Who wouldn't want to wake up in the morning to a view like this? Well, its the view that most people who live in Potes see everyday. Potes is a small village in the region of Cantabria, and is on one of the prettiest. The village is in the centre of the historic Liébana region, an area that is surrounded by spectacular mountains, with running streams and rivers. Its old quarter has the Property of Cultural Interest designation.
The town is very typical of the smaller European towns, and have a very cozy feeling reminiscent of old movies - basically, at a first glance, looks like it has a lot of character. When you learn more about the history, you know why it feels that way. Potes was originally the dominion of the Infante Tello (14th century), son of King Alfonso XI of Castile, and in 1445 became the property of the Marquis of Santillana and his descendants, the dukes of El Infantado. Specifically, the tower known as the Torre del Infantado, a sturdy construction dating from the 15th century –and until recently the site of the Town Hall– is one of the most important monuments in the town today.
Walking through the town, you get a sense of calm feeling that is very refreshing when you visit from the hustle and bustle of a modern metropolitan area. The people that live here have lived here for many generations, and don't plan to go anywhere. They take pride in the smaller community they have built and work hard to keep it. There is a sense of satisfaction that comes from doing that, and its immediately visible.
One of the things I love about sleepy mountain towns like this is the food. Usually the regions are cooler, and tend to have lots of comfort food types dishes, such as stews, soups and casseroles. This town is no different (well, this region, as well). The traditional dish found here is called cocido lebaniego (chickpea casserole). Its a hearty stew made with chickpeas, meat on bones and potatoes and vegetables. All cooked in chicken broth for a long time makes a very satisfying dish on a cold day.
Of course, it wouldn't be a complete trip to Potes without mentioning the mountains of pico de europa. These majestic mountains surround this town and a few others around the region. We took a trip with the trolley all the way to the top, from where the view gets even better. There waa a shed up there, which not sure what it is used for, but I am guessing that a night up there in the summer must be amazing.