Mountain mania!

It all started more or less as we reached Sena de Luna, a sleepy little village. So sleepy, that with about 450 inhabitants it doesn’t even have its own shop. Great scenery but no food. Anyway, there is a lovely campsite near by called Rio Luna, which is managed by an older couple. He is rather lovely, she not at all. The views from the site where stunning, and the mountains were yet again making an impression on us.

We explored the village and surrounding area, did some river swimming, mountain road biking and socialising with the ‘muchly Dutchlies’ next to us.

The following day we woke to a beautifully misty morning, and air so crisp and clear like you won’t believe. Some of you will know this feeling when you step outside, it’s a bit chilly with the first traces of Autumn in the air that make your lungs feel so alive when breathing in. The skin on your face feels like you’ve been kissed by a snowflake, and the mist cloud in front of your eyes hangs in the air with no effort at all. It’s only there to enhance this morning scenery. The sun burnt it off in no time, but it looked truly magical with these mountains in the background.

A while later we were ready and left the camp. On route to Pola de Somiedo we drove right in the middle of mountain as well as bear country.

After all, it’s a National Park for a reason, the views to, and in Somiedo were breathtaking and we found a lovely little campsite right in the middle of the town, were we were lucky and got a discounted rate. It was then that we realised that we forgot my bikini, one of Alex’s underpants, a dish towel as well as our blue mini towel in Sena de Luna, hanging on a tree to try. Oh well, you lose some, you win some (O’Neil board shorts!).

Turns out this town is even smaller than the last, with about 242 inhabitants, and two (!) little grocery stores. It lays in the Asturias region, which we declare our favorite region of Spain so far. I think we all can agree, that mountains are incredibly humbling and a true nature spectacle, but oh boy these Asturian giants are nature’s eye candy. Sadly we didn’t get to see any bears, but at least a great artwork of a bear, and we take what we can get.

So far we’ve already met a lot a super friendly and helpful humans on this trip, and that evening we met yet another one. Bart is a lovely Polish guy, who travelled across Spain and parts of Portugal on his motorcycle, and was now on his way back to the UK, where his home is for now. We had a super night listening to great stories, and supporting the Spanish economy by emptying several beer bottles. That’s how we roll. As our paths went opposite directions the next day, it was sad to say goodbye. Before we left Bart showered us with lots of food, he said he won’t get to finish it all before catching the ferry the next day. We made a group photo, said our goodbyes and left. Making these incredible connections to truly kind people, is one of the best things about travelling, and certainly restores our faith in humanity.

Our next destination was Entrago, and will most definitely remain one of our favorites. Again the drive was stunning, offering great views, wild horses and baby cows.

In Entrago we came across a parking lot with a decent sized field attached to it, as well as a loo and shower block. As we arrived the place was buzzing with people, there were cyclists, hikers and climbers all over the place. Who would have thought that a parking lot can have such a positive vibe.

Because of our set up, we firstly were most overjoyed by the accessability of the earlier mentioned loo block. However, after having a quick look around we saw, that there went a path directly into the mountains, called Senda del Oso, which means Path of the Bear. As we cycled down there, it was without exaggeration one of the most stunning views I had ever beheld. The mountains shot out of the ground, right next to the path, there were climbers hanging on the steep rock surface, like monkeys on trees.

We were enchanted. Out of one, possibly two nights became five. There was just too much to see and do, that we just couldn’t leave. We cycled and hiked, found little amphibians and swam in the river. Right there in this valley, we found a little piece of paradise.

On my birthday we cycled up a super steep mountain, we made it 3km up until we resigned, enjoyed the views and particularly the ride back down.

Alex took me out for a birthday dinner in the evening, which was such a treat, as we never go out for food to safe money. So we went into St. Martin the neighbouring town, and found a lovely little restaurant called Casa Laureano Teverga. We had a super delicious 3 course meal including a drink for €10. What a great deal! We also met the owner, Laureano, who took the restaurant over from his dad. He showed us into the kitchen, as he just chopped up some meat, and was in the middle of cooking one of his delicious dishes. So if you ever happen to be in St. Martin, please do yourself a favor and check out this lovely restaurant. It really is worth it.

Back in the parking lot we spotted two Austrian cars, which was very exciting for me, being Austrian myself. They even came from the same city as I do, it couldn’t get much better. I mean, Austria is a small country, and we’ve already been to a lot of places, so let me tell you, you don’t see my country people all that often around the globe. When we got chatting to Magda and her friend, it turned out that they were also here to climb, as these mountains are a climbers paradise. She offered to take me climbing, as we had the same shoe size, and she was happy to let me have a go. So one afternoon we started off, it was us girls, James an English man, Carter a Kiwi and Alex, he is South African but I think you know that by now. We went down this lovely picturesque path, but instead of stopping by the first climbing wall, we headed further and started hiking up a mountain. A really steep mountain, through shrubs, gravel and thorns, with a long way down on our left, and nothing to stop you from falling. Oh and did I mention, I only had flip flops and Alex only had his sandals… we’re up for anything, in any footwear, in case you were wondering. I was really proud of Alex, as I know he is afraid of heights, but hiked up with us all the same being really brave. Once up there we were rewarded with an even more glorious view than from below.

We watched these guys for a while, climbing up these walls like spider monkeys. Our respect grew by the second, and we were seriously impressed by their performance.

Then it was my go, Magda secured my harness, and showed me what knot to use to secure the rope. I squeezed into these climbing shoes, which was slightly painfull, as they seem to be designed to be a size too small. Finally I made my way up this wall, adrenaline was rushing through my veins, a bit further up I turned to check out the view, and a combination of excitement and fear rushed through me as I looked down. It was an incredible feeling and I wished I could have climbed further, but my feet were too sore. As it turns out, I struggled more with coming back down, than going up. I was scared to lean into the harness/rope, and couldn’t get my head around the fact, that it’s OK to lean back when you’re clinging 10 meters high up onto a mountain wall. Once I made it work though, it was a wicked feeling.

Turns out this was the last night in Entrago for all of us, so we said our thank yous (in my case particularly), and goodbyes in the morning. Again, we had this by now quite familiar feeling of sadness and a reluctance to leave the connections behind, that we made these last few days.

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