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      August 2011 > Andalucia to Iceland part 7: Green Spain

Andalucia to Iceland part 7: Green Spain

Grounds of a charming rural hotel in Burgos provinceWe are on a tiny back road to Santander. Linda knows that more climbing is involved, but is humming nonchalantly like Winnie-the-Pooh when he suspects that Heffalumps are around. We have taken this back way many times before (but by car) to catch the ferry to Britain, and have fallen in love with an area south of Cantabria which is an amazing labyrinth of towering limestone canyons, separated by high, flat wild lands. Here the mighty River Ebro is born, and there are many rivers running through wooded valleys. One village has a waterfall running through its very streets, emptying into a pool which reflects not only the greens of the surrounding trees but also the yellows of the honey coloured cliffs which tower above, capped with sculptured rocky pinnacles.

Picos de EuropaThis is the province of Burgos and we’re here to set up a new holiday on the theme of Green Spain, a journey taking in three northern areas – the Basque Country, Burgos and the Picos de Europa in Asturias, where we already have a couple of walking holidays. (The Picos de Europa, by the way, are so called because the sailors crossing the Atlantic all those centuries ago in their cod-filled sailing ships knew they were nearly home as soon as they saw the tops of those peaks peep over the horizon and, after 5 weeks of ship’s biscuits, also knew they were going to get a good plate of assorted tapas in San Sebastián in 2 days’ time.)

We have often wondered where exactly to base a holiday in this magical land and have recently had our prayers answered by a letter from a couple who run a guesthouse out of a converted mill. We’re off to meet them now. They turn out to be the delightful Javier and Varbanera and their house is a veritable oasis of calm alongside a river at the end of a valley. They produce wonderful meals out of almost entirely organic produce. I don’t want to ever leave.

Javier is an ornithologist and takes guests out on birding trips. He takes us around the countryside in his jeep to see the beginnings and ends of walks, and we realise that this area is more of a paradise than we had thought. I love a little hamlet we visit, also alongside a river, with high ridges around. There are no cars – the streets instead are occupied by animals, each species taking a street of their own – one is full of cats, another of dogs and a third of chickens, all sat on a bench in a row like old folk taking the sun.

Restaurant of a charming rural hotel in Burgos province
Posted: 23/08/2011 12:10:19 by | with 0 comments
Filed under: gastronomy, journey, nature, Spain, wildlife

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