Sunday, 16 September 2012

Hitch hiking and various other pastimes #12

Prickly pears & Moorish settlements
After passing multiple hippy vans at the top of the hill, behind the white church, I was in cave territory, 'Las Cuevas'. It was a strange area with lots of litter strewn all over the place, but also nicely kept (illegal) caves. I walked around on the little pathways, hither and thither and was starting to head back down to the centre, when I passed some abandoned cave-dwellings and suddenly heard loud barking out of nowhere behind me, then a large appeared, snarling and barking aggressively, before I knew it, it had gone for me. I instinctively turned my back on it and stumbled into the cacti behind me. Then it was gone and I ascended the mountain in a state of shock, stopping at a painted van to rinse the small wound with some water. I hobbled back down the Albaizin area to tell John what had happened.

He informed me, to my relief, that there was no Rabies in the area, however I went back to my little room and rinsed it out further to be on the safe side. John had made a few euros that day so we headed to his 'local', a small bar 15 minutes walk away in downtown Granada. As he had mentioned, it was nothing special, but they knew him and the tapas were extremely good, which I can vouch for, as, between us we had a decent sized bowl of chips, meat and sauce to accompany out beverages of choice. The second tapas was skewered marinated meat with some bread. Especially good for John with his small budget and love for drinking, it was a 2 for 1 offer too good to turn down.

We watched the end of a Real Madrid thrashing and headed back to the casa, where we consumed a few more beers and talked late into the night, during which he mentioned his sustainable community project in Northern Spain, which sounds promising and he obviously knows alot about such matters, having connections in various such establishments.

After not being able to resist the combination of alcohol and cigarettes, I woke up with a sore head and throat, so I pepped myself up a bit by getting my first shower for nearly a week. Although the shower was a complicated old Spanish device, I figured it out and washed in the tiny little shower cubicle, with walls that were caving in on me, but, it was lovely feeling to be in warm clean water again.

The previous day, John had explained a walk that he sometimes took people on, 5-6 hours including a picnic, so I set off using my hazy memory of his rough directions as a guide. Past the ancient little pueblo of Sacramonte, where the original Gitanos or Gypsy's lived, past ferocious dogs behind ragged wire fences, mountain bikers and plenty of prickly pear cacti; until I arrived at the crossing over the small river and started to climb on the small dirt tracks from past paseo's and mountain bikers alike. It was lovely to walk alone again in the mountains, even though I was only 25 minutes from the city centre, the smells and noises all came flooding back and I found myself almost instinctively making noises to warn off wild boars.

After passing an inhabited cave almost 45 minutes up the mountain, I began to search for a suitable picnic location, but I decided I wanted a view to accompany to my sandwich and glow in the dark fruit juice, so i carried on clambering up through the scrub, past giant ants and noisy bee's until I reached a plateau of extremely red soil, where there were lots of mountain bike trails and more signs of life than before. I followed the main path round and was confronted by a picnic area with hundreds of Granadino's milling around in the shade of the pine trees. the noise was overwhelming after the tranquillity of my ascent and I sought solitude further down the hill, where I ate and drank, looking out over part of the city, towards my next destination; the spa-town of Lanjaron, the pueblo I went to school in, what an experience to be back there...would anyone recognise me? Probably not, although I half expected to see some familiar faces, or if not, at least places from a past life.

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