We recently returned from a fantastic ten-day hike of the Tour du Mont Blanc through France, Switzerland, and Italy. We’ll eventually add detailed posts about the actual hike, but we want to share some notes on planning the trip and logistics with our trip fresh in our minds.
For the final part of our trip to the Picos de Europa, we spent three days day hiking near Camarmeña and Poncebos. This included hikes to Cares Gorge, Bulnes and Jou de los Cabrones, and Ondón.
On our trip to the Picos de Europa, rain turned our planned day hike around the Lagos de Covadonga into a short walk. We augmented it with stops in historic Covadonga and at a queseria in Arenas de Cabrales.
The Central Massif of the Picos de Europa contains a mix of steep-sided canyons and ravines, green pastures, limestone peaks, and rocky, barren landscapes. To start our hiking in the Picos de Europa, we went for a three-day, two-night tour of the Central Massif. From Fuente Dé, we hiked to Refugio de Urriellu below the spectacular Naranjo de Bulnes, then to Refugio Collado Jermoso, and finally back to Fuente Dé. Despite encountering thunderstorms, rain, and snow, we loved the spectacular scenery.
Bilbao made for a great stopover on the way to the Picos de Europa. We could recover from jet lag while wandering the riverside, exploring the Guggenheim Bilbao, and eating excellent food. Rental car pick up at the train station made it easy to head out toward the Picos the next day.
In June and July 2017, we spent a week hiking in Spain’s spectacular Picos de Europa. The jagged limestone peaks, verdant green pastures, delicious food, and a pleasant stop in Bilbao made for a fantastic trip.
Read below for our notes on planning a trip, getting around, and where to stay, or jump right into our description of the trip:
- Bilbao and the drive to Espinama
- A three-day, two-night hike on the Central Massif
- A rainy stop in Covadonga and Arenas de Cabrales
- Hikes from Camarmeña, including the Cares Gorge, back up to the Central Massif, and a bit of the Western Massif
We made a last-minute decision to visit Budapest on a winter weekend in February, to enjoy some of the city sights without the crowds (or in some cases, entrance fees) of high season. Low season apparently began that weekend, if you use the “hop-on-hop-off” tourist bus schedule as a metric. This a brief overview of our 34 hours in Budapest.
Paris can be crisp in January, and Paris can be dreary in January. Regardless, it’s wonderful in January. The city is quiet yet alive. Christmas crowds have gone, but lights and decorations remain. It’s a perfect time to go, bundle up, and walk, and walk, and walk, stopping in at sights or for un chocolat chaud.
Rather than summarize any one trip, I’ll mention a few of my favorite highlights, both in the city and day trips, across a few trips.
In March 2017, we hiked the Rota Vicentina along the southwestern Portugal coast from Porto Covo to Carrapateira, via sections of the Fisherman’s Trail and Historical Way. This series of posts covers our travel and explorations between the starting point of Lisbon, and our endpoint of Lagos. The Rota Vicentina is a network of official trails that connect the historic fishing villages of the southwest Alentejo region and Vicentina Coast Natural Park.
This post covers the resources we found helpful for trip planning, while subsequent posts describe our travels.
Part 2 of our walking trek down the southwestern Portugal coast on sections of the Fisherman’s Trail and Historical Way. This post covers our time after leaving Zambujeira do Mar for Odeceixe, and onward to our final destination, Carrapateira.