I have to say I was completely blown away by what I encountered there. Asturias boasts an exquisitely green countryside with an abundance of rivers and, in the Picos of Europe, snow topped mountains, glacial lakes and a ruggedly savage terrain where bears and wolves still roam and vultures circle the livestock looking for the weakest link. In short, a land that is exciting and ripe for exploration for those of us who like to give a big hug to the great outdoors.
Under clear blue skies and warm temperatures (interestingly as a result of a calima according to my guide) the Picos de Europa are a tonic for the eyes, and little stone cottages nestling in a tiny valley looked like a wonderfully inviting place to spend the night. I could just see myself sitting around a camp fire outside of the cluster of stone buildings strumming a guitar and singing songs of life in the mountains whilst munching on wild boar chorizo (that is if I could actually play guitar…or sing).
Of course that’s a completely romanticised notion. This is a beautiful but harsh land. Walking in Asturias along one of the many trails that skirt monolithic outcrops and mirror calm lakes of black water is the stuff of 5 star walking. Trying to make a living here by raising sheep and making cheese is a completely different prospect.
But it is stunningly beautiful, unvisited by nearly everyone except the Spanish and a handful of other Europeans who are clearly trying to keep it a secret to themselves (understandably), and I felt compelled to share the tiniest morsel of the deliciously rich flavour of this captivating part of Spain.