Thursday, 30 May 2013

Posada del Valle Ghosts of Past and Present.

How the hotel looked when we bought it back in 1995!
When a guest arrives at Posada del Valle they often ask about the history of the hotel. It is difficult to know much about the history as this relies on the memory of neighbours, which very often differ according to who is telling it.

The inscription above the side entrance of the hotel
 We know the house is 114 years old as we have the inscription above the side entrance; Leandro Pravia Hevia..... The year it was built 1899 and Dios, Patria y Rey; the motto and cornerstone of Carlism.

As a social and political force, Carlism was one of the main actors in the Spanish civil war and to this end we have been told that during the civil war a local lad was called to cover the inscription with chalk, which we uncovered whilst renovating the house.

Discovering the inscription whilst renovating the house.
We were told that a priest and his brother lived here, the brother gambled and the house had to be sold to pay the debt. Later a Sr. Manzano told us he brought the house and farm with one sole purpose to make money. Apparently the farm had a huge woodland of Walnut trees, these were all cut down and sold, and he recovered his money and sold the farm and house. We have one magnificent survivor outside the dining room window, making its own statement I think.

The hotel with the large walnut tree standing by the dining room
We brought the house and farm from Marino and Angeles; they had cows and cut all the meadows with a scythe (guadaƱa), not an easy job on these slopes. Then the grass was taken up the farm with a horse and cart to the cows. The old original apples were here for cider, they had a large press in the basement of the house, we have heard many a neighbour came to help make the cider, and wandered home merry after the task was completed.

Here we are taking our first cider apple harvest out of the farm with oxen, before we had the cement road down to the hotel built.
The farm is called El Escobio, meaning a narrow pass between two mountains (which it is); hence we chose the hotel name Posada del Valle, Posada meaning Inn and Valle meaning valley. 

The hotel taken from the mounatin in front of it, showing the mountain behind
The church at the bottom of the farm is called Santo Tomas. Near this church there was a headstone dated from the 5th century dedicated to Bovecio from his wife. These people were of Celtic origin and the headstone can now be seen in the archaeological museum in Oviedo.

Drawing of the headstone found near the church at the bottom of the farm
Blog entry written by Joe

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Photo Competition 2013, judging and the results.

We would like to thank everyone who participated in our Photo competition and to say what a difficult task it was to decide on a winning photo. To help evaluate the pictures in a structured and objective manner we developed a scoring system which is explained below.
The winning Photo taken by Simon Lancaster in the Rockies British Colombia
But first the winning photo which was taken by Simon Lancaster in the Rockies (British Colombia) Canada whilst on a family holiday in September 2012. According to Simon the photo shows the incredible waters of Lake Moraine cradled by just as incredible peaks, and “the image embrace’s the spirit of freedom found both within an environment and within one’s self when out walking in such areas of natural beauty.” Congratulations Simon.

The other photos shown here were all highly commended and all the photo entries can be seen on flickr clicking here

Highly commended; Photo taken By Alejandro Collia in the Sierra de Vizcarres en Asturias
The judging process
In the information for the competition we asked for beautiful, evocative and uplifting photographs associated with experiences in the outdoors, so for each of those characteristics; beautiful, evocative and uplifting we awarded 0 to 3 points to each photo and then the option of awarding an additional point for creativity and technical merit. This gave the possibility of a maximum of 11 points for each photo. We gave the option of awarding only one point for technical merit as we didn’t want the competition to be too biased in favour of the “professional” photographers.

Highly commended; Photo taken by Julie Andrews "Autumn Patchwork" Taken on the road between Portilla de Reina and Posada de Valdeon in Northern Spain

The five judges to whom I am very grateful for their time and help were;

Juan Iglesias from 
Lidia Fanjul from  
Gavin Owens from  
John Shackleton from
Nigel Burch from

To me what was most surprising was the difference in the number of points awarded to some of the photos by the different judges which just goes to show beauty is in the eye of the beholder!

Highly commended, Photo taken by Julie Tesse; "The Turquoise Lake" Patagonia Chile
We have certainly enjoyed running the competition and have learnt a lot and are already planning for the 2014 competition.  


Hotel Posada del Valle is a small hotel in Asturias Northern Spain surrounded by its own organic farm and where we are passionate about organic farming, food, and sustainable livelihoods. In this Blog those of us who live and work at Hotel Posada del Valle open a door to share with all of you who are interested in what we are doing.