Travel writer Ariana Moschopoulou shares her photos and thoughts about Northern Spain
On a cold summer evening, my boyfriend and I landed in the smallest airport I have ever seen; Santander Airport in the north of Spain just before closing time at 23:30. The drive back to the house was a long one as we were going to my boyfriend’s father’s house in Infiesto, about 200km away, but the two weeks we spent in Spain were worth the wait. Every day we had a different adventure to go on, and there was never a dull moment as we sat in the back of the car with a very energetic and funny 4-year-old; my boyfriend’s sister. We travelled all around northern Spain and explored towns such as Tazones, Gijon, Oviedo, Colunga, Torrelavega and many more, quaint towns that are rustic and have some lovely traditions that haven’t been altered by tourism. I would most definitely recommend going to northern Spain, because although it doesn’t appear much in a tourist guide book, it is such a beautiful place to spend a few weeks, very relaxing and trains running across the northern border are so cheap, you can discover the whole northern Spain for a very small price.
The day before we jetted off back to Stanstead we took our final trip to see the infamous mountains of northern Spain: Los Picos De Europa. The day was perfect and the skies were clear but the car had been making some funny noises on the way to the mountains, but we thought nothing of it. Of course the sounds were not harmless, as we soon found out half way up a mountain and half an hour from the closest town; the car broke down. Smoke was coming from underneath the hood, so we all rushed out of the car and on to the little enclosure on the opposite side of the road. The roads were empty and we had only encountered a handful of people travelling up the mountains that day. Luckily a couple of cars drove past us that were on their way to a family lunch in a picnic area just off the road a few hundred meters down the mountain. They were gracious enough to drive us back down to the town where we found a garage that was willing to go pick up the car and fix it. Being the evening before our holiday was over, though, we needed to get back to Oviedo to collect our suitcases and get back to Santander to catch our flight. The car was not going to be ready by then, so we ate a little something in a pub and discussed our options. We finally decided to hire a taxi to take us all the way back to Oviedo. The next morning we took the bus to the airport, and caught our flight.
Northern Spain is fabulous; the food is amazing, the beer is delicious and the Spanish people are very accommodating. Not having been a very popular tourist area made the journey even more incredible, it was ‘pure’ and untouched by the myriads of fast food chains, hotel chains and so forth that so many towns around the world have been. This lack of outside influence meant that the towns and food were traditional and the experience was unique. I loved every minute of this trip, even if in the end then, I never got to see Los Picos De Europa but never mind, next time!