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Bárcena Mayor, a village of the past

Sometimes I wonder why we will need a machine to go back in time because there are some villages which make us travel back to the past, this is the case for Barcena Mayor, a small village located in the municipality of Los Tojos in the Autonomous Region of Cantabria in Spain.

The village is surrounded by trees as beeches and oaks since it is situated inside the limits of the Nature Park of Saja Besaya, both inside the National Reserve of Saja Hunt.

Many people go to do hiking, well not only that, some go hunting animals like wild boars, hares, deers... but this activity is controlled and it is only allowed in some periods.

The day of the visit was grey and humid, hopefully when we (me and friends) arrived, the rain has stopped to fall so the walk was much more pleasant, of course we would prefer a sunny day but in some ways, this kind of atmosphere made the feeling of the past more stronger, above all during night time when the mist was devouring gradually the village.

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Losing ourselves inside, we discovered little by little its different parts, the most beautiful is the bridge with the Argoza river crossing it and where people can go out to climb the mountain Alto Abedules (1410 meters above sea level) or get in to rest after a hard hiking.

The most emotional moment was when we arrived on the square with an old laundry in the center, we entered inside and we began to talk about the past and the present. About how was to clean here and how hard should be during winter time, and wondering if some villagers still use it, I believe not but sometimes it is very hard to let a habit in the past.

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The most surprising fact was the condition of some houses, all are old but for some of them, we could see that in some sections the structure may crumble !!! A fact that the owners seem not very preoccupied or they don’t have enough money to spend right now for a renovation. The truth is that if they resisted against the time so they should stand against the future.

Getting hungry, we entered to one of the taverns, not only eager to try the highlander foods, very famous in Cantabria, but also to warm us up. The famous plate is the stew, there are various ones so we ordered 2 different (very delicious) and for my main dish, I ordered a wild boar meat with mushroom sauce and potatoes (very good), the taste is very strong, something that may not please everyone.

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In 1979, the village was declared as historic-artistic complex so if you are near to Santander, the closer city, there is about 1h of driving so it is very fast to be back to the old time. To reach it, you will have to take the road direction A-67 Torrelavega, after A-8 Oviedo then take the exit to Cabezón de la Sal to follow CA-180. Once on this road, if you cross villages like Carrejo, Santibañez… you are on the good direction so just keep going on, Barcena Mayor is few meters away from Correpoco.

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