We've embraced the 'Slow' philosophy as a way of life - what's the hurry?. Taking time to smell the roses (usually on a glass of Viognier) is more our style. Having spent more then 3 years on the road, slow travel has become a way of life. We have revised our plans completely and now focus on quality, not quantity, slowly.
We are now in
Santiago, the destination of the famed pilgrim trail ‘Camino de Santiago de
Compostela’. OK so we didn’t walk here, but I have a great excuse. We’ve
enjoyed watching the ‘pilgrims’ along the way and admired their steadfast
determination to keep going in the drizzle and even heavy rain, rather than pop
into the nearest Tapas bar and stay there. (This is of course what we would
digress. We left you in Rioja and from there headed for the ‘Picos de Europa’,
a small but stunning mountain range in northern Spain.
Had a lovely
stopover in Burgos on the way, where we met Peter and Nia from the UK and their
border terriers, Colin and Penny. The dogs spent the evening sitting on our
laps, very pleased with themselves. Burgos has wonderful cycle tracks, making
it easy to get around and see the sights, mainly a massive cathedral and loads
of bars in a characterful old quarter.
Bought some new wellies in Burgos - plastic, shiny and leopard skin pattern!!!
The road into
the Picos was a challenge, but Hilda the Hymer, averaging 35kms per hour, made
it to Potes without mishap. The landscape was very dramatic - jagged granite ridgelines,
sweeping valleys, deep gorges, pretty streams, all bathed in soft autumn hues.
The Road in the Picos
was sensational, with views to die for and horses to feed. Actually the horses
were very cheeky and knew how to beg for food over the fence, and of course me
being a sucker, bought them a bag of carrots, and Lawrence fed them our
Our beautiful campsite
View from the our spot.
We did a bit of
walking, but the ankle still prevents me from doing too much, so we were happy
to wander around Potes and walk up to the Monastery, famous for a scrap of the
true cross. The faithful come up here by the busload to glimpse a piece of wood
encased in silver and gold, that was allegedly part of the cross that Himself
was nailed to. I remain sceptical.
Town of Potes
Out next stop
was, surprisingly, an obscure wine region, El Bierzo, where they make wine from
traditional local varieties. Reds from Mencia, and whites from Godello and Doña
Blanca. We popped into a Bodega late on a Friday afternoon, whilst they were
celebrating the completion of vintage and were so surprised by a couple of tourists
from Australia popping in, that we got the grand tour. They opened a bottle of their top wine for us
to taste and gave us the remainder to take home for dinner. Of course Lawrence
felt obliged to buy 6 bottles of their very well made wine.
From there we
headed to Leon, but the weather was terrible, 8 degrees and raining. There is
no campsite within cooee, so we were obliged to spend the night in a municipal
carpark (legally). It was like sleeping in Luna Park. The cathedral is worth seeing
for the stained glass windows, quite extraordinary, but really you wouldn’t go
out of your way to see the city.
Next stop was
Lugo – renowned for fully intact Roman Walls.
Well we roamed the roman walls in Hilda the Hymer, around and around,
but couldn’t find anywhere to park, so just abandoned the idea of lunch in Lugo
and headed to Santiago.
As there are so
few campsites in Galicia, we have decided to spend a week or two here and hire
a cheap car to see the NW coast.