary status amongst our trekking group. It’s Asturian name is Picu Urriello, and it is one of the best known sights of the Picos de Europa mountain range in Northern Spain– a huge monolith of limestone rock, towering over the tiny isolated mountain village of Bulnes.

There are many view points from which to appreciate it, but thanks to several days of rain and low cloud, we hadn’t yet had so much of a glimpse. But that was to change today, or so we hoped…

The day had started off clear and sunny, so we bundled our packs into our tour leader, Juan’s, four wheel drive and started climbing the rough zig zag path to the Pandebano Col, which was to be the starting point for our quest. Abandoning the car, we leapt out and walked uphill through green meadows, noticing with some consternation that the cloud had already started to hide the tops of the mountains surrounding us, begrudgingly allowing the sun to shine through from time to time to spotlight the valley far below.

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Walking the Cares Gorge- Picos de Europa

Cares GorgeThe spectacular Cares Gorge was created by glacial waters carving a deep ravine separating the Western and Eastern massifs of the Picos de Europa mountains in northern Spain. The sparking waters of the river Cares now rush and bustle their way along the bottom of the gorge, but in 1916 it was decided to divert some of the water along a canal blasted out of the cliff face to feed the hydro-electricity station at Poncebos. An access path was created at the same time, and although originally intended to service the canal it has become a hugely popular walk.

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