Archive for January, 2010

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Monday, January 11th, 2010


February half term. And so to snowy Spain, in the north, in the mountains, following boar tracks.  Fortunately, probably, they stayed ahead.

But we went to El Mazuco through which the Nationalists battled against stiff resistance from outnumbered Republican forces over three weeks in September 1937 when the issue was swung finally with a spot of carpet bombing by the Luftwaffe, a world first, apparently. Franco’s men might not have made it through there otherwise. It’s tough country, just right for the Asturian miners, and even in September, it began to snow and this only five km from the coast. It was more or less frozen solid in February.

Then by a circuitous route over three days – Picos de Europa, Gernika-Lumo and south to through much more snow to Najera – we eventually crossed the Sierra de la Demanda, by then in steady torrential rain, and reached Covarrubias. It’s a nice enough place for the first timer, small, compact, old and vaguely reminiscent of Lavenham if not quite in size and style and without the fringeing modernity. It has a big fiesta in July but in February, the place was deserted. Sure, the Bar del Puente – located suitably enough by the bridge (could be where they got the name? -ed) – had a few in and was doing a decent menu del dia and the two(?) hotels had slight signs of life and likewise the pension which fitted the budget better, though one fifth of the latter’s bar business was a girl with a laptop who loitered over a single Coke for two hours while she used the wi-fi. Otherwise, the town was pretty much empty. The only kids we saw during 18 hours in town were those of the Pension owner.

And what’s this got to do with East Anglia? Well, the second home syndrome of course. This is apparently weekender country for Burgos to the north and, probably, further afield – not so much carpet bombing as carpet bagging.