We headed south-west out of Bilbao staying off the motorways as far as possible and sticking to the minor roads. Driving in this part of Spain is a pleasure in that all the roads are in excellent condition (no doubt as a result of European grants) and the traffic is incredibly light. Our original plan had been to head for Burgos but we opted instead to drive through the Cordillera Cantabrica which has mountains rising to a couple of thousand metres – a few of which still had traces of snow on their peaks. We plan on visiting the Picos de Europa, which were just to the north of our route, on our return journey to Santander.
We spent Wednesday night on a municipal camperstop at Cervera de Pisuerga. Perhaps not the most salubrious of locations being next door to the council dump, but it was convenient and quiet – except when the local cowman brought his herd through the site. We met a couple in a Land Rover ambulance who were heading to Portugal to watch the Portuguese round of the World Rally Championship; if time allow and it’s not too far out of the way we might take a look.
On Thursday morning we headed off towards León sticking once again to the back roads. Our route took us through Guardo and Almanza, much of the time following the sides of valleys that have been dammed to form lakes which feed hydro-electric projects.
We were fortunate to find an overnight space at the camperstop in the centre of León allowing us to walk through the old part of the city up to the cathedral which by all accounts has some of the most spectacular stained glass in Europe.