Travel StoriesNorthern Spain 2018
Spain Day 4 26th May
By Sharon Parker
The rain cometh last night battering the tent but I was snug in my new sleeping bag. The morning brings forth sunshine and the air is heavy with mists as the water returns to the skies in its never ending cycle. If the forecast is correct sadly this water will return this very day. However we are currently bathed in sunshine and I am always grateful to be able to decamp or camp up in the dry. It makes for a much more pleasant and relaxed camp experience. I really adore Camping La Viorna but we have other places to explore so it is time to move on.
Our planned destination is inland to Burgos and the out of town Campsite of Camping Puerta de la Demanda. We shall be riding from Potes in the Cantabrian province to Cervera de Pisuerga in the Palencia province. The provinces are divided by the Cantabrian mountain range and it is the twisty mountain pass that threads its way through this range that will be today's delight.
The CA184 leading from Potes does not disappoint. The twists and turns are so numerous even a slow learner such as I is getting so much practice that I am already beginning to improve my cornering skills. We turn onto the CL627 and the mountain pass winds it's way up to around 1350 metres above see level.
We spy a carpark and pull in for a stop. The Mirador De Piedrasluengus viewpoint has a wooden decking area from which to stand and admire the spectacular views of the nearby peaks.
The Piedrasluengus viewpoint
The Cantabrian mountains are composed of sedimentary rocks, primarily limestone with sandstone and shale. The limestone outcrops form fins or ridges that I think resemble the spines of crouched dragons or slumbering dinosaurs.
Can you see dragons?
The foothills of the mountains are densely forested. Beech groves dominate the highest altitudes giving way to more mixed woodland on the lower slopes. A rich diversity of trees reside here including Oak, Hazel. Chestnut, Walnut, Bay, Elm, Lime, Ash, Yew and Birch.
Forests of a dazzling variety of trees.
These dense forests and rugged peaks are home to Chamois, an agile goat-antelope with short hooked horns. There's wild boar and wild cats. Therer's also rare brown bears, reportedly around 60 in number and even rarer wolves around 20 in number also trying to find sanctuary here. The skies above are the kingdom of Griffon Vultures. I see non of this fauna but I know they are there somewhere hidden within the abundant flora.
What I do spot is my namesake on the map on display here. Pico de Las Lomas is a mountain within this range with a height of 2444 metres. My maiden name was Lomas. Lomas often appears as place and mountain names within Spain. My father had olive skin that tanned easily to a nut brown, which my sister inherited. I got the burn easy auburn haired skin of my mother. However like my sister I have the dark brown eyes and the B blood group of my father. Although rare in the UK B blood groups are common within the Mediterranean. Add this to my love of sunshine and high tolerance to heat I like to believe I am actually of Spanish decent. My sister on appearance often got taken as a local when we visited Spain in our youth. Plus I have to say I feel so very at home here.
If you look closely you can find me at home here.
Back on the bikes and the road continues to meander its way through the mountains to Cervera de Pisuerga. We stop here for a stretch and to hunt down a toilet. Cervera de Pisuerga is a pleasant small town situated 1000 metres above see level and surrounded by mountains and lakes. Located on ancient Roman roads the town still displays it's historic past. The squares stone columns date back to the 16th century. Fortunately this ancient town has modern facilities and a toilet is located within the tourist office.
Cervera de Pisuerga
As we return to the bikes the skies darken to a leaden grey. We pull on the waterproofs just in time and the heavens open. The roads straighten, the mountains flatten and the rain continues. Hmmm. We reach the outskirts of Burgos. It is a busy modern town. Shopping centres, high rises, traffic. HMMMM. This is not my idea of fun now. I hate riding in busy cities wherever they are in the world. We fuel up and then park up in a large carpark situated under a shopping mall. We can get something to eat here both for now and for cooking this evening.
