Last night, the warmth of a log fire and the cosiness of the hotel lounge, had tempted us downstairs well before the dinner hour of 7.30 pm. The friendliness and hospitality of Wendy and her son Alejandro, made for a relaxed evening in the company of about 12 guests from Norway, Holland, Turkey, Croatia and England. Our home cooked meal of delicious chicken and chickpea soup, followed by chicken kebabs, was perfect after a long day's hiking.
Our notes gave us 2 choices for Day 6. Catch the 5 am bus to Granada or take a 3 hour hike along the Rio Grande River and catch the 5 pm bus. [twice daily service only] It seemed like a no brainer to me.
The weather forecast for day 6 was just as negative as for day 5, however we woke to sunbeams dancing across the valley.
With my 30 X zoom lens, I was even able to capture the not too distant Mediterranean Sea.
Breakfast brought an unexpected bonus for me. The previous evening, when the Norwegian couple arrived for their 16th visit, they presented Wendy with a block of Norwegian, brown goat's cheese. I pretended to steal it, as it was my favourite when I was working in Norway, back in 1977. The very gracious Wendy, placed it on the breakfast buffet. Yum!
10.45 saw us hiking back up the steep streets of the village for the day's hike. At about the midway point, we were trying to locate the position of the bus stop for our departure later. An elderly, local gentleman saw us with our backpacks and was very concerned that we were going astray. The bus stops position was not in the direction where most hikers go. He spoke rapid Spanish to us, with much gesticulating, so much so, that we quickly headed off up the road he indicated. Such a delightful interaction.
Far up the valley, dark clouds were gathering, creating this most unusual rainbow affect.
Can you spot it in this shot below?
Frank's body was tiring. His back, neck, knee and ankle issues had been surviving reasonably well, but he wasn't too keen on a day of climbing. Don't worry I said, we are just following the river! I should have read the notes more carefully. We were going upstream, not continuing on from the bottom of the village.
Yes, it was pretty ruggard, as seen in the following shots, and yes, the farmers work this all the time!
Spot the cyclist - the lead mountain biker, of the group we had passed on yesterday's trail. They were descending from their accomodation higher up the slopes.
More irrigation channels.
I couldn't stop looking at the crystal clear skyline to the east, with its stark, towering buttresses.
The ruins of a moorish silk factory at the confluence of the Rio Chico [L] and Rio Grande de los Berchules, [R] was to be our turn round point.
Time to turn back. Same trail, but seemingly different, as we reversed our direction.
Berchules is over the ridge, mid centre. Unseen in this photo, are dark, clouds gathering above the slope to the right. As we neared the edge of the village light droplets fell. Then a few more, so the rain jacket went on. It became heavier. Best to cover the backpack whilst standing underneath a bushy tree. Hmmmm do I put the rain pants on? Hmmmmm - YES! Suddenly it was belting down.
Frank managed to scramble in under some brambles, and I was about to follow, when hail began to fall. Then, in a matter of moments, the squall had passed and we were back in sunshine and delayering.
Walking back, down through the village we were unsure if we were looking at a road snaking up the valley or not. The zoom lens came into use again and we realised it was a covered water channel.
Back at our hotel, we dried our gear over the garden furniture and then relaxed in the lounge, browsing through the numerous magazines and books written in English and chatting with guests as they too returned from their hikes. At 4.30 we were about to set off on the trek back up the hill to the bus stop, when the heavens opened again. Wendy very kindly gave us large plastic bags to cover our suitcases. Pulling the suitcase uphill as quickly as possible to get under cover, was not a pleasant exercise. 4 pleasant, late teenage, village lads, were also taking shelter at the bus stop. After about 5 or so minutes they used 'translate' on their phones, to explain to us that the bus didn't run on a Saturday afternoon. We had been given information otherwise, so we waited and waited for the 5pm bus. By 5.15 we were beginning to think that the lads were correct. Thankfully at 5.25 it chugged up the hill and we boarded full of overwhelming relief. At the next village, a couple we had met previously, got on and related a similar experience, with their information coming from the owner of the local hotel. They too were mightily relieved.
It was a marvellous journey, until the sun set about 7pm. The sky put on a brilliant show, as the bus wound its way along the narrow, precipitous roads, from one familiar white village to another.
So many narrow escapes and often reversing by the locals.
We finally arrived back in Granada at 9pm. Our rather tired and muscle sore bodies quickly recovered, when we discovered our tiny room had been up graded to a suite.
What a lovely reward for our hard 66 kms of hiking. The following day was to be our visit to the Alhambra, the main reason for this holiday. Frank has always been keenly interested in the influence of the Moors, dating back to the 700's.
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