Posted by: tim ellis | October 7, 2011

Spains Big Three – Wednesday September 7th 2011

Brown Bear

8:30 Breakfast and 10 AM departure again, as for the previous two days, except this time we need to be packed ready for departure when we leave.

We are taking the “scenic” route back, with a couple of stops where the scenery, birds and parking all permit, before we arrive at the town of Proaza where there is a small bear museum run by the Asturias Bear Foundation, which is a chance for those who had been unable to get bear postcards earlier to stock up. About 1km further on is an area where the foundation has a couple of captive bears. They were orphans rescued from poachers and have been here for 15 years. They have just been fed when we arrive, so are sitting in plain view munching oranges – If only it were not for the bars we could claim a really close encounter. One of the bears rapidly retreats to her indoor enclosure, but the other wanders about foraging in the grass, never quite getting into the perfect position for a picture devoid of fencing, before settling into the shade of a part of the enclosure furniture.

There are picnic tables here and a mountainside opposite where we can see more Golden Eagles, so we eat here and plan for a “comfort break” at a service station as we will soon be joining the motorway.

Unfortunately the service station we stop at is not the friendliest. The toilets are closed for cleaning when we arrive, and while they do let us use the staff toilets these have a broken flush and no towels… If there was a jar on the counter for tips I would feel justified in helping myself on the way out.

We have been informed en route that the ferry is running 2 hours late, so we won’t now be departing until 11 PM rather than 9. This gives us plenty of time to explore the city, and luckily we are able to load all the cases into one minibus (the other has to be returned by 6) and the local agent will stand guard while we disperse to explore.

War memorial

The ferry is comparatively empty on the way back – about a quarter full) so boarding does not take too long, and we are able to make up some of the lost time, departing at around 10:30

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