Saturday, 14 April 2012


The smallest region of Spain is not named after a grape variety but one of the tributaries to the river Ebro (the Rio Oja) It is a very beautiful region, full of rolling vistas and vineyards growing the famous Rioja grapes.

We followed a road (LR113) through the Seirra De La Demanda, along side the Rio Najerilla, very picturesque is was. The narrow winding road finally became a track, where horses and cattle with bells around their necks roamed free. We bumped onwards through the gorge!

There we came across the submerged town of Mansilla de la Seirra in the flooded valley. Six Hundred souls lived here at the turn of the century, then permission to make a dam was given in 1935. The civil war started in 1936 and it took 25 years to complete, leaving just 100 people to bid farewell to their town when the waters closed over it!

The ruins are very eerie poking up through the waters. In the foreground you will see a big house, half standing, which was a staging post for the Grandee of Castille in centuries past. For me this photograph is amazing, it looks like  a Surrealist painting! (Mike has a Dali Moment!)

Two skeletal trees stranded in the basin of the embalse.

In the hedgerow Mike photographed some lovely Rock Buntings.

As it became late and the sky darkened with a threatening storm, we sort a stop for the night, eventually winding up to over 3,500ft at the Puerto Manquillo.

That evening a huge thunderstorm passed through the gorge below us, Mike photographed, I quaked!!

Surviving the night, we were so pleased to be visited by these Crossbills pecking all around.

Male Crossbill.

Female Crossbill.

Our next photo stop was the village of Orbaneja del Castillo, (off the N623 Burgos to Santander Road)
approached by a narrow road, with rocks like teeth towering above, quite magnificent. Linda stood in the road for you to give perspective.

Waterfalls cascade down through the village from springs that feed the great Ebro river.

Little narrow streets wind through this pretty village, steeped in history, but be warned, it is a huge destination for Spanish day trippers ( avoid weekends)

Travelling onwards we arrive at the Embalse del Ebro, where we hope to spend the night. The scenery is stunning, with a backdrop of snow capped mountains, little villages clustered below.

Although we came here to see the Ferruginous Duck (totally unsuccessful) we had a beautiful sunset!! 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The photos are very beautiful but I didn't understand where you were, in Rioja or Castilla-Leon ? Because I'm learning English... Thank you for your great pictures !!! ;)