We stayed local this weekend, and decided to arrange to meet some friends in the Cabuerniga valley in Cantabria. Cabuerniga is south of Cabezón de la Sal, at the bottom of the Saja Natural Park. Here, the Saja river becomes a lovely wide river with its flat floodplains and traditional farming villages, rather than the gushing mountain stream through the beechwoods that it is further up. We love both, but this lower area has always been a place we could see ourselves living…so we thought we’d live there for a night in Berta!
We chose our overnight spot thanks to a locally run website which we are HUGE fans of and have used for years. Areas Recreativas de Cantabria is the most fantastic picnic resource! It details and ever-increasing number of picnic spots in and around Cantabria, many of which we’re finding are also great free camping overnight spots. It also gives details of nearby walks, points of interest and churches, which we love and it’s widened our Cantabria knowledge and explorations hugely over the years.
So, our spot for tonight was a picnic area down near the river Saja in the village of Terán. We arrived of course just as it was getting dark, and it was unlit, so very dark. But felt safe and quiet, which it was except for the cows and their bells in the next field! Something we’re used to, so not an issue for us. We had a great night’s sleep in peace, and should comment that it was also probably the flattest place we’ve ever stayed.
The next morning we woke up to sunshine, hoorah! And the odd farmer and dog walker walking past. It was almost-but-not-quite warm enough to have breakfast out on the picnic benches – next time. Ooo, and maybe next time a barbecue in the barbecues there too!
We had a nice wander down to the riverside after breakfast before our friends turned up.
We then set off on what I think was more of a wander than a walk really. There’s a noticeboard for the walk at the picnic area, the Camino Ribera del Rio Saja.
It’s completely flat throughout, and is a pleasant stroll through the riverside woods and paths to the village of Sopeña.
Here, we were hoping to pay a visit to Quesos Gomber, the farmers of delicious local cheeses, but they were sadly closed on a Sunday.
We had a nice wander around Sopeña, with its impressive array of traditional Cantabrian houses, and then wandered back along the well surfaced road through the fields to Terán.
We were at this point on a bar hunt, and after asking the locals they told us we’d have to head to the village of Valle to find one, a short wander through the fields. So off we went, and had some great picky food and drink in the sunshine on the terrace of the Taberna del Valle, recommendable. We then headed back to Terán.
After having been fed a little, we decided it was the moment for another walk, the other we had planned today. It’s one we’ve done many times before, but a first for our friends, the little circular walk to see the Cascadas de Lamiña.
Now, I have to admit we cheated van-wise here. We parked down in Barcenillas, where there’s just about enough space for a van like Berta, and then we jumped in our friend’s car to go up to the start of the circular walk. There’s no way you’d get up there in a van as the track is bad in places and there’s a ford to cross half way. It is of course possible to park in Barcenillas, and walk up and down the valley – we’ve done this once before, and it turns it into a pleasant 3 hour walk (most of which is flat). However, for the lazy like us, it’s possible for about 1 car to park at the start of the circular section. We’d deliberately timed it so that we were driving up at lunchtime, so we were able to park in the 1 space there is!
The start of the circular section takes you down and up through the lovely woods, crossing a stream, and then up to the waterfalls, which are really picturesque. You then climb up a bit, before walking along another high woodland path and back down the track to the car. It’s a lovely lovely little walk.
We felt we’d then done just about enough to deserve some tea and cake. And luckily one of the best tea and cake places in Cantabria was just down the road in Ruente, the Oca en el Oceano. It’s also one of the most expensive! If you go here, be prepared for the prices, it’s a special one off treat for us.
We then had a wander round the Fuentona in Ruente, which is always nice. It’s a little streamside area with picnic benches, and the stream appears out of a rock…and every few decades completely dries up for anything from a few minutes to a few hours. The last time was apparently in 2011 for 5 hours. A local curiosity!
We then left our friends, and headed off for a siesta stop before hometime. We decided to make it somewhere nice, so drove up through the village of Ucieda (a bit of a tight squeeze in places), towards the huge and popular picnic area of Ucieda. We didn’t go all the way, but stopped on the side of the road next to some picnic tables, for a siesta to the sound of the stream and the birds chirping – lovely way to end the weekend!