Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Spain Vacation: Day Eight; Vall de Nuria

Pari woke me up, it was barely light.  I bounced out of bed and she was already back in her room asleep.  A quick bag check and I was off to the metro, then to the train.  I was bound for Vall de Nuria, the beginning of the Pyrenees Mountains in Northern Spain.  After over 2 hours on the train, I was at my destination.  After some difficulty finding the trail head, I was off!

It started out a bit uneventful with a massively steep climb.  I was leap frogging with this pair of inexperienced hikers from just south of Barcelona, name Raul and Silma.  They spoke no English so our communication was limited to the occasional nod. As soon as I got the the top of the first steep incline, the hike showered me with amazing landscapes.

As I got up on the top of a bend, I saw a large animal, motionless on the ground.  I approached it to realize it was a young horse.  When I was about 15 feet from it, the horse awkwardly bounded up and galloped off to meet up with another older horse that I had not noticed.  It startled me a bit but seeing wild horses was pretty amazing.  Sadly, they raced off before I was able to get a picture.

The next encounter with wild animals was not far off.  About 30 minutes later, I heard a massive crashing around the corner.  I continued cautiously on the path to be surprised by 3 mountain goats!  Two of them were younger and the older was a female that had no horns.  The jumped down the side of the cliff as if it were stairs.

The views were amazing.  Waterfalls off in the distance from the melting snow. amazing views of the mountains, etc.  As I climbed higher into the mountains, there was snow on the ground and I was getting cold.  My shorts and sandals were not getting it done.  I also has very little food and was having difficulty keeping my blood sugar up.  About an hour from the end of the hike, my sandal sole broke apart.  Now it was flapping against the snow and tripping me up.  At this point, the pair of hikers past me for good.

I was barely able to catch the final train back to the city and just before the bad weather rolled in.  I had a 2 hour layover for one of the trains and ran into Raul and Silma again.  They asked if I wanted to sit with them in the cafe and wait for the train together.  I accepted.  We even sat together on the 2 hour train ride back to Barcelona as well.  We talked as much as we could but it was really like playing a four hour game of charades.

I got back to the apartment around 10pm and told Pari about my adventure (and my shoe) while we eat some lentils and rice.  Then I was beat so I had a donut and went to sleep.


Jes said...

What an incredibly gorgeous hike! And wild horses & mountain goats--too cool. Glad you were able to get out before the bad weather!

Millie said...

wow arroz & garbanzos...muy delicioso.