Friday, 8 June 2018

Spain, May/June 2018. Day 19

Well dear reader, an early night before packing up the tent and heading to the coast sounds a lot easier than it turned out.  We were on tenterhooks during the night waiting for the rain.  It dribbled enough to wet the tent but not the downpour we were expecting.  We knew it was going to be a difficult task having watched Peter and Linda pack up a few days previously so we were eager to get on with it.
Emptying and cleaning out the tent went well.  Bedding was soon packed down into the car and the inner tent stowed away.  We dropped the tent very carefully trying to keep it as clean as possible but what we were afraid of had happened. For days we knew that the ground under us had turned into a morass of mud but unfortunately it hadn't been confined to the underneath of the groundsheet, it had oozed in between.  It was at this point the the heavy rain arrived! However, we carefully turned the tent upside down on the road, managing to keep the material clean.  The mud cleaned off relatively easily and we soon had it folded and encased in three layers of plastic dustbin liners.  We could be more brutal with the groundsheet so we threw buckets of diluted lemon-scented floor cleaner at it and scrubbed it off.  The stink was amazing.  Soon, however, we also had it encased in multiple dustbin liners and both packed into the car.  It was now time for showers and clean clothes before an excellent breakfast in the bar.  After fond farewells and hugs and kisses all round (well we are on the continent) it was time to take our leave.  First stop was for diesel and then we stopped off at the National Park centre where we wanted to watch a multi media display on the Picos.  It was excellent and well worth it.
Fortunately the Potes/Panes gorge road was temporarily open as normally it is closed during the week for repairs and upgrade.  The 14 mile long gorge is stunning, running by the beautiful fast flowing River Deva and between towering limestone cliffs on either side.  We were sidetracked by exploring the beautiful old village of Lebeña and its ancient church.  We needed to get on, though, as we wanted to have lunch by the sea and before long we were making and enjoying our fresh bread, cheese, jamón and chorizo on a wonderful surfing beach near San Vicente de La Barquerra, with Atlantic breakers rolling in.
Hunger satisfied, we drove on to Santillana where we checked in once more to the excellent Hotel Colonial.  It is a modest family run hotel in an old interestingly appointed building.  The owner is a big National Geographic fan with a large collection of magazines and beautiful NG photographs adorning the walls including my all time favourite, 'The Afghan Girl' by Steve McCurry.
Soon settled in we went off to explore the local coast until the rain set in again.  But what a joy it was returning to our warm, dry and wonderful hotel room.  We are currently studying the menu trying to decide what to have for our evening meal.  It's a hard life!

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