Thursday was a lazy day, just popping out on the bikes quickly to pick up some wood for the evening’s BBQ. This was our first BBQ of the holiday and it was christened with albondigas made even better with the smoky taste of the fire.
Friday was also a fairly relaxing day. We walked just over 3 miles to a visitor centre in the hope of getting some free walking maps of the area. We passed numerous small-scale farmsteads and at one point had to cross a front line guarded by a barking mutt. Once we’d entered her territory she decided we were good company for a walk and followed us for a mile or so, talk about fickle! The visitor centre didn’t have any free maps, but we did find out more about the walk beside the Rio Barosa and decided we should do that on Monday.
I quite fancied a few less active days but thought it would be good to have a short walk on Saturday. We were awake early so decided to set off at 8.30am. I suggested walking for 2-3 hours and we headed off towards the lake as we knew of a path. On the way we spotted a track up the hill on the left and so went up that instead – and up, and up, and up we went! Looking at the map I could see that my idea of a short walk would be up, turn around and back down again but Lisa had other ideas.
The views were becoming increasingly more stunning and the village of Coto Rios, although not far away as the crow flies, was certainly a long way below us! I was hoping we’d soon reach the top, but each corner we turned presented us with another climb! We’d been climbing solidly for well over an hour and there was more to go. Lisa was keen to continue, whilst I wanted to turn around. It was time to man up, we were now only a quarter of the way through the ‘new’ walk.
It was a relief to eventually get to the top and we’d climbed 1200 metres. Just as we started our descent we were rewarded with a fly past from two massive birds. We knew the park has Golden Eagles, but we weren’t sure what these were, just big. Shortly after that was another surprise waiting for us, we discovered a long line (49, in fact!) of caterpillars crawling nose to tail across the track. Neither of us had ever seen or heard of such behaviour so were quite fascinated by them. Some research later showed them to be Pine Processionary caterpillers. If you come across them, don’t touch them. And the advice is to keep dogs and children well away from them.
Excited after our encounters with nature I had a bit more of a spring in my step and enjoyed the rest of the walk a lot more. It was very steep in places but once again we had great views, especially of the lake we had planned to walk beside. We eventually got back after 5 hours, walking 13 miles. The rest of the day was more relaxed.
Sunday was another day of rest; no cycling, no walking, no drinking… okay, maybe not!