Acácio and Amélia are a super friendly old couple in their 60s who were super kind to welcome us in their house in Riaño.
There we had our own room and beds, they let us use the washing machine in the house to wash ALL our dirty clothes and they even took us on several car rides around Picos in the three days we were there, always offering us lunch as we in exchange tried to cook them the yummiest breakfasts and dinners we could.
Thank you mum and dad for your generosity!! That’s right… Dad and mum got in the car in Lisbon and drove all the way to Picos to meet us before we wandered off into the distance to somewhere where they could no longer catch us without going inside one of these metal cans that fly…
Wisely they took their time and didn’t rush with a one day drive. They stopped at the right places for delicious fulfilling food in the restaurants that only my dad knows and is willing to drive quite a distance to get to…
After a two day drive across Portugal, they met us in the beautiful Riaño in the apartment we had already checked-in. The funny wonderful thing about Riaño is that we chose this meeting point randomly way back in Gerês when we layed out all the maps and planned about our España transition. Riaño just seemed to be a good place, geographically and time-schedule wise, to meet and explore the Picos. Just a point on the map we knew nothing about. We had no idea the beautiful lake and mountain range that would be waiting for us and the view that would treat us every day as we looked out the window.
The location was also perfect for the things we were planning to do in the region. Playing a bit with the weather and it’s invariably changing moods, we managed to program three full days of activities each with just about the limit of driving on wiggly mountainous roads.
Day one, the forecasted rainiest of the three, we drove West to Potes for required shopping supplies given that we planned to use the apartment kitchen as much as possible. In Potes we enjoyed (besides the usual fun of shopping in a country different of your own) the scenic calm setting along the river, with picturesque stone houses embelished with a diversity of flower pots, and also a quite tasty lunch in a friendly local restaurant.
Day two orientated to East instead, going into the insides of the Picos rock monster. For those who do not know it, Picos has the ability to make you feel vertigo not when looking down but when looking up… Shear vertical walls 1km high shadow you down below making you feel quite small… (Soucek, you would hate it)
Our destination this time was Caín, to have a taste of the well-known walk along the Cares river. The road access however proved to be perhaps more difficult and challenging than the hike itself. An endless wiggly road where only one car could fit at most times, required full attention and the occasional holding of breath as another car approached.
Road challenge overpassed, we finally had the opportunity to walk a section of the hike, along the river with overwhelming views of immense cliffs, above and below… through tunnels and sometimes narrow paths, where you had to cross other hikers.
To my great content, my parents, not so experienced in these kind of hikes and environments, proved not only to be physically fit but also mentally up to it, pushing the hike further than I had originally thought. The content was mutual as my father later said how thankful they were, since if it was not for us they would have never done such a thing and would never have seen such impressive views.
Eyes and souls filled with views and content, it was time to fill the stomachs instead which we did back in Caín, and last but not least, to return back the wiggly narrow road back to terrace view in Riaño.
Finally, on day three, we went even further West towards Covadonga, stopping at Cangas de Onís for yet another delicious lunch in a very local (or as my father would say – very typical) restaurant. The kind where you find old barrels and a drain on the floor for the spilt cidra by the counter…
But our destination in fact had been Covadonga and its famous lakes. However, as we drove nearer and nearer, passing enormous car parks, one could not help to feel some disappointment and suspicion that this might not be the experience we had hoped for – but a tourist trap. This was later confirmed when we realised that each of us would have to pay 9€ and go on a specific bus to see the famous lakes, which were in fact at the time, of all things, overcast with clouds and mist. A search in google for pictures of the famous lakes quickly proved that the lake waiting for us back at Riaño was much more worthy of our attention and efforts and after a visit to the cathedral and chapel enclosed in a cave, we went back again to our terrace view.
The next morning, stomach full after yet another pancake breakfast, and hearts full as well, we said farewell to our amazing terrace view and between ourselves, until the next chance to meet along our journey…
Disclaimer for Jo: there are pictures of cute creatures, not only human but namely of kittens, in the photos below