Barcelona & N. Spain

Day 11 - Friday, October 5, 2012 - Optional Tour of Picos de Europa - Cangas de Onis, Sanctuary of Santa Cova, Picos de Europa National Park, Glacial Lakes of Covadonga, Lunch in Congas de Onis

It was cool this morning; only 52° with 84% humidity which made it feel even colder to us. We took advantage of the optional excursion to the Picos de Europa, (Peaks of Europe). This mountainous region we have seen on previous days was named because it guided the sailors home during the Spanish explorations.

There were 22 of us on the tour with Raphael, our driver and a different bus. Javier, our regular driver, had the day off from driving, and decided to go along for a busman’s holiday. Liliana was our primary guide again, but Laura our Tour Director and Lucia, a Go Ahead representative were also with us for the day.

We drove east to the mountains and Lily gave us more information about the sites we would visit today and history of the region we were exploring.

Our first stop was the Grotto of our Lady of Covadonga, a small beautiful cave sheltering a statue of the Virgin Mary. Several legends surround the statue, but no one is sure of its origin. It is very impressive and pilgrims from all over the world come to visit this shrine.

After coming from the cave, we crossed the site and were able to visit the Basílica de Santa María la Real de Covadonga. The light was perfect this morning for photos. We had about an hour to walk around and then we met back at the bus at 11:45.

We began our climb up the narrow winding road of the National Park to 3773 feet of altitude. The road was so narrow, several times we had to stop, back up and get a better angle to maneuver a curve.

There were many private cars speeding on this narrow passage but when they saw our big bus coming they backed down and let us pass. When we reached the path for the Glacier Lakes we began our hike amidst a herd of Asturian Valley Cattle.

Our entire group made it to the top with frequent stops for photos and catching a breath. When we reached the summit of the lookout we could see both Lago Enol to the west and the smaller Lago La Ercina on the east side, both formed by retreating glaciers.

Lily reminded us we had to go back to reality so we left the two blue reflecting pools and the emerald green pastures to go on to Cangas de Onis, the former capital of the Kingdom of Asturias for lunch.

This town in the Picos de Europa features a Roman Bridge over the Sella River. Our first task was to take photos of the bridge and then to find a quiet shady place for lunch. Today’s choice was Cerveceria Park where we had pizza and a burger.

This region is known for dairy cows and its famous cheeses. Vic chose a four cheese pizza and Gennie had a very nice hamburger, Spanish style. This is also Sidra country with all of the apple trees. Vic tried the Sidra Sangria which was a lightly carbonated cider with generous slices of lemon and oranges. Even Gennie, the teetotaler, liked it!

We sat in the shade of the park and as it got closer to our departure time, we walked back to the city Bus Station to meet our group. We left at 4:10 and in no time at all we were back in Oviedo. There were several people snoozing; could be the beer, great wines, or the sidra that made everyone so comfortable.

Our lunch was late and we had plenty so we did not go out for dinner. We reviewed our pictures and wrote to journal. Tomorrow is another travel day so we gathered our things and packed to make our morning less hectic.

Accommodations: Hotel Ayre Ramiro I - - - Meal: B

Please see our Trip Evaluation -- Click Here -- A Complete Review of Go Ahead Tours: Barcelona and Northern Spain


hello..all these pictures aregreat but my favorite is Lago Enol – Glacial Lake.Alaso taht beautiful video with the cows..almost able to touch them..Thankjs so much..

pascal lanthier   October 6, 2012 - 6:22pm

These pics are fantastic!!! I can't write it all down, but that "castle" looking place -- is that a residence of someone or many people? LOL the countryside there is beautiful. Love the glacier pic!! Don't lose me from your travels... This is GREAT!!!

Pat Heald   October 6, 2012 - 1:04pm

Just finished reading all of the last 11 days. Sounds like a wonderful trip And of course your pictures. Snow in Denver Friday morning.

Norma   October 5, 2012 - 10:48pm
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Asturian Valley Cattle, Lago Enol, Picos de Europa, Asturia, Spain

Asturian Valley Cattle, Lago Enol, Picos de Europa, Asturia, Spain (1:03)

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Monument to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Oviedo

Monument to the Sacred Heart of Jesu...

Basílica de Santa María la Real de Covadonga

Basílica de Santa María la Real de C...

Grotto of our Lady of Covadonga

Grotto of our Lady of Covadonga

Lago Enol – Glacial Lake

Lago Enol – Glacial Lake

Roman Bridge over the Sella River

Roman Bridge over the Sella River

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