Chapter Twenty Nine - Fuente Dé

Trip Start Jun 18, 2013
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Trip End Aug 20, 2013


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Where I stayed
Hotel Toscana

Flag of Spain  , Cantabria,
Thursday, July 25, 2013

Wednesday is a free day to relax in the mountain town of Potes. We wander around enjoying the clear highland air and alpine scenery. In preparation for our long walk tomorrow, we take a short hike to the neighbouring village, as well as walk from the hotel into the town. For our picnic lunch, we find a splendid spot beside the famous Monastery of St. Toribio de Liébana, where St. Beatus wrote his monumental tomes mentioned earlier.

A good night's sleep prepares us for today’s trek. We plan to take the Fuente Dé cable car up to the top of the mountain and then walk all the way down on one of Pico de Europa’s classic hikes. It’s 11kms. (almost 8 miles) in length and has a classification of medium difficulty. The estimated time for descent is four hours.

We leave early from Potes, as we have been told that the queues for the ascent can sometimes be two hours or more. The gondola cabin takes 20 people at a time, and the 800 metre (2,625 ft.) ascent is a surprising 3½ minutes. It’s one of the longest single spans in the world. We are fortunate to arrive early and in no time we are at 1,850 metres (6,070 ft.) and totally stunned by the magnificent views.   

We are not the only ones planning to walk back down, and we join a happy throng first ascending 100 meters (330 ft) on a gravel roadway, then commencing the long descent. Eventually the crowds thin out until we are virtually alone. All is well as we romp down the trail through meadows and grassy hillsides populated by cows, sheep and horses, with spectacular views on all sides.

At about the half-way point we are offered a choice. Continue on the road to the village of Espinama, then follow the main road back to Fuente Dé, or take the direct path back to the cable car station. Obviously we decide on the direct route. A narrow stony path descends by zigzags down a precipitous hillside, finally leveling out within a forest of oaks. By now the sun is high in the sky and the temperature is rising, so it’s nice to be in the shade of the great trees. Miryam seems to be going slower and slower.

"I think I twisted my ankle coming down the steep part"

Poor Miryam hobbles along the trail, which ascends and descends, and seems to go on forever.

“How much longer?” asks Miryam

“I’m afraid there is still 45 minutes to go”

Youthful strapping European couples are now passing us by at full speed, and we even see some brave souls ascending the path (god help them!). Finally we come within view of the cable car station and in no time are seated in our trusty steed.

I look at my watch. Pretty impressive. In spite of Miryam’s difficulty, we have completed the trek in four hours and forty five minutes.     

Miryam later comments that the last part of the walk, though somewhat easier, was more tedious as there was little to see except trees and that the temperature increased as the day progressed.

Miryam takes a hot bath when we get back to the hotel. She has to rest up because tomorrow we are going to tackle the hike through the Cares River Gorge!
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Comments

Cesar Barroso on

Fantastic hike, Martin. Marvelous.
Picos de Europa has been in my list for a long time, and even more now.
Enjoy and prompt recovery to Miryam.

Suzanne on

Speechless! What a beautiful scenery, Cesar and I must go there. Can't wait to see your next adventures. xoxo to you two and hope Miryam feels better soon.

Suzanne on

Estan cerca de Fuenterravia? Ahi vive una amiga de la Sra. Margot.

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