|At the peak of El Tambarón which stands at 2.150 metres high. I never thought I could do it but I did.|
|Happy birthday Mr. President.|
|Mireia Belmonte won Spain's first medal in the Olympics on Sunday|
|Anita, Suzy and Vicky on Sunday afternoon sunbathing at Caledonian Park in London|
|Eladio and I with our new Montrondo t-shirts|
I carried on taking photos and as usual Pippa features in most of them like in this one below of Eladio and our eternal puppy enjoying the village
|Eladio and little Pippa|
|"Elevenses" on Monday - Eladio with his inseparable brother Toño|
|By the natural pool where you can bathe - near Murias|
|On our new walk|
|The view of Murias from our new walk|
We had never been to Sosas even though it's very near Montrondo - about a 20 minute drive - but it's a very pretty place. It belongs to the area called Laciana where the architecture is different from Omaña which Montrondo belongs to. You just have to see the houses to understand that.
|Houses in Sosas de Lacaiana|
|Outside El Campillo restaurant in Sosas de Laciana on Tuesday|
|The "cecina" at El Campillo restaurant in Sosas de Laciana|
|Miguel and Claudia with their special guest at the family lunch on Tuesday|
That day the Olympic Games continued. I didn't actually see anything on the television but was very intrigued and pleased to see a photo that began circulating on social media. It was of 2 girls gymnasts, one from South Korea and the other from North Korea taking a selfie together. That for me summed up the spirit of the Games and probably did more for diplomacy between the 2 arch rival countries than anything the politicians from their countries could do. I do hope the North Korean girl doesn't get into trouble for fraternising with the enemy when she returns to Pyongyang.
|The best symbol of the spirit of the Games in Rio. 2 gymnasts from North and South Korea take a selfie together.|
|The Tambarón peak - left in the middle. It looks near but is very very far. The top is actually a plain.|
But set off we did. Our first spy of the peak was at El Abedular (birch tree forest). Here I am with Pippa who followed us all the way. She was so valiant and I am amazed she made it with her tiny little body. She only needed help at certain obstacles such as deep heather or big rocks we had to cross.
|Our first view of the mountain from El Abedular|
|In La Solopeña cabin where we wrote our names to immortalise our trek.|
|Eladio on the way up.|
|The terrain with stone and heather got steeper and steeper and more and more difficult to climb.|
|The spot where we had lunch on our way up.|
We crowned El Tambarón at 15.15. This is the moment we were about to reach the miradors at the top
|The moment we reached the top. To get to the miradors we had to wade through more slippery stones.|
|Eladio at the top.|
|The view from the top where you can just see Senra|
There was mobile coverage at the top and believe it or not at that moment I got a message from my boss with a problem I had to solve with our Twitter Wall in the cafeteria in the office. I had to make several phone calls to sort it out. So we stayed at the top for quite a bit. Apart from the miradors there is formation of rocks to sit by which is a lovely resting place.
|Sitting at the top of the mountain with Pippa.|
|A selfie at the top of El Tambarón with Pippa.|
|Sliding down the mountain on my bum.|
|Formations made of stone to confirm the route down.|
|El Pozo Llao lagoon on our way down.|
|The view of El Tambarón (left peak) on our way down.|
|Cows in our way on the path down towards the village.|
The family were anxious to see us. They thought we had been away for too long a time. Maybe we were the slowest trekkers in history to reach the summit but we didn't care. Our aim was also to enjoy the scenery on the way, drink water from the springs, have our lunch and take lots of photos. All our aims that day were accomplished but crowing the peak was something I will never forget. You can see more photos of our trek up the mountains and to the peak of El Tambarón here.
Once home we were in dire need of a shower and change of clothes. Once showered and in our pyjamas we could rest. Dinner was a small affair, chicken noodle soup and a piece of meat and vegetable pie. We were in bed by 10 pm, happy but exhausted. It would take a few days to recover completely. The sense of self satisfaction was enormous and maybe on Wednesday I began to understand what drives mountaineers. My fitbit was also pleased. That day I surpassed myself by walking 36.000 steps and received 2 tropies!
|The statistics my fitbit showed on the evening after our trek up El Tambarón. 24km in one day was a record for me!|
|A gold medal for Spain thanks to Mireia Belmonte who won the 200 metre butterfly swimming race on Thursday morning|
That morning I was up at 5.50 by mistake. When I woke up I looked sleepily at my clock and thought it was 6.50 but only realised it was one hour earlier when I was in the kitchen making my morning cup of coffee and looked at the clock on the microwave!
