The Pilgrim Rally from Picos de Europa to Santiago de Compostela.
The Via Iberica will be starting at the Rolls Royce collection founded by Mr. Miguel de la Via. The 45 cars are exhibited in the castle which Mr. de la Via helped reconstruct himself. The collection is not far from the ferry ports from Bilbao and Santander with direct connection to Plymouth and Portsmouth.
The Via Iberica is open for pre-war cars and cars designed before the war.
Over the course of 9 days we will be covering 1750 km over some of the most fantastic roads Spain has to offer. We follow the pilgrim’s road to Santiago de Compostela and stay in the most fascinating Paradors.
The Via Iberica takes a slow pace, allowing for the occasional stop for a picture or a cup of coffee. We spend quite some time discovering the Picos de Europa, admiring this wonderful mountainous formation from every possible angel.
The roads stay friendly even for pre-war cars, traffic is quasi-absent and navigation easy.
After five days we arrive in Santiago de Compostela where we stay in de Parador on the main square, across from the Cathedral where the remains of the apostle St. James are said to be kept.
We have a spare day in Santiago de Compostela so that we can inhale the atmosphere of this ancient city.
The finish is two days driving to the East, at the highest point of the Picos de Europa at Fuente Dé. We suggest that you do not leave immediately but first take the cable car to the top and admire the astonishing sight.
You are not far from Santander or Bilbao where you can take the ferry back to the United Kingdom. For participants from Belgium and Holland we will be considering the possibility of a trucking the cars to the Bilbao airport.
We suggest that those coming from the United Kingdom take the Portsmouth to Santander ferry. The ferry leaves Portsmouth Friday at 17:00 h and arrives Saturday at 17:30 h.
We can book the Parador in Santillana del Mar, a few kilometers from Santander for you if you wish. This is also the hotel where we stay on Sunday. Let us know.
There are several daily flights from Amsterdam to Bilbao. In consultation with the participants we will offer a truck bringing the cars to the Bilbao airport. The KLM flight from Amsterdam is scheduled to arrive at 16:50 on Saturday.
Alternatively we advise to take the ferry to the UK and take the same ferry as the British participants, it is a nice 24 hours crossing.
The prologue to the Via Iberica Pre War will start at the Miguel de la Via Collection between Bilbao (30 km) and Santander (90 km). We will be served a lunch between the many Rolls Royces.
Mr. de la Via not only assembled the largest Rolls Royce collection worldwide. He also rebuild from scratch an ancient castle to house them. This collection deserves more attention and we are happy that the Via Iberica is welcomed by Mrs. de la Via.
The first night will be spent at the Parador in Santillana del Mar, a village which has been attraction tourist since the 19th century, a few kilometers from Santander.
The first day is one to remember. We leave the coast for a great ride through some beautiful natural parks into the Picos de Europa. Fabulous mountain formations. We are in another world, vacation has started.
There are no roads across the Picos de Europa, so when you go into the mountain formation you have to come out over the same road. And that we do not want. So we take the cable car to Bulnes and have lunch there in a splendid setting.
Back in the valley it is only a small drive to the Parador de Cangas de Onís. The Parador is an old monastery converted to luxury hotel. It has a splendid view on the Picos.
We have a pleasant drive, at first along the western side of the Picos de l’Europa. The roads are excellent and deserted (except for the occasional cow), the scenery is vast.
The roads being deserted also means that there are not many people living there. We will be having lunch at a simple but excellent little restaurant. The municipality will be keeping the square free for our machines.
We will be staying at the old Thermal hotel near Oviedo. It now doubles as a golf resort.
We have a short day, to make driving an navigation a bit more of a challenge we start with a smaller road gloing directly south. But soon we are back on the main road, made for pre-war cars it seems except for one stretch of down-hill which is quite steep but without major hairpins.
We have lunch in the small city of Vaillablino, if the figure of the chef is an indication, then the restaurant must be excellent.
This time we will not be staying in a Parador. We will be staying in a beautiful hotel in the little town of Tineo. The staff is very friendly and they are thinking with us so as to make it un unforgettable event for the rally and for the town. That is what makes the Via-rallies so special !
We leave our hotel for some more mountain roads alternated by farmer’s villages. We see many typical barns built in such a way that mice can not get in.
And we have some fantastic driving. In the morning very easy to navigate.
We suggest you have lunch in the touristic village of Taramundi.
There is an ancient watermill with museum and restaurant which can be visted. The center of town has many restaurants and just outside the village there is an excellent restaurant with a great view.
In the afternoon we take some smaller roads, navigation gets a challenge but the Spanish farmer is always willing to help you on the way.
At the end of the day we arrive to our hotel in the countryside but close to the coast.
Today will be one of the most memorable days. We start for a drive along the coast. Clearly the vegetation is changing. At first we drive through forest, than the vegetation disappears gradually to leave us with a barren moon-like landscape with on one side the silver-blue sea. The cliffs are impressive.
Before we leave the coast we have lunch at a taverna which – supposedly – has the best tortilla’s of Spain. We can only agree that they are excellent.
