Monday, 8 September 2014

La Senda del Oso (The Bear Route), Proaza

After a hard day yesterday, when we visited Oviedo & Gijón, I was looking forward to doing some walking today and was hoping for a car-free day...

Toño, out host, encouraged us to do the bear route, saying that we'd be walking through a beautiful forest and that we'd likely see some of the three Asturian bears along the way. Sounded interesting.

At the edge of the town we crossed the bridge, and turned left, where we found Oso Goloso. It's a small café, which also provides bicycles for rent. Prices were tempting, €9 for the whole day, but we preferred to walk. The girl in the shop actually recommended a route going the other way, towards Entrago, saying that it was a more beautiful route, but it was a 14km walk and we hadn't planned for that. Had we known it before, I'd have been more interested in that.

Especially after the walk we did.

It was summer, after all. It was hot, the river was a gentle flowing stream, and it wasn't as green as I'd expected. The bears were actually in an enclosure - there were three of them - in a valley, and the path was some way up. We couldn't go close to the enclosure.

To be honest, it was rather sad. I don't like zoos much, especially when the animals are in small cages. Here, they are a bit freer, but it must be terribly boring for them. They're still enclosed, after all. This day was so hot that we couldn't see any at first - they were all hiding in some shade or other, I suspected.

And then, we spotted it.

Asturian bear, Proaza, Asturias
A lonely bear (As usual, click on any image to see a larger version)
I didn't have a lens long enough to zoom in close. I could crop the photo, but I prefer to share this view as you can then have an idea of their enclosures.

Later, it came a little closer. Or it could have been a different bear, I couldn't really tell. There were several enclosures, but I think they're inter-connected.

Asturian bear, Proaza, Asturias
A bear posing
After passing the enclosures, we carried on for a while and then decided to turn back. It was very hot and it didn't look inviting enough for us to carry on. On the way back, we saw all the three bears, although not together except for these two.

Asturian bear, Proaza, Asturias
Asturian bears
They were walking back into the shade, and so were we...