There’s an historic Spanish town on the side of the Pyrenees, it resembles a cross roads and goes by the name of Ainsa. You can pick up the A-138 and head south, the road is wide, surface good and with the window open, sun shining in and music on, you experience the true nature of ‘cruising’.
We cruised for maybe forty minutes and saw just one other car. It was a great place to drive with colossal lakes to the left and long, swerving bends to the right. Northern Spain; dry, captivating, enigmatic and relaxed, where the midday sunshine fades the minds capacity for worry, and replaces it with a desire to explore.
We swung a right at Barbastro and were on route for ‘Sierra de Guara’, a national park famous for its deep and challenging canyons. The landscape here is vast, rocky and natural; a known haven for birds of prey such as the Honey Buzzard and Short-toed Eagle (also a popular retreat amongst rock climbers). A bird’s-eye view would be pretty spectacular here, as the land is sliced apart by a network of rivers creating dramatic canyons. Fresh from the Pyrenees the water adds an intense contrast to the dry land.
Rodellar is a traditional village situated in the middle of the park and when approaching you can see an ancient religious building located on the higher ground. A sharp left turn prior to the village descends towards the river, where there’s a campsite. We pitched our tent there; it’s an absolute gem of a spot. A bricked footbridge links the river beds of rock and greenery, the water is clear with enough depth to swim and isolated rocks act as sun traps.
Bathing in the water, looking up river towards the bridge, I become slightly mesmerised by the unique natural beauty. You can search the world for this type of spot and in all honesty, it’s not a bad way to spend your time. Flash hotels, private beaches, shiny taps, endless meals, false smiles; tourism has at times become much like a corporate event. The whole travel industry is becoming eaten up and spat back out like a giant adult Disneyworld. But that’s what makes spots such as this so inimitable; they have soul and to explore and find them, then so must you. Put your foot down on the open-road with its boundless, endless and liberated identity; become a traveller not just a tourist, search for authenticity not service.
Coralie spent the day reading by the water’s edge while I walked within the mountains in search of sight of bird of prey. That evening while sipping my cold beer and enjoying some tapas, it was evident to see, how much magic exists within the mountains of Northern Spain.