Before reaching our destination, Santiago de Compostela, we visit an abandoned cloister. Truley impressive how it’s grandeur is left to the environment.
Santiago de Compostela is a beautiful and very friendly city and the resting place of St. James, apostle of Jesus Christ. Our Parador is situated on the square next to the cathedral and opposite of the city hall. The parador, Hostal Reis Católocos, dates from the 15e century and used to host the pilgrims who came to see the shrine in the cathedral. We stay two nights in Santiago so that you have all the time to visit the city, its cloisters, the little alleys and the wine bars.
We are allowed to exhibit the cars on the Praza do Obraddiro in front of the Saint James Cathedral and will be dining in the Royal dining rooms of the Hostal dos Reis.
Enough driving, Santiago di Compostela is for walking.
First of all we will be trying to attend a Botafumeiro ceremony in the Cathedral. But do not miss the old city centre, free of any car but full of small shops and tapas bars. Or visit the Monasterio de San Martin Pinario with the splendid choir.
Above all, enjoy the free day. Santiago is a true pearl and one could easily spend a week there, just relaxing.
After a day of rest in Santiago de Compostela it is time to go on. We now drive East on the South side of the Cordillera Cantabrica mountain range. Mountains covered with cherry and fig trees, slopes dotted with chestnuts, poplars and small farms, surround us.
The first stretch is easy, along the main roads, halfway we stop at a lovely bodega turned restaurant with a fantastic view. We arrived there at 15:30 and could hardly find a place for a simple but excellent lunch.
Just before arriving at the Parador , those wishing so can visit Las Médulas, a historic site with a stunning landscapes. Las Médulas was a gold mine in Roman times. The Romans used water to destroy the mountain. Water was brought in, high over the mountains, through two aqueducts, 80 and 100 km long!
Our destination is the Parador Villafranca del Bierzo situated in the wine region of the same name and on the pilgrim road to Santiago.
The Parador is in the little town. We invite you for a glass of wine at a local bodega before leaving you to find one of the many restaurants.
The last day is the longest, highest and most exciting. It is a driver’s day, hardly any navigation. We take a (facultative) detour for yet another gorge.
Even thought the distance is highest, the roads are easy and stay so till the end at an altitude of 1075 meter at Picos de Europa.
We drive across lake Riano and see the mountains mirroring in the clear water.
In the midst of the imposing verticality and idyllic scenery of the mountains of Picos de Europa National Park stands the Parador de Fuente Dé, located near this small town’s famous cableway.
We would not have brought you up to the Picos if it wasn’t for a good reason. The cable car from Fuente Dé is one of the attractions of the mountain range. The view is spectacular, especially early in the morning. We suggest you go up even if it is just for the view. The cable goes up from 1075 tot 1823 meters without any intermediate support. If you have the energy, walk up to the pass (45 min) and the view is even more stunning.
Fuente Dé is some 140 km from Santander and 230 km from Bilbao.
But of course, you do not want to miss Santander or Bilbao. And if you go to Bilbao, the Guggenheim is not to be missed.
The ferries to Plymouth and Portsmouth leave in the afternoon/early evening of Wednesday. We suggest you take the 21:15 Santander to Plymouth ferry, it is like a mini cruise.
There is a daily KLM-flight (16:55 o’clock) from Bilbao to Amsterdam. In consultation with the participants, we will have a truck picking up the cars at the Bilbao airport. Either on Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon.
Wim Peters (B)
Nel Peters (B)
Jan Dingemans (NL)
Marleen Dingemans (NL)
David Biggins (UK)
Penny Morris (UK)
Bob Pattison (USA)
Julie Fitzsimmons (USA)
Louisa van Beuningen (NL)
Rimmert Sluiter (NL)
Mark van Leeuwen (NL)
Natasja van Leeuwen-Huizer (NL)
Rob Jeurissen (NL)
Jeanne Jeurissen (NL)
Hans van den Bosch (NL)
Betty van den Bosch (NL)
Rolf Furrer (CH)
Adrian Fiat (RO)
Wouter Panis (B)
Eelke Panis (B)
Jan Roosenburg (NL)
Frans Hora Siccama (NL)
Tom Gatsonides (NL)
Rosalie Gatsonides (NL)
Roy Callow (UK)
Brigitte Callow (UK)
Nick Marks (UK)
Annabella Marks (UK)
Terkel Ovesen (DK)
Birgitte Ovesen (DK)
Martin Aaldering (NL)
José Aaldering (NL)
Ian Maxwell (UK)
Stella Maxwell (UK)
Henk Sonnenberg (NL)
Joan Sonnenberg Nauta (NL)
Harm Altena (NL)
Els de Bruin (NL)
Cees Willemse (NL)
Ingeborg van 't Hof (NL)
Roger Goodwin (UK)
Gillian Goodwin (UK)
Richard Biddulph (UK)
Charess Biddulph (UK)
Start: Sunday June 4
Finish: Monday June 12
€ 5.950, – when fully payed before April 1, 2017.
Update (you are on top of the list for the best rooms): € 500, –
Total rally kilometers: 1750