Yesterday was a blissful May day. The sun shone, school and work were closed and we spent a long day in the outdoors, putting behind us an April that I shall be glad to see the back of. (You know the kind; stressful.) We headed over the mountains to León, to the municipio of Senas de Luna. Luna by name, lunar by nature, this sparsely populated area has vast, sweeping landscapes of open fields pockmarked by limestone rocks and caves, with mountains jutting high above and, below, a sparkling reservoir.
Our destination here was the family-friendly crag of Rabanal de Luna, with its nice, gentle walk-in, plenty of flat ground and space for hanging about and picnicking at the base of the climbs and lots of easy slabby routes for all the family. Jack had worn his climbing shoes for the whole hour-long car drive, so we knew he was a *bit* keen to have a go. And, with a little coaxing and some helpful tugging on the rope at times, he made it all the way to the top of a grade 4 slab. Not bad for a 4 and a half year old, eh? Challenges conquered, it was time for a picnic lunch, ice-cream and a change of venue to meet some friends. We zipped along the mountain roads to reach Villanueva de la Tercia, a really fantastic climbing venue but with a rather longer walk-in (30 minutes uphill) that makes it less friendly for little legs. Unfortunately I have to include my own pins within that description, as today my thighs are killing me. To be fair to Jack, he managed the whole walk-in and out under his own steam. Slowly, with a lot of time spent picking flowers, talking to horses and telling stories about ninja turtles but impressive nonetheless.
The stunning vistas, wild-flower strewn meadows and awesome climbing aside, for me the single best thing about Villanueva de la Tercia is actually the nondescript looking service station 2km away in Villamanín. Sandwiched between the petrol pumps and their own famous embutidos (Ibérico meats) factory is the bar-restaurant and bodega of Casa Ezequiel. Here they serve the most enormous free tapa with every drink sold. With a cold drink you’ll receive a massive plate of finest chorizo, cecina and jamón and a huge chunk of bread; with coffee, a huge slab of home-made bizcocho. Bearing in mind that the coffee costs €1.20 and a glass of decent Rioja about 1.50€, you really can’t go wrong. The perfect end to a great day out.