“Touristing” in the North of Spain

by | Mar 27, 2018 | Bulnes Spain

It’s official.  Despite the rivers looking better than they have the past two days, there will be no fishing on this fishing trip.  The scouting of the waters of Asturias Spain for the World Masters Fly Fishing Championships that takes place April 23-29 will be limited to looking into the mud.  The destructive storm over the weekend has washed out all rivers for at least a week if not more.


The weather however improved drastically today.  The sun popped as the fog lifted.  We could see mountains we hadn’t seen yet.  They’re bigger than expected and summits are covered in fresh snow.


Like I said yesterday, we could whimper about conditions or have fun.  We chose fun.  We played tourist this morning and Jerry, Pablo and I headed to the high mountain village of Bulnes in Picos de Europa National Park.


To get to Bulnes is either a 2-hour hike or a ten-minute train ride that tunnels up through the mountain.  As much as we wanted to enjoy the hike the train in a tunnel caught our curiosity.  Vladi Trzebunia and I put our car on a train and ferried it through a mountain in Slovenia years ago.  Off we went.


Sure enough the small one car train blasted us up through the mountain and we popped out on a ridge.  The village of Bulnes lay before our eyes.  It was old and beautiful and that train ride more resembled a trip backwards in a time machine.  This train by the way didn’t exist until 2001.  The only access to Bulnes was a steep narrow path.


People still live in Bulnes.  While the elders herd sheep most of the younger generation has latched on to the tourism selling food and drink and souvenirs.  We walked the walks and shot photos then grabbed coffees.


Hiking up past the village brings you deeper into these incredible mountains and the views are stunning.  The switch backs are easy but with all the rain the mud made it slick.  Jerry is in his mid 70’s but he makes it look easy.  Pablo and I trailed behind.


Our final vantage point gave us a full view of Picu Urriello (Naranjo de Bulnes) 2519 M.  The shear wall of the north face of the square mountain reminded me of the north side of the Grand Teton.  I think if I make it back here with Granny someday we’ll climb it!


By the time we finished our visit to Bulnes the sun replaced most the clouds.  The mountain peaks became more surreal but eventually our appetites called us to return to the train for the ride back down.




All three days here we’ve devoured a major lunch of some sort around 2:30 PM.  During the Championships a fancy restaurant, El Cenador de los Canońigo, overlooking Cangas de Onis, will host the opening ceremony dinner as well as the closing.  Pablo thought it would be relaxing to take in the amazing view there after our strenuous and stressful morning of not being able to fish (Ha!).


The sun wasn’t only shining, it was hot.  We began with beers and a plate of the finest cheeses I’ve ever tasted out on the restaurant deck.  I daydreamed of partying on this deck three weeks from now with my teammates celebrating another World Masters trip to the podium with medals around our necks.


Next, we wandered into the dinning room and Pablo ordered us a traditional la fabada of Asturias.  Of course you need good wine to wash down each delectable bite.  Jerry made sure all was in order.





La fabada is a stew with huge white beans, pork sausage, blood sausage and chunks of pork.  This was our first non-seafood lunch of the week.  Although it tasted nice I nibbled around the blood sausage.



We ended the great afternoon out on the deck again and finished off our wine and perhaps another beer.  Originally we scheduled one more day of fishing with Pablo for tomorrow but with no fishing to be done, Pablo said goodbye and headed home.  He’ll be waiting for our arrival in three weeks.


Jerry and I don’t fly home until Thursday so we’ll have a casual look at the overflowing competition waters once more then make the long drive to Madrid.  Tomorrow I’ll sum up the trip and my thoughts for upcoming World Masters Fly Fishing Championships April 23-29.


Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing


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I started fly fishing at age 7 in the lakes and ponds of New England cutting my teeth on various sunfish, bass, crappie and stocked trout. I went to Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, where I graduated with a Naturalist Degree while I discovered new fishing opportunities for pike, muskellunge, walleyes and various salmonids found in Lake Superior and its tributaries.

From there I headed west to work a few years in the Yellowstone region to simply work as much as most people fish and fish as much as most people work. I did just that, only it lasted over 20 years working at the Jack Dennis Fly Shop in Jackson, WY where I departed in 2009. Now it’s time to work for "The Man", working for myself that is.

I pursue my love to paint fish, lecture on every aspect of fly fishing you can imagine and host a few trips to some of the most exotic places you can think of. My ultimate goal is to catch as many species of fish on fly possible from freshwater to saltwater, throughout the world. I presently have taken over 440 species from over 60 countries!