After a long first day getting to our destination in the Pyrenees Mountains of northern Spain, my wife and I were ready spend the second day relaxing. Thirteen hours of flying and then four hours of driving, while exciting at times, had taken its toll. Luckily we were staying at Casa de San Martin, a beautiful and luxurious small hotel on a remote mountain farm, and before long we were re-invigorated and moving about again.
We awoke to peaceful views of the Pyrenees shrouded in low clouds. The only sound that punctuated the calm was the distant, charming ring of cowbells. The serenity beckoned us outside to explore the grounds surrounding the hotel, and perhaps find the cattle that awoke us from our sleep.
The landscaping here was gorgeous. Colorful flowers, lush vines, and abundant trees filled every silent mountain view. In some spots familiar geraniums and petunias lined the stone pathways:
In other places ornamental grasses and more exotic flowers could be found:
While strolling about we picked up a friend, the resident cat who followed us around for a bit:
Further from the hotel the lush foliage lining the pathways and the old stone outbuildings continued to enchant:
In an open expanse of lawn a couple of geese were milling about:
After wandering around some more we finally came across the cattle with the bells that serenaded us that fine morning:
As we headed back toward the hotel, we were struck with the beauty of the old stone building.
The property here dates back over 1,000 years to the oldest monastery in Spain. While some parts of the main building are newer renovations, the core of the building was once at the heart of this ancient place of worship.
While traditional Catholicism has endured at the center of the hotel, many luxuries were also to be found. The common spaces for rest and relaxation were a nice blend of verdant foliage and rustic stonework:
Private balconies provided quiet places to take in the peaceful scenery:
The rooms themselves were well-apportioned, and the hosts were very attentive. We had never experienced this level of service before, and it was refreshing. The room didn’t have a television or other electronic distractions, but did have Wi-Fi. Although I admit I briefly checked my email for work, aside from that it was nice to be disconnected from the modern world.
The best part of our stay here was definitely the food. Although small, this hotel provided an excellent dining experience with a top-notch chef and servers. The duck confit and local Spanish wines were to die for, but every meal was impressive.
Along the way we got to chat with our host about his life in Brazil, Portugal, and Spain, a native Spanish employee about Catalonian and Aragonian politics, as well as another couple from Alabama about college football. The food and the people really made this already magical place feel like a home we never knew we had.
Re-energized and re-invigorated by our time here, the following day would find us again venturing out into the wild and beautiful expanse of the Pyrenees Mountains in search of more natural beauty and historic wonder.
Continued in Three Days in the Pyrenees of Spain: Part 3