Running away from the rain
Running away from the rain

Running away from the rain

Great banks of thick low cloud obscured much of the mountains this morning, their tops appearing as islands emerging from a pearl grey sea. Mercifully, the rain was light.

The Picos must be a fabulous place in better weather and I regret not hanging around to see them but the combination of rain, mud and hordes of children screaming until 11pm was quite sufficient to drive us on.

The aim, I was told last night, is to get to the other side of the mountains and be in the rain shadow as the medium range forecast for Avin offers nothing that is not rain. I thought it would be a fearful long way around in bad weather but was told that we were going through not around. As we now discover, we are going up and up and up and over. This became clear when we reached a section of crawler lane ten kilometres long!

(I have found another tool to help me with the blog and am now able to draft offline as we drive, or as at this moment , pulled up at a filling station. All the posts that I wrote in my head as we drove through France are long lost but hopefully now I can save some of our memories.

By the time that I get post this, we shall be perhaps 200 miles or more further along the road so this mix of running commentary with later additions may seem a little odd.

Brilliant, I can take and insert photos as I go! The featured photo, if it works, was taken at 1042 metres. I know that it is unfocused but I like that, it adds atmosphere.)

We topped out at about 1,325 metres, equivalent to the height of Ben Nevis. When we emerged from the last tunnel the rain had stopped and we could see blue sky in the distance and a weak sun overhead attempting to penetrate the cloud. It was unbelievable up there… there were trees growing, even deciduous ones. Houses and villages and farming… at that height. There was even a m-way services! The road rather surprisingly did not lose much height and we found ourselves remaining at around 1,100 metres for a while.
It turned out to be a long drive across a high plateau.

I believe that we may remember this as the drive of a lifetime. After the snow-capped mountains, we passed through a landscape of fascinating colour with terracotta-coloured ploughed earth fields punctuated by dirt roads of yellow ochre and burnt umber. Fields of sage green vegetation, so pale as to be all but grey and appearing as though frosted although, even up at 800 metres, the air temperature maintained a steady 8 degrees. The whole scene being muted and calm, wrapped lightly still in the low cloud we had driven through since dropping to 1100 metres or so. Once again I find myself wishing that I was an artist and able to paint.

It wasn’t all gorgeous. Some very dull and boring sections, some plain ugliness. Eventually we arrived in Zamora, which appeared pretty repellant as we entered the town. I was convinced that we would be moving on.
As it turned out, the Aire is not at all unpleasant and is conveniently close to the old town but more of that some other time.

We may stay for an extra night if we survive the storm.

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