Sustainable leisure activities in Añana

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The creator of Rutas de Ribera (Ribera Routes), Vanessa Sánchez, with a group during one of the outings


There are more and more interesting leisure activities to choose from outside towns and cities, and here in the Añana District we are fortunate that some very creative and innovative initiatives have been launched to promote villages that seem to have been forgotten.

One of these initiatives is Rutas de Ribera, a leisure alternative for Saturday and/or Sunday mornings which goes beyond the traditional guided walk through the countryside. It brings together all the ingredients to create a kind of walking film starring villagers with a past worth telling.

Of the three routes proposed by Vanessa Sánchez on her website, we have attended these two:

The first route we took was “Todo está en el aire”, and we were pleasantly surprised by its design and, of course, the final mystery that it unveils. The route was created by Vanessa Sánchez, who has travelled around different countries as a correspondent for EiTB and who for this journey has teamed up with the actor Txubio Fernández de Jáuregui, two-time winner of the Max Awards for the Performing Arts.

A poetic and sonorous walk of barely 4 kilometres that begins with an absurd aim: “Maximum effort, minimum result”, in which participants are challenged to lose their bearings and not to let themselves be guided by appearances.

As for “Los Pueblos Fantasma” route, we found it both moving and at times shocking because, as residents of a village in Valdegovía with less than 10 inhabitants, it gave us much food for thought to visit a village, devoured by undergrowth, of which there is not even a sign on the track today.

San Pelayo, as the village was called, is visible from the AP68 motorway, but nobody notices it any more. This route reminds you that villages like San Pelayo exist, and that if you take the time to listen, they still have stories to tell.

The creator of this route, Vanessa Sánchez, a resident of Lasierra, was very surprised to discover that there was a village in her municipality that had disappeared only 50 years before, and she decided to investigate the reasons for its demise.

The research she began resulted in this completely “sustainable” leisure activity, which invites us to reflect on the consequences of urban development. Vanessa Sánchez’s main objective is to learn more about the municipality where she has been living since 2016 and to make it known to the rest of the world.

The guide on this unique route has worked with many collaborators to carry out this very special project. She has received the support of the artist and choreographer Idoia Zabaleta, also a Ribera Alta resident, and the forest warden Jorge Ferreira, who has cleared the undergrowth so that the stones and their memories can be brought back to life.



The Ghost Villages Route


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