Spain’s population of 47 million may be decreasing back to 90’s levels of 40 million due to emigration and low birth rates after the long financial crisis. This is compared to 60+ million each in France and Italy, thus making Spain the least densely populated western European country.
Couple that with centuries old architecture, friendly people, great wines, good food in tapas portions and affordable prices , I consider Spain to be the New France, so to speak. (And did I mention the jamon?)
Hard climb today but it took us into the country and away from the road for the first half day. Then back down into the valley for the village of las Herrerias with a 5 E bottle of hyper local wine and dinner. Another mountain tomorrow.