What we don’t do in the shadows, is taking decent photographs, that’s evident. But we try. Maybe it would be a good idea to start carrying my tripod around, given I went through the hassle of investing in one. Not that my photographs improve significantly with decent light, anyway.
Cantabrian Mountains are the largest massif formed almost purely of limestone on the European continent. The sediments from the Atlantic Ocean uplifted some 300 millions of years ago and were ruptured into sharp ridges and deep and narrow gorges more recently in in the glacial period, thus creating the dramatic landscape characteristic to the region. Enough geology, which I know nothing about, but during my stay in the north I never ceased to be amazed by how beautiful the scenery is. First drive to Covadonga (previous post) through the gorge of river Sella, I was in awe for the entire hour of going at 30 km/h while trying to simultaneously admire the surroundings, avoid driving the car straight into the river and ignore the line of nervous locals that formed behind me and the roadsigns constantly warning against falling stones (like, thanks for the head ups, but what exactly am I gonna do in case a massive chunk of rock decides to fall on my car? Channel my inner Jean Grey? I am quite capable of going batshit berserk – usually over some woke issue – but I haven’t quite mastered my telekinetic capabilities. Yet.) That was the first drive. Then I realised that there are gorges literally everywhere, including the valley of river Torío that leads to the caves of Valporquero.
I’d love to recommend hiking it, but it would not be a very pleasant hike, as you’d be walking along the narrow and rather busy paved road. It looks like there used to be a path carved into the side of the gorge, but it is definitely closed now. It is however a stunning bike ride (more about this in one of the later posts). I have seen some spots suitable for swimming, if you like a chilly dip. There is no reservoir on river Torío, so the water may even be a few degrees above the usual 7.
The visit to the caves of Valporquero should be obligatory when visiting the area, because they are simply magnificent. The guided tour takes over one hour, for the more adventurous souls there are some companies that offer canyoning excursions (obviously not though the monumental part of the cave, as humans excel in destroying rapidly what nature built over millions of years). But the normal tour is stunning enough. The appeal of being surrounded by phallic symbols of every size and shape (and direction) is self-evident. Just in case someone was under the impression that the 6 °C in the cave may have somehow tempered my fiery spirit. It has not.
Also in the area: Lot of charming little churches and nesting storks. Thank you for reading. More will follow soon. I may be able to get through this summer by Christmas.