Traveling gets me all excited. I look forward to the trip the moment we start planning it. And last year we got to take a dream vacation that we've been thinking and talking about for years. It was truly amazing. My husband studied in Madrid a long, long time ago and has meant to go back since. When we met, he made me fall in love with Spain long before we got there. We would go to Spanish restaurants and sample the cuisine on every anniversary. So, after being married for 21 years, we made it there in person.
But not only that, we found some truly magical places on our adventure. We landed in Madrid and explored that in depth for several days before renting a car and setting out on our own. We traveled through Segovia and Salamanca on our way to Leon. Segovia was magical on its own as we dined on a picnic lunch below a fabulous castle in a lovely nature area. This picture shows the castle there.
But we were on our way up into the mountains of Los Picos de Europa and we felt the magic from the moment we started our ascent. There was something about that area that felt other worldly. The flora and fauna were so different from our native California or anything we'd seen in the United States. There were mountains with snow and many of the rocks were tinted green. It was chilly as it was springtime. We kept going up and up into the mountains until we got to the magical town of Potes. My son is friends with a family whose roots are in Madrid and they recommended the town to us. It was amazing.
We parked the car in this town with cobble stone streets accessible only by foot with little stores and a few restaurants. The feel was mystical like there was far more going on there than what you could actually see with the naked eye.
We could see our apartment from the moment we arrived as it was perched right above the small river that runs through the middle of town. As we were checking in, I checked out the old tile roof above our apartment as the steps were steep and you could inspect the roof carefully. There were tiny little plants and flowers perched in between the crevices of the tiles. I swear if fairies were real (which I think they might be), this was most definitely where they would live. It was a tiny fairy forest on top of this roof. Amazing. It wasn't until I got home that I could see I caught a spirit in the picture. That is what the shaft of rainbow light is streaming from top right to lower left. Cool, huh?
We were shown into our apartment where we threw open the windows to listen to the sounds of the river below us--heaven! The cool breeze and the scents of the river and spring flowers flooded our apartment in a fabulous way. I was so sad that we were only staying one night there. We rested and enjoyed our new space for a bit before heading to the little stores before they closed.
I knew there was something about this place and it was confirmed as I went into every store along the main street and there were figurines of witches and books on magic. Even the touristy stores had little witches on display along with other pagan symbols in the jewelry and on bookmarks. The language barrier prevented me from learning too much more about this place besides what I could feel. There was magic in these mountains and I did my best to absorb as much of it as I could while we were there. I felt as if I just sat down at a table in town and pulled out my Tarot cards that I would have been most welcome and it would have been the most natural thing in the world.
We walked to the other side of the river for dinner and the local cider. It felt so warm and comfortable to me. We walked along the river and there was a magical tree that felt like it had been there for centuries. I could just see ceremonies and rituals taking place there for generations. Even the ducks chose to roost right along the sides of the river.
The next morning, we had breakfast in the apartment with our view of the stream and the hundred year old bridge with the sun streaming down. I meditated in that spot for awhile and was reluctant to pack up and leave. We decided to go to the town square and check out the weekly market. Meats, cheeses, jams and jellies, bread, and handmade crafts filled the stalls. There was magic in the stones that every building was made of. There was magic in the river. There was magic in every flower. There was magic in every person we met.
Our trip continued as we headed north to San Sebastian and later down to Barcelona but I will never forget the magic of Potes. As we were driving down the mountains towards the northern shore, I saw an ibex. They are rare to see and I looked up the meaning of the ibex as a spirit animal. It means that it's time to climb to new heights and take on new endeavors while being sure-footed. I'll take that.
Be prepared for anything when on an adventure. Stop. Listen. If it feels magical, take some pictures. You might find something interesting in them when you get home. Meditate. Look in the stores and see what seems to be hidden. That is the magic of travel.