After breakfast we left the monastery for a day long field trip. We had the opportunity to see Fusarium circinatum (pitch canker) on Monterey Pines, and Mycosphaerella sp. on Eucalyptus.
Forestry staff cut down an infected pine and made some cross sections to show the distorted growth caused by the canker. They also gave everyone laminated samples of leaves blotched by Mycosphaerella for us. (We decided not to bring these home to Canada!)
At one stop we had a chance to walk through a stand of redwoods planted 60 years ago. Not California, but lovely nonetheless.
For our morning “coffee break” we stopped in the village of Cosío. As we walked from the bus over a bridge and up to a social centre, the church bells started ringing and we realized we were in for something special. When we walked into the room, there wasn’t just coffee and tea, there was a long table laden with crusty bread, serrano jamon, potato tortilla, shrimp tortilla, manchego cheeses, plus wine, and for those who could handle it, grappa. All courtesy of the Government of Cantabria. Wow. What a treat.
The bus took us deeper into the Cantabrian Mountains, and eventually we reached the town of Potes, nestled in the spectacular Picos de Europa. Another wonderful meal, this time in a timber framed restaurant overooking the valley. Dave and Cheryl had hiked through here before our rendezvous in Torrelavega, and we wondered which peaks of the Picos they climbed 😉
On the way back, we stopped at Piedrasluengas, a beautiful viewpoint where we all posed for a group photo. We didn’t return to the monastery until after dark, but again, food was waiting for us!