Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Spain, May/June 2018. Day 23

Another amazing day despite the poor start weatherwise: rain and wind, but amazingly still warm.  As it was a museum visit this morning the weather was immaterial and surprisingly it cleared and was sunny by the time we came out.  The museum in question was the Cuevas de Altamira which is renowned for its cave paintings of mainly bison but also deer on the low roof of the cave.  Palaeolithic people lived in the large mouth of the cave and the paintings were done in deeper chambers.  The original cave has been more or less closed to the public for conservation reasons for about 20 years. The museum though, complete with reconstructed cave and paintings, is excellent.  We thoroughly enjoyed it and spent a good 2 hours there.  Tomorrow though, on the way back to Bilbao for the ferry, we have booked to visit El Castillo cave, famous for its hand print stencils made by blowing paint onto hands pressed to the cave wall.  These are thought to be the oldest cave paintings in Europe, perhaps the world.  Many years ago we visited Font de Gaume caves in France and this remains one of my most moving experiences so it is with great anticipation that we await tomorrow's visit.
After our museum visit we repaired to the seafood restaurant at Playa de Luaña for Gambas a la plancha and grilled sardines; excellent and with superb views out over the sea.  The wind has really blown up today and so it was great fun trying to photograph the big surf.  However we do hope it calms down by tomorrow evening ready for sailing across the Bay of Biscay.
We next drove back to San Vicente de Barquera where we walked up to visit the church which stands majestically high above the harbour.  It was beautiful and peaceful inside and outside nestled another hostel for pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago de Compostella.  A coffee and ice cream were called for in a harbourside bar and then before heading back we popped around to the local surfing beach for some more wave photos.  The dunes here are magnificent; gleaming white sand with a superb dune flora including such treasures as hare' s tail grass, Sea holly and a pink and white striped bind weed.
It is almost time for our last dinner in the hotel and I plan on having cocido montañas, a local speciality comprising a stew of beans, meat and cabbage preceded by a grande cerveza grande and washed down with a bottle of rioja.  Magic!

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