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  • Foto do escritorRita Cardoso

Picos da Europa - dia 3

Arenas de Cabrales - Bulnes - Cangas de Onís - Covadonga

That morning, the alarm woke us up early, and staying warm in the bed was all that we wanted. But, as soon as we reminded where we were and what we were going to do, we quickly got up. We took Mobileta to the parking lot next to Bulnes Funicular. There we ate our breakfast (this time with toasts and coffee) and we got ready to the visit. It was early, there was one family around and we still had to wait till opening time. But it was wise to go this early. This funicular connects Poncebos to Bulnes, it’s 2,2 km all the way up, inside a tunnel and it takes 7 to 8 minutes. There are no scenic views. You can find more about this here. Expect a high price, because the funicular is part of the local income.

As soon as we got there, it was jaw dropping. Trees everywhere, and they gave place to naked mountains as soon as the elevation was higher, sun, silence, infinite nature, wow. What a sight! We were about 600m high, but the weather was simply amazing and not even a little breeze. We walked the 10 min trail that took us to Bulnes village, a place with probably 25 people, and so beautiful, so picturesque, very well taken care of, flowers everywhere, a creek, two wooden bridges. And at that time, almost no one around, the sound of running water, cats, goats and cows, a lot of cows in the village, even passing by us. Have you seen a full-grown cow coming towards you? And more than one? It can be quite scary, let me tell you! Ahahah!

How not to lose myself in such a cute village? Hard. But we decided to go to a sightseeing point, 10 min from the village. Easy path, little elevation gain and some goats all along the way, making us company. What an unbelievable view from up there. The imposing mountains with all that naked rock! We used that time to eat some snacks while taking some more pictures. 15 min later a lot of people started to arrive there and we decided it was our time to leave and go down. That’s why it was a good decision to start early in the morning.

On our way back to the village, we took a different path to explore the less touristic area of Bulnes. And what did we see? A lot of goats, more cows, a man skinning a goatling (a typical dish served in the area), stone houses rebuilt as touristic accommodations, two restaurants, more cats and dogs, more flowers and all kinds of super cute flower pots. As more people were arriving by that time and it was close to lunch time, we decided to go back down. But in that moment, something happened, I started listening the cow bells really loud and close to me, and there they were. I was never afraid of cows, but believe me when I say, if there is no fence in between and you see them coming straight to you, you’ll think otherwise. Ahahah! One more funny story for the future.

Arriving to Mobileta, we went to park it in the same place where we slept, and why? Because we were going to visit the famous Cabrales’ cheeses and the parking lot is practically nonexistent, especially for a big car like ours. And it was close by, only 5 min walking on the roadside.

Cabrales’ cheese, Cueva - Exposición del Queso Cabrales is very well situated next to a river, a bridge and a lot of green. There was a guided visit about to start and there we went (this is the only way to visit the caves). The ticket price is very symbolic, especially if you have in mind all that is included. Initially, the guide, takes us to see a small movie about the area’s history, the cheese history and it’s made. In the end, and this was one of the highlights for me, you are served some plates with cheese, with different maturing times, and surprise, a glass of delicious cider, a very typical Asturian drink. If you can, watch how they serve it, it’s very interesting and full of tradition.

After this, we follow the guide for the second part of the visit, the caves where the cheese is left to mature. Obviously, this is only a touristic one, and they have many more where they keep most of the cheese, cause this one has more temperature variations of people always coming and going. But still super interesting to see all the process and how it’s made and kept. Of course, we went to buy some cheese in end to take with us and we ate it for lunch! I believe not everyone will want to try this cheese, because It’s a moldy one, but you should try, at least for the experience.

After lunch, we went for a walk in the village, Arenas de Cabrales, and yes, we also bought some cider’ bottles. For gifting… Sure…

Back on the road, this time to Cangas de Onís, we searched for a supermarket where we could buy some food. And this time we bought some fish for dinner. We cooked in our motorhome, almost like we were in a normal house kitchen. From Cangas de Onís, we went back, but this time on Covadonga direction, it was late afternoon, but we still managed to take the time to visit some more.

What’s there to see in Covadonga? The main attractions were, a Basílica de Santa María la Real de Covadonga, a nice basilica, specially the outside, but check the times before going, because we had to cut our time short due to a mass starting soon. And we also went to Santa Cueva de Covadonga, and this one really impressed me. It’s built and somewhat included in the rock, in the Nature, the waterfall, and all the construction around. It was really nice to see and it’s worth the visit. There wasn’t a lot of people at that time, as the big part of the buses were already leaving. You can find touristic buses that take you from Cangas de Onís to Covadonga on the way to the lakes.

After visiting all this, it was dinner time and we had to find a nice place to stop Mobileta. At high season times it’s not allowed to drive your own vehicle to the lakes between 8h30 and 20h (depending on the time of the year), so we decided to sleep close to the road to go up and we would drive up early in the morning before they closed the road. Once up there we could come down at any time.

We slept in a parking lot, very cozy and empty, in the middle of the trees. We grilled our fish and went to sleep. We had to wake up really early the next morning.

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