Our first-ever guided walking holiday with full board ticked all the boxes. Mike fetched us in Santander airport and for the rest of the week chauffeured us tirelessly, by van or by Land Rover, up hill and down steep, rutted mountain tracks to and from the best vantage points for all the walks he knows intimately well, saving us lots of leg work so we always walked through stunning landscape with beautiful views. On day one, without causing a fuss he quietly and accurately gauged our walking strengths and weaknesses. Another couple had booked the same week and we turned out to be well matched in ability and temperament, as Lisa had suggested when she took the bookings.
Once he knew his guests, Mike delivered just the right walk every day, taking the weather into account so we shared lunch with an alpine chough on a mountain top one sunny, still day, and walked along lower mountain ridges amongst herds of goats and ponies the next day, when it was windy. He even carried our lunch! Lisa, ably assisted by Lydia, ran the B&B. In our little company we had one non-meat eater and one person who did not eat garlic; these restrictions were cheerfully incorporated in the menu and we either all had fabulous fish and hearty vegetarian stews with pulses, or non-meat, non-garlic alternatives were provided for those who needed them.
This is a small B&B run from and in a family home, so the service you get at Casa Gustavo differs a little from that of some hotels you may have visited. Lisa cheerfully washed our smelly mountain kit and let us stay one more night on a whim, in our spacious room with balcony facing the valley, again providing a lovely evening meal; the kids talked to us as if we were real people; and Mike and sometimes Lisa joined their guests for a drink and a chat on the balcony most evenings, watching the sun go down over valley. That balcony view is something else and on Les' birthday, it came with champagne - on the Casa. We were made welcome, and made to feel at home.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Casa Gustavo is a 500 year-old converted farmhouse. Small and informal, it is run by an English family with children, cats and dogs. Set in the hamlet of Aliezo, it's only 5 minutes from Potes, 30 minutes from Fuente De and 50 minutes from the coast. It offers comfortable rooms, a shaded courtyard for summer evening meals, sitting-room with books, maps and balcony, and access to a wealth of information on the area. ... more less