from Balmor to Villahormes

During breakfast Nigel shares his experience of hiking in the mountains.
In Picos there are also shelters and the possibility to undertake multi-day treks. In high season the shelters fill up and it's recommended to carry your own tent. Attention about fog and clouds has to be maintained at all times, no matter what the weather forecast says. The weather can change in minutes because the mountains are located so close to the sea. Well, the rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain, doesn't it? John needs some comforts during walking, like shower and toilet. Nigel and me represent the no-civilization-party. Besides, you see a lot more by staying in the mountains overnight. And get further.
It's partly cloudy and I'm having a beach day. I drive to Villahormes and leave my car there. It rains a bit during drive and the wind gets quite strong while I wait in the railway station. Doesn't look like a good day for swimming. The station building is small and seems to be closed forever. The timetable is on the wall. An older lady arrives to wait for the train with me. It takes 13 minutes along the coast to Balmori. The conductor at first tries to argue that Balmori is in the other direction but I manage to persuade him he's wrong.
There's sun in Balmori and chatter of birds. I'm the only one going out. Balmori is a small village, a lot of houses on sale or abandoned. Then again there's life in many of them as well. One can see abandoned villages everywhere, in Greece, Italy, Norway, Albania, Spain and nowhere have people been able to do anything against it. Estonians with their regional reform try to invent something new. The big guys should travel less in capital cities.
Following the instructions I make my way through the village, the road continues in a buttonwood grove. The instructions from Nigel are amazingly accurate if the small misunderstanding in La Molina is not counted in. Small detour to Niembru church. Behind it is a cemetery. They have the habit here to write the age of the deceased on the gravestone. Generally people have been lived to be old. The church was built in honor of someone called Carlos de Borbon and it has 1794 written on it.
The road goes to Tombara beach, filled with big rocks. Before beach is a grazing ground and I can't get to the sea. Waves splash high. Around me are cows, calves, smell of dung and some sun.
Around the corner is Torimbia beach that is occupied by nudists in high season. Now here's no-one. The beach has an ideal half-circle shape, waves land in foamy stripes. I climb on a rock and spend about an hour on the beach. Possibly one of the most beautiful beaches I've seen. Sand looks even like a mirror, driftwood lined up on the edge of the beach. Sun glides over sand and water in patches. Wind is strong and waves high. Around the beach grow thorny bushes with yellow blossoms and sweet smell. When I leave at last then the wind literally tries to blow me away. I hang on to the camera. Cow trail on the edge of the hill shows views to the beach on one side and mountains on the other. In the forest it's nice and warm. On the other side of the forest is chapel of San Antolin de Bedon, decayed and grown in weeds. Three horses are grazing nearby.
Playa de San Antolin is covered with round smooth-polished white stones. Sea has chewn holes in the rocks and now water comes splashing through them. Waves crash against the rocks with deafening noise like fireworks. Looks like tide is coming in. Up a sheer cliff is a pasture for cows, electric wire guarding the animals every now and then so that I have to keep steping over it or crawling underneath. Some (or many) of the walks from Posada del Valle are not way-marked and it makes walking feel like just wandering around. No fear of getting lost here, I just have to keep as close to the sea as possible.
Playa de Gulpiyuri is a small strech of beach that water has created in the middle of pasture coming in through the rocks. Very unique. Last beach before getting back to Villahormes is playa de Huelgu. That also is a bit inland. Sky covers up and gives me the chance to leave without regret. There's a small café in Villahormes, I take a cafe con leche. Everybody in the café are busy with a small child on the bar, soap opera is on TV.
It starts raining on my way back, suits me.
Dinner is wonderful again. It always has three courses plus an appetizer. The day before yesterday there was local lamb, yesterday pork from Ponga mountains and today free-running chicken.
We talk about the London Olympics. John is certain that someone will use the opportunity to become famous and the result will be like Munich or something similar. He would be happier if the games would take place somewhere else, except in bloody France. There's corruption in London city government just like in Tallinn.
Pico Pierzu

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