“If you’re still in the Picos area when you cross into Cantabria, Potes is a great area to stop.” Jessica*
It was heading into evening, we were in the mood for some tapas and Potes was just up the road. Parking wasn’t too hectic and we stopped at the first inn we saw, the Casa Cayo, and asked if they had a room.
They not only had a charming room, they had a charming lounge area for guests, a lively bar and restaurant downstairs, and all for only 45€ a night.(October 2014)
We settled in and went down to the bar. We were only a bit peckish so we asked for a cheese plate along with a beer for Al and a vermut (vermouth) for me. The bartender looked a bit concerned, “Just cheese? No meat?” Well, okay, maybe a bit of meat. Hmmm… Good thing we’re not vegetarians!
Our very favourite cheese from this plate was Queso de Pido – a small town where we would be having a long leisurely lunch the next day.
A quick trip to the servicios (washrooms) led me downstairs and through a room that was ‘wallpapered’ with wine!
There were some ancient wine bottles down in the cellar as well – I wonder if they were still drinkable? I suspect so as they were mostly jérez (sherry) and this keeps even longer than wine!
We slept well despite our worries about the noisy bar downstairs. Mountain air, exercise and a few vermutes will do that. For breakfast we opted for apple pie, café con leche and orange juice.
After a long day of hiking and exploring the region we arrived back at Potes around 4:30, too late to see the recommended museum and its illustrated bibles. The town itself is quite pretty, with old stone buildings overlooking a river.
That night, after the huge lunch at Pido, we opted for just vermut y tapas (vermouth and tapas).
I tried their ‘vermut solera‘ from the barrel – smooth, rich, complex – way better than Martini & Rossi. (The photo was out-of-focus but as this entire region felt as we had travelled back in time by about 50 years I thought this aging filter to be perfectly in tune with place!)
Our trip through the Picos de Europa started at Canga de Onis where we stayed the night. The next day we drove up to the Covadonga Sanctuary and then even further up to the ‘Lagos’ (Lakes). We backtracked down to the main road and carried on to Poncebos where we caught the funicular up to Bulnes. We spent the night in Potes and the next day toured the tiny villages along the road to Fuente Dé where we caught the teleférico up into the high peaks of the Picos de Europa.
*Jessica provided our great route info, and has since opened a Bakery Café in Santiago de Compostela called Lusco & Fusco. You can find her on Facebook at Lusco Fusco Bakery Café.