Over the Hill

Hostal Nevandi in Espinama is probably my favorite of the places we have stayed. L&I decided on the meal for two at dinner. First was a large plate of serrano ham with onions, tomatoes, vinaigrette etc and very tasty it was too. Next was a vegetarian’s nightmare: a vast platter of grilled veal, lamb, salchichon, chorizo, pork and bunny with a topping of chips. This was followed by ice cream and washed down with a very acceptable bottle of red. Total price for the two of us: €34.

We didn’t really need breakfast, but… The coffee was excellent and I had Corn Flakes with the bread, ham and Philly filling any possible gaps. L snaffled a couple of bananas for today’s walk.

The walk started steeply up through beech and oak woodland and continued in that vein for the first half of the 12km, then spent the rest of the time descending through pastureland. Once out of the woods, we were bathed in sun for the whole way, though distant cloud bubbled up in a way that was quite attractive, at least from a distance.

There seemed to be the remains of a wedding party at the tables outside Mogrovejo’s one and only bar so we wandered up to the deserted village of Sebrango, emptied of people when a landslide demolished many of the houses a few years ago and the utility companies refused to reinstate power etc.

Back in Mogrovejo, I received a message from Mrs M saying we obviously hadn’t walked hard or far enough if we had finished already: I had been ill-advised enough to advertise the completion of the 8 days’ trek. I needed a beer to regain my composure and L reacted in sympathy.

L texted Mike – our ‘travel agent’ who came to collect us and take us back to Casa Gustavo. We then wandered up to the (free) visitor centre, which is pretty good value and quite interesting.

L and I have taken to playing what he calls ‘crossword chess’: alternately filling in answers in an old Times cryptic and teasing each other for slowness. Occasionally, we allow ourselves to show admiration at the other’s verbal dexterity. We are doing this on the balcony of this marvelous old house as the sun slowly slips behind the peaks. I was about to say I have no worries, but I suppose boiled chicken may be on the menu.

Tomorrow, lift to Unquera, bus to Bilbao, quick look round , bus to airport, shuttle to hotel and then Sunday fly to Edimburgo and bus to Inverness.

Pictures will follow, when time and inclination allow.

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