McDonald's is heaving. Kids are everywhere and it suddenly dawns on me that this is the weekend. No wonder it is chaos. After waiting an age at the self service we find it doesn't like our foreign card. Arghhh. Ren then has to join the other queue at the counter while I hoover around the tables to try and find a spare seat. When one finally appears I have to race a small child to secure it but hey its McDonald's on a Saturday it's a warzone ok.
I am grateful to return to the bikes and get the hell out of town. I want to escape this cacophony of sounds and return to silence. There is note attached to Ren's bike warning us that we should not leave our bikes here loaded with our gear. It sends chills down my spine. Imagine if we had returned to our bikes completely stripped of all our camping gear and clothes. Imagine if we had returned to a empty parking bay, no bikes, nothing. I hate cities even more right now, I want out of here asap.
The rain has stopped but the skies still look uncertain so I keep the waterproofs on. I'm happy again once we leave the city behind. I saw a programme once about human's evolution. It said some humans today have a specific gene that enables them to live and feel comfortable in cities. The city gene made it easy to be relaxed in crowds and enclosed spaces. Some of us do not have the city gene. It doesn't take a genius to work out the I have a anti-city genes.
We reach our chosen campsite, a little apprehensive as to whether it will be open. It is, wahoo!
Campsite Puerta de la Demanda appears a little, well err ordinary after the splendid Caming La Viorna. But it is pleasant enough and is certainly quiet. There appears to be another guest in one of the wooden lodges but that is it, we have got the place pretty much to ourselves.
We can have any pitch we like here and no city gene required
As well as several lodges on site there are also large safari type tents for hire. There is a very handy onsite bar and restaurant and covered drying area for clothing. It is little touches like this that is always appreciated by the damp and weary traveller.
If you don't have your own tent it's no problem here.
After pitching up we decide to call into the bar for a drink. There is however something I must do first. After all I don't want to scare the locals. There is a very good reason why I was so delighted to find hair straighteners that could be charged from my bike. This reason is currently very obvious. The combination of a full day in a helmet and rain manage to transform me into Tin Tin.
Need I say more.
Today has been mixed, it started well but then got wet and a bit miserable in the city. However as we stroll back to the tent in the sunshine all is well again. If I could forever avoid cities and live within the peace and quiet of the countryside I would be very happy indeed.
Overall it's been another good day in Spain
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Building Up To España
In the prologue to their journey Ren can't help but feel that the forthcoming journey might be a costly disaster. Forever the optimist.
Getting Ready For Spain
Sharon is determined to be ready, organised and prepared for her forthcoming trip to Spain. However life is even more determined to ruin her plans.
Bodging Daaan Saaaf
Ren bears witness to an impossible event. Then there's some last minute bodging to be done.
Motorway Miles And Muses
Sharon's derriere proves more than tough enough for the big ride across England. Can she manage to lose them emotional luggage while securing her physical luggage though?
To The Ferry
What are the chances of Sharon getting out of bed very early twice in the same week. Well she'd better had otherwise the Muppet's will miss the ferry.
Sharon's more excited than nervous but this is the first time the Kwakker has been aboard ship. That's if customs let her on board.
Lost Off The Ferry
The great adventurer and motorcyclist Ren is proving that he is in fact a useless idiot. He can't ride and he can't find a campsite that is open. Oh what will become of the BAT muppets?
Sharon is having way too much fun while Ren is trying to find a place to sleep. Well someone has to be happy when Ren's such a grump.
Discovering The Picos
After a troublesome first day in Spain hopefully Sharon and Ren's luck will improve. Thing is they have a 187km detour to reach their destination. There have been worse detours though.
Putting fear and doubt to bed for a while Sharon enjoys the wondrous ecstasy of nature and the joy of riding a motorcycle through it. Oh and a lot of sharp corners too.
Rain In The Picos
Will the rain bring doom and gloom to the already grumpy Ren? Luckily there's enough scenery and interesting things to keep him going.
The Sound Of Silence
In spite of a dire weather forecast Sharon's day in Spain is filled with the beauty of nature, fond memories and the creation of great new memories.
