Over the tops

29th August

The next morning we left for Refugio J Ramon Lueje (2100 msl). Our route took us up between Diente de Urriellu and Corona del Razu. All the time we looked down on the clouds to the north. For while Tomoki and I thought we could see the white cliffs of Dover in the distance. We abandoned the idea as we noticed Britain had clearly moved towards France, upsetting both the British and the French.

Going up



Going up over the ridge towards Refugio J Ramon Lueje

Having reached the next ridge we dropped down into another sink hole, from which we climbed out only to walk down into the next. Walking along the bottom gives one the impression of being inside a backing oven, painted in many happy shades of gray. The area around refugio J Ramon Lueje is much prettier, as it is surrounded by grass and ... oh surprise ... a well. We washed ourselves while the sun was still high and warm. And as there is no running water in the hut, most hut guest followed our example later.

Refugio J Ramon Lueje
Our camping plot near refugio J Ramon Lueje

We still had some fresh vegetables with us and cooked a combined Japanese - Taiwanees (made in Britain) meal. It looked spectacular and tasted even better. For the less experienced campers out there, fresh garlic can liven up the most boring meal and it keeps away most living creatures.

Later the clouds came in and stayed. I realised that it would be very easy to get lost, seeing other parties walk past and struggle to find the hut.

30th August

The next morning we were still in the clouds. Before we managed to pack up the clouds opened up and it turned into a spectacular sight.

Our plan was to go down. A very long way down, towards Caín, a small village at the upper end of the Garganta del Cares (Cares gorge) and the day trip would entail a decent of more than 1600 meters. But as we walked down into the clouds, it became difficult to find the route that would take us to the desired valley.

Tomoki going down into the clouds
Tomoki going down into the clouds

Following the men of stone was already tricky, but in the open field we could not find anything that resembled a path that would takes down towards Caín. Then, to our surprise our hut guide of the night before came running down the hill and gave us directions. He must have sensed we were lost. Not that it helped, as at the bottom there was still no indication of a path, even though we knew exactly were we were. Just an empty foggy field.

Giving Cain up as a destination
Realising we were never going to find the path to Cain in the fog

And therefore, after Tomoki talked some sense in me, we decided not to go to Cain. The drops would be a bit too dramatic in the dense fog, and it was not the type of terrain in which to practise what to do when lost and the nearest water source is a slow 800 meter back up or a very quick 800 meters straight down.

Instead we decided to drop down to Bulnes (700 msl), which the map said, had a hostel. And a hostel meant bed...soft bed...no rocky floor. We got there much quicker then expected. But then we spend the next hour trying to find the hostel amongst one of Bulnes 7 houses. I went into a bar, where the owner (South American looking chap, with matching mustache) had a degree in customer ignoring. There was nobody else at the bar and I stared him directly in the face. Firstly he cleaned all glasses, then took a walk to the kitchen (at a very slow pace) to see if there was any food ready for other customers. When that wasn't the case he came back to the bar and ignored my further. I got tired and said "Por favor" (excuse me in Spanish) he finally took a look at me. I managed, with help of my Rough Guide dictionary, to ask him for the local hostel. He said nothing but gave me a card with a picture of the building in question.

The hostal in Bulnes
The very hard to find hostal in Cain and the underaged cleaining ladies

So...we searched the village and found it, but is was locked. We then went around several places to find out who could open it for us and finally someone pointed us back at the bar where we started. Our South American turned out to be the owner. I therefore tried again, just pressing the "POR FAVOR" in a bit earlier. This time, he signaled us to follow him at the door he produced a key and opened the hostel for us. Later, a Spanish tourist at the bar, tried to tell us that the bar owner was not Spanish, which I think is Spanish for "I know he is Spanish but we really wish he wasn't".

Anyway, in the hostel we met up with Euwan, an politics student from Sheffield. The communication speed changed drastically. While we were unpacking our hut was visited by two lovely young Brazilian children which we put to immediate use cleaning the floor. I almost managed to sell the place to them but then their parents showed up.

Tomoki, Euwan and the bottles
Tomoki and Euwan in conversion with the Spanish bottles

After an disappointingly cold shower, it was time for food. Euwan traveled light including food, so we shared our meal with what ever everybody contributed.

The local bar provided wine. Another Spanish couple joined us and later a German couple, whom we had met on the camping in Fuente Dé. The local bar was our wine supplier, and as we bought them one by one, it meant someone had to take the trip every 30 minutes. The good news was that the bread would only be delivered the next morning after 10:30, so we could have a bit of a sleep in. The number of empty wine bottles was to be counted the next morning. Say, if we had a way of refilling them, we could start another local bar.

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Published on  April 26th, 2016