From Italy we traveled west across the south of France into the north of Spain. (It’s really not as complicated as it sounds) After two nights in the hills of Basque Country we doubled back towards Pamplona, driving on further to the Yesa reservoir. We camped on the edge of the reservoir, which in the spring and summer would normally be under water. The muted grey tones of the dried up shoreline was a strange contrast to the multi-coloured hills that surrounded us. There was an endless supply of firewood lying about and not a single person to bother us.
The reservoir was built in the 1950’s, flooding fertile agricultural land along the Aragón River and leaving the locals without a source of income. The area was largely abandoned over the course of the next 30 years. It’s not a new story, but a sad one nonetheless. In fact, in British Columbia, they are doing something similar to this right now.
The 13th century village of Tiermas was interesting to explore. Information is hard to find online, but from what I understand, the last resident left around 1990. Before that, there are stories of hippies and squatters living in the village. Of course there is a much deeper history of this area. The Aragón river was once a trading route of the Roman Empire; there are ruins of ancient Roman baths below the village. When the water level is low enough, the springs reveal themselves. We visited the site but unfortunately they were submerged. Maybe next time!
The hamlet of Ecot near Bonneval overlooks the gorges of the river Arc. There are several very old stone houses and one chapel in the village. There were also some newer homes being built in the same stone and wood style. After digging around on the web I discovered that Nicolas Vanier filmed the movie Belle and Sèbastien in the village and surrounding area.