By midday there was another gold for Spain, again from a woman and from a water sport too; slalom canoeing. Spain was delighted when the 32 year old Mother from the Basque Country with the impossible name of Maialen Chourraut won the slalom. I always find it intensely emotional when a Spanish sports figure stands on the podium and the national anthem is played. If it gives me goose pimples I can only begin to imagine what it must mean to the athlete. Well done Spain for its second gold.
|Maialen Chourrau celebrating her win with her 3 year old daughter on Thursday|
By 7 p.m. I was revived and ready to go on another walk. I went with Eladio, Toño, Dolores and the dogs and we took the route via El Vao to the Murias road then down El Camino Valle and on to Murias on an old path through a birch tree forest. I could only imagine just how beautiful it would be in the autumn.
|On our new walk on Thursday evening|
Every time we come home from our walks the first task is to bathe Pippa as she gets so dirty on the dusty summer paths. Here she is in our bath tub which was designed for me but only she gets to use haha.
|Pippa in the bath hahaha|
I was up slightly later on Friday morning at 7.10 and had had a restful sleep thankfully. That morning Eladio went off to Villablino very early to get the washing line poles he had bought to be cut shorter. The old ones were tied to the apple trees right in the middle of the field making for an unsightly view from our new house. The new ones have been tied to special poles to the left of the field and are much more discreet. He also bought green paint for them to blend more into the countryside. He and José Antonio would spend the morning putting them up and this is what they look like now. They had to add cement as part of the ground was rock. Thus I would have to wait to hang up our washing until the next day.
|Thanks to Eladio and his brother José Antonio we now have a much sturdier and more discreet washing line on the lawn (la era) behind our houses now.|
|The "sobremesa" after Friday's family barbecue|
|Pippa waits for me everywhere I go|
There was no walk on Friday. I think I needed a day off.
In Villablino I had bought some "cecina" (salted beef a bit like Italian braseola). It was of the very best variety "laciana" and comes from the area. Cecina is probably Leon's most famous culinary product. I made it in a salad with Primo's homegrown lettuce, walnuts and olive oil and it was mouth watering.
|Cecina salad for dinner on Friday|
|Dinner alfresco on Friday night|
|It was gold for Nadal and López in the men's doubles at the Olympics on Friday night|
|A bare armed Spanish woman leading the Saudi delegation at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games. Touché I would say!|
|The Communist dictator Fidel Castro turned 90 on Saturday|
|Hanging out the laundry for the first time on the new washing line.|
|Getting drinking water from La Fleita spring in the village.|
|The local bread is delicious|
|Preparations for the annual village lunch on Saturday morning|
|The annual village lunch|
After my "cuppa" it was time for a walk. Eladio, Dolores, the dogs and I set off on our lovely new route. On the way a calf came out of a field and both Nuba and Pippa chased after it. There was nothing to stop them. We were worried the mother cow would be near and the dogs could be in danger but thankfully that didn't happen.
The village gathered last night for pies and chocolate drink but Eladio and I were tired and had planned another romantic alfresco dinner on our terrace. After all it was to be our last night here.
Today is Sunday and our last day here. We shall be leaving this evening. I don't really want to go as we've had such a special time. The next stage in our holiday plans is a few days at our beach apartment in Santa Pola where we will be joined by Toño and Dolores. Then of course I have a trip to London planned on 25th August. But we shall be back in a month for a long weekend we have planned here with our friends Gerardo, Vicky, Irene and Tomás. I hope the weather holds.
It is early in the morning and I have been writing this week's blog on and off during the last few days. So now I will leave you, wishing you all a great week ahead, me included. I hope you have enjoyed my "ramblings".
Cheers till next time,
PS You can see the full set of photos of our stay in Montrondo here.