Thursday, August 7, 2014
Good morning Santillana del Mar from Casa del Marques:
Breakfast is a leisurely affair served in the garden.
I LOVE this floor!
We pack it up after breakfast and make our way to today’s destination – Covadonga and the Picos de Europa. Along the way a stop is made in Comillas to take a gander at a very unusual “summer home” designed and built by Gaudi. The Capricho de Gaudi ishas a great history that I am not going to go into here. Please click here to find out more.
The Picos de Europa await so we scoot on over to Covadonga and check in early to our digs for the night – Casa Aspron. It is a lovely guesthouse run by a wonderful couple and is just the sort of place you would envision in this beautiful setting.
The proprietor at Casa Aspron tells us that if we want to see the Covadonga Lakes in the Picos de Europa we need to leave right away. She says that in the afternoon the fog rolls in and if we wait, we might not be able to see anything. Our bags are dropped and we roll. Fortunately our guest house is the closest one to the entrance of the National Park and we have secured one of the limited vehicle access passes in order to get in.
As we ride along the winding road the landscape gets more gorgeous with every kilometer. Rich and I have no idea what to expect and around every turn is a surprise. Finally we get a glimpse of one of the lakes:
The car is quickly parked and we set off to explore on foot. There are cows literally everywhere. Each one has a little bell and the sounds come echoing across the lake and throughout the valley. When combined with the sounds of the goats on the other side the effect is mezmerizing. This is so cool!
We make a short stop for a selfie:
And we “pull a Dario:”
We finally reach the little restaurant in the middle of nowhere – El Refugio Vega del Enol. It is so rustic and perfect. There is little doubt we will have a great meal here.
A hearty lunch of Fabada (a traditional Asturian dish made with butter beans and pork in a tomato broth), awesome bread, a fresh tuna and tomato salad and goat stew (yes!) along with a bottle of San Miguel Riserva beer is a perfect reward for the hike.
Both Janel and Dario have been touting the excellence of the Arroz con Leche (rice pudding, sort of) in this area. We order one to share. It is so simple and yet so amazing. I am sure it is the quality of the products (super fresh Milk) that make this dish a standout.
As we finish our meal, the fog begins to descend over the valley and the lakes. The effect is otherworldly. It is very cool and we are happy to be able to be in this area both in the clear and in the dense fog.
Another long uphill hike is in order to get around to view another lake. It is just as spectacular as the first.
All afternoon is spent in this wonderland. It is so serene and beautiful that it doesn’t even seem real. I have never been to a place quite like this. We love it.
When we manage to tear ourselves away we drive directly into the middle of Covadonga and get a good look at the beautiful village and huge cathedral.
Back at Casa Aspron we have been given a dinner recommendation in town that we can walk to. She had also suggested which restaurant to visit in the Picos de Europa and steered us in the right direction there for sure. We figure she knows her stuff so we walk out in the late evening to El Rincon de Don Pelayo.
A table outside is just the thing for the beautiful evening. A bottle of Sidra is quickly ordered and Rich starts the action:
We get a kick out of some of the English translations on the menu. They have a local dish of thinly sliced veal (like scallopini) and say that it is “scallops stuffed with veal!” We order it anyway along with a whole fish and a platter of grilled vegetables.
The plan was to share a cheese plate after dinner. The cheese here is said to be outstanding. However, after our feast we cannot manage it. Another wonderful meal is shared and finished up with the local “chupito” (after dinner liqueur). This one has honey in it and it is delicious.
The day has been long, we have walked our legs off (at least I feel like I have) and we are tired. It has been another awesome, full day in Asturias. I wonder what is on the agenda for tomorrow?
Capricho de Gaudi in Comillas http://www.spain.info/en/que-quieres/arte/monumentos/cantabria/el_capricho_de_gaudi.html