Monday, July 11, 2011

Picos de Europa - Ruta del Cares, pt. 1

We are living at sea level here in Ribadesella, but just south of us are the Picos de Europa mountains and within them, Parque National.  Torre de Cerredo, the highest peak in the Picos, rises to 2,648 meters.  
Carlos made a plan for us to hike the Ruta del Cares from Posada de Valdeón to Poncebos, a distance of 16 - 17 km.  (The views were amazing...remember to double click on pictures to enlarge them.)

We met up in the morning, walked over to the bus station and took the bus through Arriondas, Congas de Onis and on to the little pueblo of Posada de Vadleón.  The drive was about an hour and a half, incredibly scenic and very windy.  We started hiking at about 11:45AM and would get the return bus at Poncebos at 7PM.  The same bus driver picked us up in the evening.  We joked that we had a private bus because there was no one on the bus with us for the trip through the mountains in both directions.

The bus station is the low-lying building on the right.  Church tower visible at far left.

The bus station vending machine.  Not what one would find in the US next to the Kit Kats, that's for sure!  Interesting given the Catholic religion here.

A small pueblo along the road.

Roman bridge, Cangas de Onis
Getting carsick, no more pictures from the bus.

We got off of the bus at Posada de Valdeón to find the trailhead.  Carlos asked directions a few times as we walked through town.  Much of the time we walked along roads as the trail crossed back and forth.  I felt as if we had traveled back in time here.
House, circa 1926

This looks more modern to me and yet old at the same time.
An horreo from 1900.  Traditional storage building for grains and produce.
A note on horreos:  These traditional storage buildings can be seen all over Asturias, in various conditions.  Some are abandoned and some are kept up.  They are valued as a piece of Asturian history and may not be torn down.

Mausoleum on the edge of town.
Heading out of town.
The next very small pueblo in the distance.
Other than a small pueblo in the distance, we would not encounter another town until Caín, 3 to 4 km away.  I could hardly believe the landscape we were entering.  Carlos commented that the weather was not very nice because of the clouds but I thought the clouds and mountains together were beautiful.  And the temperature was just cool enough to make for a very comfortable day of hiking.

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