We’ve always enjoyed adventurous holidays whether it be swimming in the Great Barrier Reef, trekking the Tongariro Crossing or navigating a river to Angel Falls. As parents of course our priorities changed and with it the focus of our holidays. That said, POD has grown up with the same desire to explore that we have. She loves the great outdoors and last year in Cantabria, aged just five, even climbed her first mountain. While we’re family orientated in our travels too, there’s nothing better than making discoveries – especially when they’re unexpected.
On this particular day we’d visited the pretty town of Lastres before hitting the mountain roads of Asturias on the hunt for a nice lunch spot. Just the day before, we’d discovered the most amazing restaurant in the hills with views to die for and we craved much of the same. We relish being in a situation where the waiter doesn’t speak English and if there is a menu, it’s only available in Spanish. It makes for a much more authentic meal and forces you to learn Spanish which is a good thing.
We’d driven along several of the winding roads in the Ponga National Park but not come across an eatery that took our fancy. But then as luck would have it, we saw a wooden sign which read “El Picu Viriu Fontecha”. Although we weren’t 100% sure what that meant, the sign had a restaurant feel about it so we decided to see where it led. While we did get a little concerned when the winding road morphed into a single dust track with no passing points, there were still signs to Fontecha. It was difficult to see exactly where we were until we were passed the trees that lined the track. That’s when we saw them, cows with glossy coats and wild horses grazing together nearby. We realised at that point we were at the top of a mountain, with no houses for miles around, but my goodness the views were spectacular.
Our tummies rumbling, it was at least 3pm by this stage, we continued on the hunt for Fontecha. We joked we’d get to the top only to discover it was the name of someone’s house. Not long afterwards, we arrived at our destination and it was a house. Rather than continue in the same direction, we opted to head back the way we’d come so we didn’t lose our way in the mountains. Our sat nav wasn’t particularly useful at 1,000 metres. As we headed away from Fontecha, we saw a lady in an apron appear by the front gate. While we were tempted to speak to her (or see if she could make us sandwiches!) we knew her English would be limited so we didn’t hang around. We did stop up the road to take in the views and watch the nearby animals. It was so peaceful up there.
Somehow we managed to take a different route to the one we’d taken up and found ourselves driving along a single track road in another direction but not heading downward. The views were magnificent but it was far too bumpy to take any photographs. Even the GoPro had to be put away when it was in danger of being lost out of the window (itching to see what that footage is like!).
After what seemed like an age we passed a village, the first we’d seen, which we now know to be Villar de Huergo. From there we arrived back on a main road where we found our way back to our cottage (via the supermarket). Taking in the landscape when we returned, we realised not only could we see Villar de Huergo, we were also looking directly at the mountains we’d just driven to the top of. What an adventure we’d had and my word wasn’t it worth it! We found out out another day there is a restaurant at the top of the mountain, just a little further on from where we stopped.