Riding to Burgos
Is motorcycle touring a non stop stream of excitement, beauty, wonder and exploration? Erm, nope. It's a rather ordinary day on the road to Burgos.
It's both a good and bad day for Sharon as she travels from the delights of the mountains to the grim reality of the city and the rain. At least her hair is looking good.
Higher Than I've Ever Been
In spite of the weather forecasts. In spite of no longer being in The Picos. In spite of Ren being a pessimist. In spite of all this it seems Northern Spain has more delights in store.
Sharon's having another amazing day riding around Northern Spain. She's on a high, metaphorically and literally.
Boots And Burgos
Ren is suffering a footwear malfunction and it's time to go and do that city thing. Can Burgos convert Sharon and Ren into city lovers?
Sharon explores the city of Burgos, Spain. Architecture, stone masonry, pilgrims and tempting food. But can a city really endear itself to this country girl?
Lost In Luxury
How to turn a fortuitous and splendid day into a nightmare. Just follow Ren and he'll sort the rest out. Still, it could be worse.
Fearing the weather Sharon is braced for a drenching. Thing is the weather isn't really the problem.
Gritty Northern El Bierzo
There's time to explore a different part of Northern Spain today. It might not have the beauty of The Picos De Europa it is however a fascinating area.
Blink Of An Eye
Sharon has an interesting day poking around north west Spain. There's a something of a shock in store for the evening.
Back To Beauty, Dodgy Caravan
It's time for the dynamic muppets to saunter their way back towards the ferry and Ren is in reflective mood. Wonderful scenery, weird accommodation.
The Good, The Bad And The Musty
It's a day of confusing emotions for Sharon, but life is for living. Will this evening's accommodation be as luxurious as the previous evening's?
While going to a now familiar town is hardly intrepid at least it means Ren is calm, chilled out and not lost. For once.
Head In The Clouds
Sharon is calmed by the wonders of Northern Spain's wondrous scenery as she returns to the comforts of Potes.
Sun, Sand, Sea And Santander
The weather has improved now it's time for the dynamic muppets to head back to the ferry. Ren is intrigued by stories or walking across Northern Spain, will we see "Walks And Travels" or W.A.T.?
Splish Splash Santander
The beauty and grandeur of the The Picos means Sharon does not want to leave, ever. It's back to the city, ready to sail home. Fear not, there's still pleasures to be found.
The Ferry Home
It's the dynamic muppet's last day in Spain so it's time to catch the ferry. A mixture of sadness and relief for Ren, but what about the other riders in the queue?
Final Thoughts On Spain
Ren crosses the T's and dots the I's on the Spanish trip.
Ian Soady said :-
I wasn't sure which were the before and after pics from using the straighteners. Think yourself lucky you have something to straighten.....
16/7/2018 1:58:20 PM UTC
Ross said :-
I don't recall Tin Tin giving rude hand gestures to camera! :)
I like the image of you "hoover"ing around McDonalds and doing battle with the local kids for a seat.
Looking forward to the next instalment.
18/7/2018 11:03:54 AM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
HA! Yeah upon re-looking at the picture I can see where you're coming from Ross. I'd like to assure readers that Sharon is not in the business of making lewd gestures and this was an unfortunate coincidence.
However in the privacy of our own company Sharon does call me some very rude names. Perhaps this is because I am indeed an annoying little...
18/7/2018 12:06:05 PM UTC
Sharon said :-
Haa yes it is true that I should be grateful I have hair enough to stick up on end.
I had to stare at the pic for ages trying to figure at what was rude about it. I did eventually twig but in my defence the length if took me to see it shows my complete innocence.
18/7/2018 6:13:57 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
She's so naive Ross.
18/7/2018 7:29:41 PM UTC
Ian Soady said :-
I think the word is "innocent"......
20/7/2018 1:58:30 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
She can't be that innocent Ian, she feels guilty about everything.
21/7/2018 6:39:17 AM UTC
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Travel StoriesNorthern Spain 2018