Thursday, September 17, 2009

Somiedo National Park

Today dawned quite a bit clearer so after breakfast, we headed out with sack lunches to hike Somiedo National Park. After about an hour drive and a pit stop in Saliencia at a small bar, Cafe Raquel, where Steve and Judy had cafe con leche so we could all use the servicios and Judy tried to chat up the surly twin brothers, we arrived at the pass on the border of Asturia and Castille-Leon.

We hiked off on a jeep road into the rugged terrain which until recently had been home to a large mining operation. Now, there's hardly a trace after a comprehensive effort to restore the area. Once we got past the former mine site, we took off through alpine pastures, complete with sheep, cows and, yes, cow pies.

Because the weather seemed to be threatening, we topped just short of our intended destination of an overlook above Lago del Valle and its valley. We ate and after considering our options, decided to head back.

Of course, on the way back, the weather began to lift so we took a little detour to see Lago de la Calabazosa which we think means lake of the prison cell. After getting back to the van (20 kilometers later) where we marveled at the snow on the Pena Ubina, we headed down a dirt road (in a 9 passenger van) to Torrestio (pop. 8) where we stopped at a bar for a tempranillo and a plate of the local cheeses and meats.

Back to Hotel Fuentes de Lucia where a couple of hours later, Juan Carlos prepared a dinner of tapas, chorizo, sauteed pimientos, mushrooms and ham, mista salad, cheese and bread. And of course, the omnipresent vino tinto.

Tomorrow, a light hike and a cooking lesson. Paella!

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