The name Picos de Europa (peaks of Europe) might sound little confusing since these peaks are not the highest in Europe (they are around 2800mts). The name is given by old sailmen who were sailing to America and on the way back to Spain, when they came to the bay of Biscay, these peaks welcome them to Europe. Most of the area is a protected natural park and very popular for hiking, trekking and rafting type of activities among local tourists. I was very impressed by the nature here, I liked Alps a lot too but somehow this area looked more natural to me maybe because it was less exploited and developed, I mean infrastructure wise.
The landscape becomes bigger and impressive as I drive
I took this picture at least 2kms away from those rock walls. I can imagine that they are at least 100mt high. I read in Lonely Planet that this area is popular among rock climbers. I also see some big birds in the sky, can be eagles but not sure. Bird watching is not my strong side
I come across a small town again
I find a small town to stay. Unfortunately the Parador is fully booked. These Paradors are old mansions, villas or castles renovated and used as country hotels. They are usually expensive but sometimes a good deal can be found. I take a afterbike beer on the terrass of the Parador looking at nice view and then find a cheaper hotel to stay.
Next day, I continue my ride towards Fuente de, the peak at 2600mt and then to Cangas de Onis.
I drive about 250 kms
I start to see slowly Picos de Europa
Time to take a memory picture with self timer from Picos de Europa
Now some commercial time. I can talk little about my equipment
Side cases are original Yamaha, I was very happy with them, big enough and watertight. The tankbag is from Oxford (www.oxprod.com
). It becomes a backbag or shoulder bag if needed. Very good quality and waterproof.
I installed a touring windshield and it was worth it. Since last year, the only modification I had on my TDM 900 was new exhausts, an Italian brand called GPR, they were ok and loud enough
My helmet is a Shoei and fits my head shape (I have one of those egg formed heads, round head owners are recommended to try Arai models)
And my lovely TDM. Not a single problem in both trips I did. (8000kms in Alps and 6000kms in Spain trip) Super quality, fantastic brakes (2006 model has even ABS). It has 85 hp and weighs around 180 kg. Unfortunately, it was not suitable for difficult gravel roads and that's why I changed it to GS but otherwise I was very happy with it. If you drive 90% on asphalt then I can recommend this bike to you.
Enough with commercials, time to continue the journey. It is still kind of misty and can rain anytime. I got some rain in this trip which felt like I was doing the trip in Scandinavia
I enter into a narrow valley on a curvey road.
After the valley, I drive uphill again and face this view.
I wish I had my tent with me, perfect place to camp.
I can just stay here and watch the landscape the whole afternoon but time is precious, need to drive.
I want to see the top called Fuente de reachable with a cable car. I arrive to civilization again
And take the cable car to 2600mts
View from the cable car
After leaving the cable car, you feel like you are on another planet or something
A picture of myself at the top.
For those of you, wondering why I have a weird jacket with a cable sticking out, I can present you my airbag jacket. It is a japanese product, produced by www.hit-air.com
. The cable is attached to a gas cartridge inside and the other end is attached to a cable on the bike. When the driver leaves the bike in an accident situation, the jacket inflates in 0.3 seconds as in the picture below.
So you turn into a michelin guy. I haven't had to test the jacket in real accident situation but read in some forums that some people had these on in an accident situation and they were very happy for that. The company claims that Japanese police is using that.
Well I made so much advertisement for them, I hope I get some stocks from their company as a present
I drive towards Cangas de Onis now, passing a river along and swinging my bike on curvey roads. If I had time, I would drive back and forth on this road until my tires would wear out. But I have to be in Zaragoza tomorrow.
I love driving in places like this, it relaxes me and helps me to think about things that I don't have time to think about when I am busy with daily life issues.
Oooppss, enough with thinking. Curvey road ahead. Back to MotoGP mode. Switch to lower gear, turn the gas, 6000rpm, lean into the curve and enjoy. I am sure my smile can be seen through my visor
Small villages suddenly pop up on my way again
I arrive to Cangas de Onis. This town was established by King Pelayo in 722 and was the capital of Asturian Kingdom for 70 years. It is a very popular place among tourists and lovely town. I really liked this old bridge.
I realized that it will be difficult to find a place to stay in this busy town so I drive further couple of kilometers and find a decent room in this cosy hotel.
I am tired now but satisfied. Tomorrow, I will start my journey eastwards to Zaragoza.
to be continued...