Flemish couple traveling through Spain (4)

Introduction: Colin and Lorenz, a Flemish couple infected with the travel virus, say goodbye to their home and work for an indefinite period. Together with their energetic three-year-old dog, Barry, they explored the diverse continent of Europe for a year. Campervan Grace, their temporary home on wheels, takes them to places known and less known. Their route has passed through wonderful Spain for four months now. Curious about their travel stories and challenges? Then travel here with them.

In the summer of 2019, Bardenas Reales were on our way back to Belgium after a wonderful holiday in northern Spain. “But who goes to the desert when it's too hot?” Colin wondered out loud. I couldn't blame her. But today, November 21, the cards are different and we can't think of any reason why we shouldn't visit this exceptional natural park.

Bardenas Reales is a nature reserve consisting of at least 42,000 hectares. Very large is an accurate description. The area is called semi-desert and is no longer inhabited today. It is arid and dry, because even in the semi-desert there is not much rain and the temperature varies in all directions. Very hot during the day during the summer and very cold during the night in the winter days. The park is dotted with 'plateaus', table-like mountains, plains and hidden valleys.

Although everything seems very inhospitable, the nature reserve still houses many species of animals. Today we only spotted some eagles perched on the thermal air currents. The mammal doesn't show itself, just a stray rabbit. In the past, shepherds from Roncal Salazar would bring their sheep here on foot from the Pyrenees to graze during the winter months. The actual distance is a few hundred kilometres. This still happens today, but not on foot, but by truck.

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Early in the morning, we drive from our camper spot in Arguedas into the heart of the park. We explore the park by car, but you can also do it by bike. There are no real hiking trails, and wandering around here for a long time with the possibility of getting lost doesn't really seem like a good idea to me. Moreover, there is a possibility that you will be shot here. Not by a bandit, but by a stray bullet from a soldier's rifle. All of this is quite contradictory, as it is a military area located in a UNESCO nature reserve.
We continue to focus on the distinctive feature of the Natural Park, the “Cabezo de Castildetierra”. Researchers claim that in about fifty years there will be almost nothing left of this majestic pointed mountain, big chimney, or whatever you want to call it. Unstoppable erosion has something to do with it. Soon they will have to look for another teacher. The road there is very bumpy and you have to be careful when driving, but apart from some dust blowing on our windows, we get away unscathed.

Some bushes on the dirt road roll in the wind. Exactly a scene from a western movie. It is a little reminiscent of Monument Valley in Arizona (USA) where a Native American on his horse Mustang or a man with a beautiful mustache and a black eye mask, someone we all know, Zorro, can loom.
It was an ideal hiding place for bandits and bandits who terrorized nearby villages.

In the Spanish sands of southeastern Navarra province, where there is endless dust and tons of sand, there are now only some neglected farmers' barns. The facades are covered in garish graffiti, and Zorro's “Z” is missing. This is the modern-day Bardenas Reales and nothing else…

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Happy and satisfied that we had stopped in Bardenas Reales this time, we returned to the camper spot. Our Dutch friends we met in Italy at the beginning of our road trip are waiting for us, waving. We did not see each other for 8 months, because we were traveling across Europe in different directions. We talk over a drink and a drink until the early hours of the morning.

“A Flemish Couple Traveling Through Spain” tells the story Colleen and Lawrence Those with them Van Grace camper Traveling across Europe. Follow their adventures in Spain through Spain Stories, or read their travel reports Polarsteps.