Road Trip in The Northern Spain, Part I
Updated: May 18, 2021
In the pandemic world where the international travel was shattered, local travel has propelled.
Although essential car camping items were purchased in advance, the dates of the trip to the Northern Spain were drafted in more or less within a week an a half of thinking. It was July, a month when nature was still offering some colors and flowers blooming and it was a better time to go. We didn't have the exact route and only knew we wanted to start from sunflower fields, drive through the Cantabrian coast and end our route in the mountains of Asturias.
The area between the villages Briviesca and La Bureba is known with abundance of sunflower fields so it was the first destination we pointed in the navigator.
Before sunflowers I ran into my lonely tree in the field.
After passing a few green sunflower fields we finally encountered the fields of yellow.
As the day was coming to an end, we needed to find a place for our overnight stay in the car, not too far from the fields.
Alarm went off just before the sunrise, stretching our limbs after the first night in the car, we quickly moved things around in our interior and drove off into the fields we encountered the past night.
This time, my regular camera stayed in the backpack and my first aerial photography attempts took off. It was odd and curious to look at oneself from the height of the bird's flight.
After completing the morning shooting mission we headed to caravans spot in Oña where we had our stop for the camping breakfast enjoying the mountain views.
Next in our route appeared Frias unexpectedly, it was on our way and we thought, why not check it out. But the daylight conditions were not what we were looking for so after scouting the village and surroundings we re-planned the sunset for Puentedey and reserved Frias for the morning with a strategic overnight location.
Puentedey, a village settled on the rocks, sparked my curiosity some time before our trip and knowing we were close by and it was blending well into our route, we just couldn't miss it.
The village sits on top of the natural bridge formed out of the rocks. When you see it, you instantly want walk underneath the bridge to understand how massive it is. There is a person parked with the bicycle in the end of the arch, to give you the sense of scale.
But walking on top of the rock formation and observing the life in small settlement isn't any less charming. Randomly an old man with a fresh bar of bread would appear in the view, parting ways with his village "compañero" and continuing his way.
After a bit of walking a viewpoint San Andres appears in front of us, with a breathtaking view of the valley.
The way the houses are sitting on the edge of the rocks is incredible and intimidating at the same time, I imagine, they weren't easily accessible in the medieval times.
After making a stroll to the dried waterfall Mea we came back to the village to witness the unusual light.
With Puentedey our sunset mission was completed and we headed back to Frias for the night where we stayed close to the sunflowers field once again.
Frias is among the most beautiful villages listed in the local tourist guide and usually it's for a reason. When the sun rose above the mountains, it filled the village streets with golden light, no people strolling awake yet. One could peek into the inner yards and wonder what life was brewing there. Or wonder how it feels like living in these hanging houses.
After meeting the sunrise in Frias we headed to the nearby village Tobera, within 10 minutes drive. Tobera boasts of its picturesque hermitage Santa Maria de la Hoz embedded in the rocks and a small but attractive waterfall.
Whereas on a scouting day it was full of people, this morning we had the waterfall all to ourselves.
Villarcayo was our intermediary stop for lunch and our next location was decided to be by reservoir Ebro. While initially targeting Arija on its southern coast as our overnight spot, still within the Burgos province, we drove around the area researching the surroundings with moody weather welcoming us every possible way.
However, Corconte on the northern coast of reservoir felt more charming. This way we left Burgos and transitioned into Cantabria province...