The origins of asturias and the picos de europa
FROM ARRIONDAS TO PANES
We take the N-634 main road from Oviedo, passing through towns such as Pola de Siero and Nava, and we come to Arriondas, this town is the starting point of the International Descent of the Sella, a canoe festival of interest for tourism, which takes place on the first Saturday in August and begins with a colourful parad- through the town of the participants, traditional dancing groups and an enthusiastic crowd from all over the world.
In this town we take the C-637 by-road towards Cangas de Onís. About halfway along we should take a branch road which will lead to the Monastery of San Pedro de Villanueva, with a Romanesque church which is outstanding for the beautiful capitals on its porch, displaying scenes of farewell between the lady and her knight as well as of a hunt, which are said to depict the story of king Favila, who was killed by a bear. The monastery, which also has a cloister and other sections from the 17th and 18th ceníuries, is to be turned into a National Parador in the near future.
Cangas de Onís is a lovely town which lends itself to a walk. Every Sunday there is a traditional market were a great variety of Asturian cheeses can be seen. Its Roman Bridge, which is in fact medieval, is so famous that it has become a symbol of the town. The small Chapel of Santa Cruz is in Contraquil and inside it a dolmen from the Bronze Age can be found.
Shortly afterwards we take the turn off to Covadonga, a profoundly significant shrine from the Asturians. Apart from the statue of the Santina (the Asturian name of the Virgin of Covadonga) in its cave, we can also visit the 17th Collegiate Church of San Fernando and the Basilica, comprising different architectural styles, built in 1901. This trip should be extended by going on up to Lakes Enol and Ercina, along the very winding road leading us into the Covadonga National Park, where Asturian nature designed its masterpiece. Here there are still large stretches of woods containing beech, oak, yew and holly.
On the way back, along the AS-114 road, we can stop in Corao, 5 km. from Cangas, once famous for its watchmakers and the place chosen by the versatile Roberto Frassinelli, the German of Corao, to settle in. In Corao, we can take a turning to visit the Church of Santa Eulalia de Abamia. Its origins apparently go back to the 8th century, the legend being that it was founded by D. Pelayo. Inside it there is the stone which covered the tomb of D. Pelayo's wife as well as the remains of Frassinelli. It was reformed in the 10th,14th, 18th and 19th centuries.
We continue on to the borough of Cabrales, renowned for its cheese of the same name and we will come to Las Arenas, in the aforementioned horougll. Here we can see the interesting Church of Santa María de Llas, huilt in the 12th century and which contains 15th century paintings. It was altered in the 18th and 19th centuries.
From here we can go on to Puente Poncebos,
where those who are more energetic can use it as a starting point
for hikes through the Picos de Europa either to the lovely village
of Bulnes and right into the mountains to the foot of the famous
Naranjo de Bulnes (Urriellu for the Asturians), or by going along
the popular route of the Cares. Those who do not wish to tire
themselves can take the car to the very picturesque mountain villages
of Tielve and Sotres. If there is not enough time, we wlll go
on to Panes, capital of Peñamellera Baja, one of the most
beautiful horoughs of Asturias, and to Alles, capital of Peñamellera
alta, another area of great beauty where the Rural Tourism Centre