Bilbao - Cabárceno/Lago del Acebo - Santander - Cueva El Castillo (Puente Viesgo) - Pico de Tres Mares - Fuente Dé (Picos de Europa)

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02-03.08.2012 : Drive from Loulé - Bilbao (1050km)

Volker drove our camper on the first day from Loulé to Salamanca (628 km) where he spent the night on the parking lot at the bridge on the south side (N40º 57.463’ - W 5º 40.5706). The next day he drove the remaining 422 km to Bilbao where he spent the night on the motor caravan site on the Kobeta hill after having tapas and beer in the old town. N43º15.584 - W2º57.832’

07.08.2012 : Flight Brussels - Bilbao

After 2 hours flight we landed in Bilbao at 23:00. Volker had parked the camper on the entrance parking just before entering the airport. This is the way to park big rigs as there is no parking with the necessary height for motor caravans. In accordance with the attendant at the parking booth we just had to leave it there. He noted the departure and arrival day/time. Strange enough, it doesn't cost anything! Anyway, we found everything ok and drove to the motor caravan overnight place in Bilbao where we stayed on the outside as it was already closed. N43º15.584 - W2º57.832’

08.08.2012 : Bilbao - Cabárceno / Lago del Acebo (93 km)

Our general direction is West, but we decided to make it a relaxed day and drove to the Parque de Cabárceno and were so surprised to find a lovely place to relax along the Lago del Acebo. We had a delicious lunch with spaghetti bolognese with red wine. It was a hot day (33ºC) and in the evening we went for a stroll to watch the elephants, the buffaloes and gnus that can be seen from the entrance. N43º21.488’ - W3º49.142’

09.08.2012 : Lago del Acebo - Santander - Cueva de Altamira - Santillana del Mar - Puente Viesgo / El Castillo Cave ( km)

Drive to Santander where we parked at Parque Atlantico de las Llamas beneath the University building (N 43º 28.322 - W 3º 48.202). We took the bus to city center along the Paseo de Pereda. We walked back and took the funicular to the top of the mountain and walked down to the University Campus to our camper. Drive to the Altamira Museum where we visited the copy of the paleolithic drawings the Altamira cave (not as impressing as seeing the real ones, as we have seen last year in the Grottes de Niaux). Then we drove the few kilometers back to Santillana del Mar where we parked at the entrance of the village (2 € per car/coach). This village reminded us of Óbidos and Carcassone, but it isn’t as big and touristic. We ended the day at Puente Viesgo where we will have reserved a guided tour to the REAL prehistoric drawings in the Caves of El Castillo tomorrow at 11:40. We had a “caña” at the restaurant La Terraza close to our parking where we thought we would spend the night: N 43º 17.869 - W 3º 58.101’. But as people began arriving at 21:30 and doing we decided to flee and drove up to the parking lot of the Caves El Castillo / Las Monedas. It was pretty unleveled but we managed to make it work. N43º02.721 - W4º23.702’

10.08.2012 : El Castillo Cave at Puente Viesgo - Picos de Tres Mares - Fuente Dé (Picos de Europa) (231km)

We had reserved our tour through the cave El Castillo for 11:40 today so we had a little time for a walk up the Hill El Castillo (1 hour, 3 km). When we came back I got the tickets (3 €/p.) and our tour time was changed to 10:20, i.e. I had 10 minutes to go down to our camper and get Volker who was taking a shower to come up. Everything went right and we had a good tour of the paintings in the Cave. The oldest drawings are from 22.500 years ago! Then we drove to to the winter resort Alto Campóo up to the end at Pico de Tres Mares (it sits right on the border of Cantabria and Castilla León). After lunch and siesta, we walked up the 150 m to the peak (1 hour, 3 km) and had good although a little hazy views of the Picos de Europa. We then thought we would drive to Cervera (Castilla León) where there is a motor caravan site but we didn’t like the place, it was ugly and in the middle of the industrial zone so we decided to continue our way up to Fuente Dé... This was a long driving day although we only drove 230 km. We settled on the parking lot of the cable car Fuente Dé where many other campers are parked although a clear sign says at the entrance that no overnight stay in campers is allowed. N43º08.677’ - W4º48.855’

11.08.2012 : Hike of Puerte de Áliva from Fuente Dé - Potes (24 km)

We really got up early today and were almost the first to stand in front of the cashier for the cable car that takes you up almost to the top of the natural amphitheatre. Our hike (a loop, 4 hours, 12,6 km, 280 m up and 1050 m down) took us up to the pass and then down back to Fuente Dé. We made a stop at the Refugio de Áliva which is really nice and offers gorgeous views from its terrace. We walked through various landscapes, first the high mountain, then through lush meadows at Puerto de Áliva and at last through the forest. Drive to Potes where we settled on the parking lot on the northern limits of town just above “lupa” supermarket at Calle San Roque, 12 ( N 43º - W ) We had a tasty lunch with Sidra (a menu for 10€ each including 3 courses, wine, water and coffee) at El Rincón de los Portales. The weather cooled down and we had a relaxed stroll through Potes which is a pleasant medieval town. N43º9.314’ - W4º37.091’

Cooling off with a beer at one of the nice places around Parque de Cabárceno




Standing in front of this beautiful amphitheatre at Fuente Dé,  Picos de Europa

A canyon we had to pass on our way to Fuente Dé

Pico de Tres Mares

Look at the size of these rocks when you know that in the circle is Volker

And there is our camper!

There was an abseil device installed from up the bridge and which went underneath the next one . A thrilling experience many children and adults were experiencing with delight!

We had this funny sidra-machine pooring sidra in the traditional way into your glass by pushing a button

The cable car at Fuente Dé that takes you 758 m up to the top.

Yes, it is snow

what you see

behind me!

Having a break at the Refugio de Áliva.

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