On the way to the Picos de Europa

Finally summer, holidays and time to travel with the caravan !

Our destination this summer is the north of Spain. Especially the Picos de Europa, an impressive mountain range close to the atlantic in the provinces of Asturias, Cantabria and Leon.


We leave Valencia, knowing that our cats are in the loving hands of little Oliver and his family.

We take the free highway to Sagunt and then turn north west passing Teruel, where we had been before – a very interesting town!

At Calamocha we leave the highway and follow the Jiloca River west passing Daroca – worth a visit too, and Catalayud until we reach Soria.

We head for the Monasterio San Juan de Duero, which is an abandond monastery which has some impressive arches – but we came at the wrong time and it is closed.
(Parking at the monastery: 41.767793, -2.454069)

Instead we take a walk along the Duero, one of the most important rivers of Spain. It is a hot and sunny day and there are many people enjoying it along the river. We reach a bridge, cross the river and head down the other shore until we reach an old bridge to cross back.

Duero River next to Soria
Bridge over Duero River at Soria

We drive past Soria and head to the Embalse de la Cuerda del Pozo, where at Playa Pita we stopped for the night. (Caravan Parking: 41.853247, -2.787091)

We first explore the surroundings before we go for a swim. When all the day visitors are gone, we enjoy a glass of wine in front of the caravan with the view over the lake.

Embalse de la Cuerda del Pozo

Official Caravan Parking at the lake

During the night a thunderstorm came and in the morning it is foggy, so we do some work on the computer and leave when the fog has disappeared.
Past Salas we drive west into Burgos Province with our first stop at Santa Maria de Quintanilla de las Viñas, one of the last surviving Visigoth churches of Spain, and what an impressive one. It is believed to contain the earliest representation of Christ in Spanish religious art as it was propably built in the 7th century.
The church is closed but the reliefs on the outside, especially if you consider their age, are just unbelievable beautiful. (42.124696, -3.472810)

Santa Maria de Quintanilla de las Viñas

 In the area are many dino prints to admire, we stop at one and compare the size:

We drive some kilometers back and into the valley of the Arlanza river to reach the abandoned Benedictine monastery of San Pedro de Arlanza. The valley is beautiful and the monastery is closed (we are getting used to that slowly).
(42.049550, -3.466824)

Arlanza valley

Monastery of San Pedro de Arlanza

Colony of vultures in the valley

We reach Covarrubias, where we admire its medival timber-framed houses. Princess Cristina of Norway who traveled from Tønsberg to Spain in 1257 to marry Philip of Castile is buried here.

Covarrubias
Entrance to the old town of Covarrubias

We drive on to Burgos, where we stop at Decathlon (sports shop) to get one of our bikes repaired. While waiting we find some things at the shop we like, so the bill increases with the minute.

We have lunch just at the parking there, as the two of us hungry easily get into a fight, so we better avoid that.
We pass Burgos, which we have visited before, and drive north in direction of  Escalada onto a plateau at over 1.000 masl, snow poles at the side of the road, and then down into a valley which astounds us.

Rock formations at Orbaneja del Castillo

Orbaneja del Castillo
 
Orbaneja del Castillo


(
Orbaneja del Castillo: 42.834212, -3.792147)

It was already getting late, but we drove on until Aguilar de Campoo, where we didn’t choose the oficial caravan parking but drove to the dam where we parked next to the reservoir, which was 10 meters under its normal level. (Parking: 42.800239, -4.288663)

The next morning we drove into town and found a parking to go to the weekly market. We stocked up on fruits, vegetable, cheese and bread for our time in the mountains. (Parking: 42.791145, -4.266732)


Aguilar de Campoo



We drive west until Guardo and then north into the mountains with the first pass of many to come: Puerto Picones at 1.316m. We passed Portilla de la Reina and drove up to Puerto de Pandetrave – 1.562m – from where we have an impressive view over the Picos de Europa. 


Picos de Europa



We reach Posada de Valdeon after driving about 1.000km in total and are now in the mountains! 
(official caravan parking: 43.152339, -4.91765)


More about this beautiful and so different area of Spain in the next post!



 

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