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Friday, October 26, 2012

Dinosaur Footprints

Some time ago, my husband and I traveled to a little-known town in Spain. Enciso is literally in the middle of nowhere. Mountains surround the town, which is home to as many cows as people, maybe more! These mountains are almost treeless, which is probably one of the reasons why layers of earth have eroded away leaving . . . DINOSAUR FOOTPRINTS.

Those critters had big feet—and medium-sized feet, and fairly small feet. The tracks were made in soft dirt or mud and are clearly visible. One of the places had been a riverbed or creek, and the ripples of the water are easy to see, along with scratch marks and belly rubs where the big reptiles were swimming. For me, this was exciting! At another site, the dinos were having a party. You can see their footprints crisscrossing each other, turning, and going in different directions. There were at least three different animals at that party.

My husband and I went to four or five different sites, all within maybe three kilometers. It was thrilling to see these sets of footprints. Although there are walkways built beside a few of the sites, you can see the layer of dinosaur prints out under the sky, just as they must have been several thousands of years ago. The earth around them hasn’t been moved artificially, and the prints are impressive (no pun intended), to say the least. Many are very clear, but some are just indentations in the mud.

Someone got the bright idea of exploiting the area, so there are huge, life-size reptiles made of fiberglass or plastic at several sites. I saw two sliding boards for children with dinosaur cut outs. A small dinosaur theme park is close to the first site. A man told us it is very expensive, and the best thing there, in his opinion, is a toboggan slide. The theme park houses no genuine dinosaur relics, as far as we understand. 

There are at least two small restaurants in Enciso. We ate a “menú del día” which was three courses, including dessert, very satisfactory, for 12 euros. Both restaurants we saw offered a “menú” for the same price. (This price is for the midday meal.)

If you plan to be in La Rioja area of Spain, especially if you will be near Soria or Logroño, I would highly recommend a partial day trip to Enciso to view the dinosaur footprints. For me, it was much better than I expected: more prints (We saw several hundreds!), very natural surroundings (under the sky), and the footprints are unforgettable.

A great find!

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