After Ponferrada, you could come here directly, but I strongly advise to stop a few days and visit Leon and the region of Lake Porma. Here is the article. From there you go north, towards Asturias Region, the land of milk, mountains and prehistoric painted caves.
From Ponferrada to Riano, is a long way, but is most part on the highway. The landscape is changed, you no longer see the so many towns, cathedrals but instead is this desolated environment that screams for water.
But I did not take this trip just in this order. For instance, Leon was half a year ago, Ponferrada was also a few months ago and the latest trip made (a few weeks ago) is to visit Asturias.
So back again on the highway (since there is no train option…)
A burned forest.
What stroke me as interesting, in Spain (close to the border with North Portugal) there are many tunnels, and they are quite long too.
Pena do Valadeiro. This mountain, as you get out of the tunnel, looks just like the back of a dragon. One that has been sleeping for the last few thousand years. It looks so old that thin and dense vegetation grew on his stony back.
And yes, like I said at the beginning of this article, from Leon the landscape gets arid. The ground has a yellow and orange texture and trees are scares. (except for the human plated ones)
The highway is bad too. Is free but bad. You have to stay in the second lane (when you go in direction of Oviedo) because the first ones have holes and bumps. In fact, you will see that no one is on that side of the road. (as of fall 2017).
But high speed is soon to be a distant memory because the landscape changes one more time to colossal mountains that touch the narrow road.
There are many eagles also in the area and sadly I did not have the luck to get any in the frame. But the sunset was more important.
Ladies and Gentlemen, this is Riano at sunset.
Yep, I did many pictures because the event is just so beautiful. Imagine if I had a few clouds to add more drama to the photos. I guess it would be more perfect to the world if there were no war and hunger… 😔
The mountain is so close, the village is so beautiful, it just doesn’t feel much like Spain. (until you want to eat at decent hour) 😒
The price of the hotel here is very low (as I will prove in the next week articles) and I definitely recommend the one I was in : Hotel Presa. Also, it has a good restaurant (if you ignore the smell).
Quite odd, but at night I did not see many stars. I was thinking that on this trip I would also get the Milky Way shot… but I don-t get it… No clouds, and just a few dim stars. 😐
Next morning, took a few sandwiches, put ourselves on the sun, next to this splendid view of the lake formed by two rivers: Rio Esla and Yuso. In fact in front of us (as we look at the image below) is the place where the two rivers collide. And boy is the water level low… 😔
As you can see the Hotel is not so bad from the outside… Inside it has a smell, like the old people asylum. I know because I visited a few.
Here in Riano, besides the mountains and the lake, there is also an interesting museum, that should be definitely visited: Ethnographic Museum.
Doesn’t this one bring back memories?
There is also a room filled with fantastic beings that make up the legends and tales of the Celtic and Asturian people. I actually bought a book (in spanish) about them. Also here is the Grimm.
Alongside exponents of clothing, tools, ancient tools, cave man objects, there are also modern day inventions. So yeah in a sentence: Go check it out, it has everything.
Next, we took a path to descend next to the water and try to get some interesting shots with reflections.
And if you look on Maps.Me, there is a trail, but boy (as of fall 2017) is that road filled with horse/cow/sheep leftovers. And when I say filled, is with absolutely no exaggeration.
Now, I draw in orange the road that starts at the gas station, but you can also start from the start of the tall bridge, and come back. The map is old and we can see that I was walking on water 😅. Clearly this is not the case.
The view at the daylight is as breathtaking as it is at sunset. Also look what a drought year can do (also seen at Baiona).
As you move towards the island (“island”) there is a plateau with many crucifixes made out of stones and in some cases also plastic flowers. Don’t really know why is that.
There is also this red truck stuck for a few decades in the lake mud.
Once you get to the far end of the “island” this is the greatest view. If you had an ultra grand angular lens (or just the panoramic effect of most phones) that get them on and start capturing this mirror-like sight.
Head back up to the shore and there is a very old church with modern bells. Ermita de Nuestra Señora.
Well, this is it for Riano and with the sun fully up, we continued our journey, leaving Leon region and entering the awesome Asturias.
But just outside this idyllic small town, we can see that where once was a big river, now there is just yellow dried mud, on which there is a dusted road (just like on Madd Max, except the vegetation…) and a few cows.
This should be Rio Orza, now is a road in the middle.
After successfully missing a shot of an eagle and an owl, back in the Leon region, now as I was getting closer to Asturias, I saw another eagle on a post, watching over a green field where horses and cows were eating. This time either I could not get close enough to get the bird in frame, but at least I know how incredibly bad and poor the Tamron 70-300mm zoom is. It has a professional stabilization system but the lens gets me mostly blown images, lots of blur, and shallow colors.
Ermita de Ponton.
What a majestic view, no wonder my colleagues at work, back at Vigo, prefer Asturias Region, that the deserted Middle Country or south. (those come third place).
Maybe I haven’t seen many people on this road, but I did saw some goats.
Over the River Sella there is a beautiful arcade bridge that can be seen from the road. Also, there is a narrow road that goes to Santiyan village. Great place to stop and take a few more pictures.
And this is it for this week. But don’t forget to check out next articles that feature the region of Asturias and a beautiful beach.