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Thursday, March 6, 2014

Hiking in Spain

 While Margriet is freezing her butt off in the Yukon and Toronto I (Kees) decide to find a warmer place to go hiking for a few weeks.
Via Seattle and Paris I make my way to Amsterdam but as soon as I arrived in Amsterdam I noticed how cold it was and miserably windy. My luggage took an extra few hours (and a few more flights from Paris) to arrive and in the mean time I inquired about flights to Spain (southern Spain where it was supposed to be warm). When I finally had my luggage I went into Adam and found the usual hotel on the Overtoom. The next day I tried to get a sim card for all of Europe, but in spite of the fact that you can get those via internet, I could not find an acceptable one in a store. Apparently they are available from some British web sites, but the ones available in A'dam were way too expensive. So I am taking my changes with the wifi in the hostels and B&B's I am staying at.

The next day I found a cheap flight to Malaga in southern Spain and three hours later I was standing between the palm trees. First a bus ride into downtown and a hostel next to the bus station. That evening I had supper at 10 pm outside on a patio because it was so nice and warm. The next day I first wandered through Malaga, especially the old part of the city, was quite nice. That afternoon I took a bus into the hills above Malaga and ended up in a small very cute village called Competa. Found a small B&B stayed there 3 damn cold nights. It was a beautiful old renovated olive mill, more a museum than a hostel, but cold, damp and hardly any heat to speak of. I was probably the first guest there this season and the thick walls had absorbed all the cold from the entire winter and was releasing it on me every night. The plaza in the village had several restaurants and I tried every one. unfortunately they did not start serving supper until about 8 pm, nor could I get breakfast before 8 am. Everything is closed between about 2 and 5 and if you are hungry or thirsty during those times you are out of luck.
The Local tourist office had lots of information about hiking in the hills and for 2 days I found beautiful (very steep) trails through the mountains without my backpack because i spent 3 nights in the same place. The next day I packed up and walked to another village, unfortunately I ran into a bees nest and got stung several times before I got away from it. Stayed overnight in a village high up on a pass, the coldest I have been all winter, including SSI. The next day I went back down and stayed in a B&B from a Dutch couple. A 200 year old farm house which again is cold as ice, but at least the beer and food are good.
In many places I find my English is understood and in some cases I understand their Spanish as long as they use lots of hand gestures. The maps I have to walk on are poor and yesterday I got lost pretty good, but as long as you stay to the roads and not wander off into the hills you are OK.
When I got 5 bee stings a few days ago, I hitch-hiked to the next village and that was no problem. I wrote on a piece of paper the name of the village and the driver dropped me off there. He would not accept any money. The cost of living here is dirt cheap. The hostels are between 20 and 35 euros ( $30-50) and an evening meal is between 8 and 15.
For the last few days of my two week hiking adventure I took a bus down to Malaga and spent 2 days hiking in the old city and surrounding hills. Southern Spain is a wonderful place to spend a few weeks hiking but February is still pretty cold much of the time unless you hug the coast.

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