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Each journey begins with a single step... Two kiwis escaping from the island to explore strange new worlds and boldly go where thousands have gone before... . .

West to Salamanca, Spain then NE Portugal and back into the NW of Spain 23 – 26 October

PORTUGAL | Tuesday, 26 October 2010 | Views [929]

We crossed the huge flat plains to Salamanca and on to the border of Portugal. We discovered the Portugal radio stations play music yeah! The border between Portugal and Spain is the huge river Douro, flanked by terraced vineyards covering huge hills, houses perched on hilltops and villages on ridges and many chestnut trees covered in spikey nuts.. Lousy road signs made it very hard to navigate, roundabouts only have signs on entry, not exits so after you've entered and are busy argueing over which exit is the right one there's no sign to prove who is correct and you have to go back to the start again. Luckily roads have mile-stones every so often to confirm you are on the right roads. We had turned right after the border and wound through a National Park the centre of which was pretty blah but the rest was really great. People here hang their washing on the line in the street, at one point we drove on a very busy road past a line of a dozen of Grandma's bloomers out to dry right next to the road.

25th back in Spain traveling past rivers, huge suspension bridges, lakes and dams, hills of rock, through a cave riddled gorge and past a herd of slow moving cows. There are poles by side of these country roads so we know the snow gets deep here. We were following smaller roads than usual on our route north and crossed from Castilla y Leon provence into Principado de Asturias and the sealed road ended abruptly! Now you must realise when we say abruptly we mean exactly that! One minute we were driving on a fairly nice sealed road and the next it ended in a nice neat cut and turned into single lane dirt road. We assumed the villagers in this provence neglected to pay all due tithes and offerings to their Lord and Master... The road began to have potholes and got worse and worse but we are Kiwis after all and hung in there all the way up to a summit pass and all the way down a very steep gradient into a very beautiful autumn clad valley where the by now hugely rutted track ended at the small village of Rio Aller where it turned into a single lane concrete road. Why concrete? It was so steep and narrow it they needed a surface they could score and make good traction for the slide down. It was getting late as we wound up a steep hill and watched as the brilliant red and yellow sun set into the surrounding peaks. We spent the night on top of the pass overlooking villages on both sides and had a lovely bit of nookie.

2ºC this morning according to sign on pharmacy in Pola de Laviana. Switzerland is the country of tunnels, Spain is the country of bridges. 11am, it's 3ºC and foggy on the road between Nava and Coviella. OMG!!! This spanish radio station is playing a cover of Dead Kennedys 'Too Drunk to Fuck' and it's uncensored!!!

Crossed into the Comunidad de Cantabria, Carol's sadly recently deceased boss Ron Main had told her that he had named the Resthome where they both worked after this region which was beautiful and had a lovely name. We continued on into the Pico's de Europa a stand of rocky mountain peaks which used to be mined in the past but are now a haven for climbers and hikers. Manu had told us about some walks we could do here but Kent has put on weight and is having trouble fitting his leg into his socket now so instead we followed his other suggestion of riding the cablecar up to one of the peaks at Fuente De. We arrived at Matamarisca before dark to stay with Alfonso the other half of the pair of Spanish cyclist Carol met in Pakistan. After asking an old man with dogs and goats we found Alfonzo's house ok in his village of 37 homes.

To see our photos  http://cjb.pascoe.net.nz/   (click on or copy and paste into browser)


 

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