Picos Approach

Los Picos is a beautiful range of mountains in Cantabria. Up the winding roads the scenery becomes increasingly dramatic. With very few routes into the peaks, we choose one at random. It takes us to Sotres,a little village, where the local shop is well stocked with smooth wooden walking sticks, clogs, boots and kagools.

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Helen In The Picos

There is only one cafe open and we have ham, bread and cheese. The quality of each is exceptionally good. We set of on a hike and eventually reach a little hamlet of tiny grey stone cottages. The stone of the mountains is a soft grey, becoming bluer as the peaks recede, in the distance they are snow-capped.

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Picos Woman

An old lady is wiggling a stick around in a muddy puddle. Later she sits down and Colin photographs her.

On the way down to the village a little cow with very sharp horns gives us a filthy look, because we have come between her and her son. Later an adder crosses our path and I am glad of my beige socks (see earlier blog) and walking boots. There are further uses of the wooden sticks in the shop – fending off bovine and reptilian threats.

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The Palacio Del Pero

From the Picos and Cantabria our next destination is Asturias,.The hotel is a country house with just five guest rooms passionately restored by Antonio and his wife Alicia. It has its own chapel with an effigy of the black St Benedict, and is called the Palacio de Prelo. Its slate roof is just visible from the hillside. Facing south the view is magnificent and very tranquil, green garden and meadows fall away to grey green hills in the middle distance and bluish violet peaks at the far horizon. The only sound is birdsong (sans cockerels).

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Antonio And Alicia Our Hosts At Prelo
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...and St Benedict In The Chapel
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Granada Hunter

Antonio explains that the house is full of hunters from Granada, they are here to shoot the roe deer. They want to dine early to watch the Barcelona Madrid football. Antonio’s wife, Alicia makes a delicious dinner. After the dinner we meet one of the hunters (the only one who doesn’t care for football), and he shows us his trophy deer’s head. (Barcelona and Hunter 1, Madrid and Deer 0).

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