Welcome to the final, part three of the Michael Marks diaries! These are reproduced with the kind permission of Michael who travelled in July last year on a tailored Picos self drive holiday.
Alex, Pura Aventura's star guide in the Picos de Europa
Hotel change day so we packed, had breakfast and said our goodbyes to Javier and set off to Cangas to walk around the Sunday market. There was lots of local produce and especially hams, beans and cheeses. We bought a couple of presents and a fun tablecloth for the kitchen. We sat and had a coffee to watch the world go by. Then we drove off to find our new hotel, 3km south of Llanes.
We drove cross country rather than the main north coast road. When we reached our village La Pereda there was a lot of people roaming around in traditional Asturian costume, celebrating the local saint’s day.
We drove straight to the hotel where we were greeted by a charming long bearded man who spoke English and showed us to our suite. Wow! What a suite….it was huge and beautifully furnished. Probably the finest hotel room I have ever stayed in.
We then walked around the hotel gardens which were also large and very beautiful and examined the pool, which wasn’t so great.
After we unpacked it was down to the village to look at the fair and saw the local dancing accompanied by a bagpipe player and drummers. Yes, it is very Celtic around here. This was fun and we have a hot dog and a couple of beers in the beer tent. The locals (apart from those in Asturian costume) all seemed like they could have easily been transposed into Hove Rugby Club. I felt quite at home.
We came back to the hotel where I slept for a couple of hours and Hill read her book in the garden until we went down for dinner.
There were three or four families with young kids and the room and service was beautiful. We both had Asturian onion soup to start (not as good as French) but lovely nevertheless. Hilary had chicken and I had meatballs which was delicious. I then had ‘sweet milk’ ice cream with berries and I have to say that was a fantastic taste so that’s one to have again tomorrow.
At 11ish we went to bed but could hear live music at the saint’s day festival. We should have gone but we were tired…the music went on until after 4am!!! A restless night was had by all.
Managed to sleep late and had a later breakfast than usual which was splendid with a vast choice. Had a little kip before setting out to find a beach – we plumped for one and duly took our towels down and hoped that the sun would fight its way through the clouds. It didn’t.
We left the beach and had some water in a beach bar then went to the other side of Llanes to find another beach, which we did – but it wasn’t so nice. We decided to come back to the hotel and chill out/sleep…all the previous days’ walking had taken its toll on me.
Had a terrific dinner again and met a farmer (John) and his wife (Mary) from North Wales. They were in their 70s, were keen golfers and could talk the hind legs off a donkey. In fact, he used to breed donkeys. We sat and chatted until 12.30 then went to bed.
It was dull again so we decided to drive to Santander and have a look around. It was over 100km away and we got there fine but it was impossible to park in the centre so we drove to the beach as the sun had come out.
We had a walk along the prom and sunbathed on the lovely but crowded beach for a couple of hours until it got overcast again.
Back to the hotel and our beautiful suite in which to relax. Had another splendid meal and chatted again to Mary and John.
It had rained overnight and was dull. Decided to do an easy two hour walk down a river valley flanked by chestnut trees.
So got ready and jumped into the car for what was advertised as a two hour walk. We bought a few items in a local village and drove off to find Rio Casano. The walk started in a tiny village quite high up. We walked down a track to the riverside. It was a beautiful walk to start, with large trees and a fast running river. It was overcast and the walk was quite easy until we came to the tree trunk bridge over the river.
Hill went first as she didn’t want to turn around to close the gate at the start. She walked across slowly and carefully without any problem but I didn’t like it, especially as the log was a bit damp. I got some of the way across then lost my bottle and scampered and ran across the rest….I made it but it wasn’t very stylish or safe. When we got to the other side the walk took a bit of a downturn.
The path became much less pronounced and we found ourselves walking through ferns over head high in the now pouring rain. We got to a clearing and ate our crisps, chocolates and nectarines and decided to go back.
When we got back to the tree trunk bridge Hilary once again negotiated it perfectly but I decided to take my chance crossing the river at a shallow bit further along. I got slightly wet feet but it was well worth it. The trip took almost 4 hours.
We drove back to spend our last evening in our beautiful hotel and suite. Lovely bottle of wine and a meal of black paella.
Home we go after an absolutely wonderful holiday.
Read part one of Michael’s Picos diaries.
Read part two of Michael’s Picos diaries.
Find out more about Pura’s holidays to the Picos de Europa.