Three Days in the Pyrenees of Spain: Part 4

pyrenees4

Looking north toward the Pyrenees Mountains. Photographed 09/14/2015 near El Coscollar, Spain.

Earlier on day three our trip up to Parque Nacional de Ordesa y Monte Perdido was kind of a bust, but we did see some cool things along the way. With half a day left we set out to find some more cool things, and headed southeast toward Parque Natural de la Sierra y Cañones de Guara (Natural Park of the Mountain and Canyons of Guara) near Huesca.

guara

Welcome sign for Parque Natural de la Sierra y Cañones de Guara (Natural Park of the Mountains and Canyons of Guara). Photographed 09/14/2015 near Arcusa, Spain.

In Spain it seems that “natural parks” are of similar designation to “national parks” but with a different goal. Both preserve and protect natural features yet have two key differences. National parks here seem to emphasize the visitation of superlative natural wonders by the public, much like national parks in the United States. Natural parks, in contrast, seem to emphasize the preservation of the environment for native organisms, much like wildlife refuges in the United States.

guara2

Interpretive sign at Parque Natural de la Sierra y Cañones de Guara (Natural Park of the Mountains and Canyons of Guara). Photographed 09/14/2015 near Arcusa, Spain.

While the interpretive sign south of Arcusa suggested everything from Peregrine Falcons to jackrabbits and snakes, the only real wildlife we saw on our brief visit was this bird of prey perched on a power pole:

guara3

Bird of prey at Parque Natural de la Sierra y Cañones de Guara (Natural Park of the Mountains and Canyons of Guara). Photographed 09/14/2015 near Arcusa, Spain.

Near this spot we stopped to take a few pictures and a couple of local puppies came running up to us out of nowhere. After loving on them for a bit we moved on.

puppies

Random puppies along the road that came to greet us. Photographed 09/14/2015 near Arcusa, Spain.

While wild animals proved elusive here, the scenery did not. Further south we stopped and hiked a bit at Vero Canyon.

verocanyon2

Rio Vero Canyon at Parque Natural de la Sierra y Cañones de Guara (Natural Park of the Mountains and Canyons of Guara). Photographed 09/14/2015 near Lecina, Spain.

This was one of the most gorgeous spots on our trip through the Pyrenees. Here the Rio Vero has carved a deep gorge through limestone deposited during the Eocene Epoch (56-34 millions years ago). The lush, aromatic evergreen foliage provided a stark contrast against the pale rock walls.

verocanyon

Rio Vero Canyon at Parque Natural de la Sierra y Cañones de Guara (Natural Park of the Mountains and Canyons of Guara). Photographed 09/14/2015 near Lecina, Spain.

This stretch of Spain was much more than natural features. As with much of this part of the country, historic buildings and ruins littered the landscape.

santamariadelanuez

The church of Santa Maria de la Nuez, dating back to the sixteenth century. Photographed 09/14/2015 in Santa Maria de la Nuez, Spain.

The village of Lecina was of particular interest. The first thing that caught our attention was the old church near the center of town.

lecina2

Old church photographed 09/14/2015 in Lecina, Spain.

Like many rural Spanish towns the ancient streets here were barely wide enough for a single car, making travel interesting.

lecina5

Narrow street photographed 09/14/2015 in Lecina, Spain.

The rich green trees and flowers against the historic architecture made the visit worthwhile, however.

lecina

Stonework and foliage photographed 09/14/2015 in Lecina, Spain.

As we headed south and passed through Alquézar, we came upon the majestic Puente L’Albarda.

campanachalbridge

Puente L’Albarda photographed 09/14/2015 near Alquézar, Spain.

This medieval foot bridge over Rio Vero was built in the thirteenth century, and its solid construction (along with periodic maintenance) has helped it last for centuries.

campanachalbridge2

Puente L’Albarda photographed 09/14/2015 near Alquézar, Spain.

With our trip through the Pyrenees Mountains of northern Spain near an end, we headed back to Barcelona for our flight back to Michigan. Before we left, however, we made sure to do one touristy thing and visit the area around the famous landmark of La Sagrada Família.

lasagradafamilia

My wife and I at La Sagrada Família photographed 09/14/2015 in Barcelona, Spain.

Designed by celebrated Catalonian architect Antoni Gaudí, this basilica has been under continuous construction since 1882. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a Spanish Property of Cultural Interest, this massive and ornate church isn’t scheduled to be completed until nearly 2030.

lasagradafamilia2

La Sagrada Família photographed 09/14/2015 in Barcelona, Spain.

Although my wife and I got to see a lot of fascinating things in our three days in northern Spain, it wasn’t nearly enough time to really explore the region. We were originally scheduled to have four days here, but our flight was canceled and we lost an entire day. Although that additional time would have been welcome, it still wouldn’t have allowed us to even begin to fully appreciate this exotic and wonderful country.

Advertisements

About Jeremy Sell

Science and nature nerd.
This entry was posted in Botany, Culture, Ecology, General, Geology, National Parks, Vertebrate Zoology and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Three Days in the Pyrenees of Spain: Part 4

  1. Glad you enjoyed your brief tour of the North. Yes, there’s a lot to see in Spain. We are in Andalucia and there are some striking contrasts of scenery here and maybe a glimpse of a lynx in Donana Park.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Miriam says:

    Sounds like you needed much longer there, what a beautiful country.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s