Northern Spain Week 80 7th November 2012
Looks like we are still following the Camino de Santiago. The blue signs keep appearing.
As do the religious icons.
And a bit of mining.

An old open cast coal mine at Sotillos that looks like it went underground, then closed.

Having told the gps to take us the shortest route we reaped the benefits.

We just fitted through the rebuilt wall of St Augustine's Monastery.

Built of rounded water (or ice) worn stones.

We'd begun to see brick buildings among the stone. Approaching Valdevimbre we at first thought we were looking at brick kilns.
Then we noticed lots of them. Looked like they were dug into an existing ridge rather than built.

And fronted by sheds, houses, or more elaborate vinery fronts.

No windows.

A bit of later research says there are more than 500 cuevas.

They are wine cellars, nice to keep an even all year round temperature.

Different states of repair. Apparently some are 500 years old.

Looks like they are called Cuevas. We'll have to do some research.

There's numerous signs around the town centre for "Cueva This" and "Cueva That".

We're picking its part of wine but how it fits is a bit of a mystery to us.

Beyond Valdevimbre we are on a plain.

We've seen lots of signs of irrigation. Concrete troughs and occasional canals.

First time we've seen gantries.

Nice to see mechanised harvesting of beet.
Some large towns.

We are still learning to recognise food shops.

We are headed south west towards the corner of Portugal.

As we left the plain we are in scrubby forest.

All day we've seen lots of "Cota Privado de Caza signs beside the road, every few hundred metres and the start of most tracks that we've been seeing since before the Picos.

We assume it means "keep out" as our limited experience suggests its rare for such notices to say "welcome". Though it may mean something like "state forest".

Also rectangles with a diagonal, one part white, other black.

Near the border we've begun to see "Reserva Regionas de Caza" which seems a bit easier to interpret.

But at Rioconeja we found a rest area. First in a couple of hundred km.

Stone houses and barns. Stone or slate roofs. With balconies. Some being rebuilt.

And dry stone walls.

This time we think to keep animals out. Small fields. Away from the horticulture.

The shutters over windows give an air of an empty village. Deserted except for one woman collecting firewood as we went for a walk.

We haven't really done justice to Spain but the weather seems to be against us. As Ali says - "it is winter, and we are above 1000 m". 

Northern Portugal Week 81 8th - 12th November 2012

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