The weeks are flying past and this week was measured by various trips up and down the mountain.
On Sunday I decided to take a longer hike while Sam worked on projects at home. I walked up the driveway, then the road, then onto a sheep path, across a barranco, then through a meadow until I came to an old ruin. At the ruin there is a marked trail that runs east and west (or uphill and downhill). I turned east and started downhill towards the Poqueira river. The views were stunning in every direction and I took many photos. I paused to eat the sweetest blackberries from bushes along the path. The trail is steep with many switchbacks and I went slowly. At one point a man with a heavy pack caught up and then passed me, but he was the only other person that I saw on this part of the walk. It took about an hour and 15 minutes to get from our house to the bridge over the Poqueira river.
|The trail to the river|
|Resting in the coolness of the river gorge|
I stopped and ate some bread and cheese and dried fruit, enjoying the cool of the water and the shade in the narrow gorge. After my break I started back up the trail. In a short distance I decided to take a path that went along the mountain rather than back up the mountain; I knew where it would intersect with a trail we have taken before.
|Ruins are scattered on these hillsides|
The walk was pleasant even though the day was warmer than I'd expected. I passed one man and later a couple, but otherwise no one else. Eventually I came to the intersection where I could either go left towards Bubion or stay straight on towards home. I was ready to be home and walked on. The climb back to our house is quite steep, but I have done it before and with many rests I made it back home about 3 1/2 hours after starting out.
We had scheduled an appointment for Tuesday to have our car fixed (remember the concrete post incident?). So Monday was the day to get our errands taken care of. We needed to be in Pampaneira at 10:00 to catch Pepe the mailman. He is only there from 10-10:30 and this is where we will receive speeding tickets, if for some reason we get one, or other car and insurance related mailings. So we left our place about 9:15 to drive the 10 kms to town. As we made our way down the road we were passed by another vehicle that was racing down the mountain. I admit to driving cautiously on our steep, narrow, bumpy road, but I was amazed that someone needed to pass me. But when we got to the intersection with the paved road, the car that had passed me was parked next to another car and an elderly monk was being helped from the one car to the other. At first glance he looked like the Dalai Lama.
There is a Buddhist retreat center on our mountain and it has been visited by the Dalai Lama, but on second glance we decided that this was a different man. He was quite elderly and the transfer between cars took several minutes. Once he was installed in the second car, there were many bows and signs of affectionate respect from the women who had delivered him. Then the second car sped away and we were free to continue on our way.
After confirming that Pepe had no mail for us we made our way to Orgiva to pick up packages from our delivery point there, then to the hardware store and the post office box and the grocery store. The final piece of business for the day was to go to the ITV in Tablones to get our trailer hitch inspected.
We have learned that it is very important (and required) to have your trailer hitch inspected. When we purchased our car we were given documents for this purpose and we later discovered that the ITV is the place where this is accomplished. The ITV is much like the facilities in the States where cars go for emissions inspections. We were pleased to discover that there is an ITV in Tablones, which is just across the Seven-Eye Bridge from Orgiva. Tablones seems like a pueblo that has been overlooked, but there is a very large, new, shining facility that houses the ITV. Our first trip there was a few weeks ago and we learned then that we did not have all of the required documents for the trailer hitch inspection. We returned to the car dealer in Granada and were given additional documents. On Monday we presented our new documents to the man at the ITV but were told that we were missing a signature and a stamp on one of the documents. We scheduled an appointment to return next Tuesday at 10:32 for our inspection, with the plan that we would get the missing signature and stamp when we took our car in to to be repaired.
Tuesday morning we were up early and started our drive down the mountain at 7:00, long before the sky was showing any sign of daybreak. It was raining lightly, but the drive was uneventful with no speeding monks or other curiosities. We arrived at the car dealer in Granada promptly at 9:00 for our appointment. After a bit of roughly translated discussion with the woman in reception, that included her shrugging her shoulders and signing and stamping the trailer hitch document, we turned over our keys with the assurance that the car would be ready on Friday. We were then directed to a van for a courtesy ride. We needed to get to the bus station but from what we could understand, we were being taken elsewhere and we could get a bus from there to the bus station. We tried to learn more from our driver but he indicated that he was deaf.
Once we were delivered we got walking directions from a man at a nearby hotel and we started out to find the bus station. I was delighted to look up and see that we were on the Camino Mozarabe route towards Santiago. Each telephone pole had a shell and a yellow arrow painted on it and suddenly I was back on the Camino following the arrows. But alas, the way to the bus station led us off of the Camino route.
|Camino Mozarabe from Granada to Santiago|
We found the bus station and soon were on our way back to Pampaneira. It took about 2 hours to get to Pampaneira, delivering us just in time for lunch. After a pleasant meal of salad for me and a jamon bocadillo for Sam, we began the walk home from Pampaneira.
|Beginning our walk to home from Pampaneira. Our house is somewhere high on the left.|
|Crossing the Poqueira river at the start of our hike home.|
We had not walked this path before and were a bit unsure of how to go, but we had a good sense of where our house was and no matter what, we knew it was a steep uphill climb. We walked along the river for about a kilometer then crossed on a bridge and started the climb.
|Closer to home - Pampaneira in the distance.|
It took about an hour and a half before we were finally home.
On Thursday we contacted the car dealer to confirm that we could pick up the Jeep on Friday. We were told that it would be ready at 6:00 pm. We went online and bought bus tickets from Orgiva and then arranged with our neighbor Manuel for a ride to the bus stop. Friday morning Manuel picked us up at our gate at 9:00 am and kindly delivered us to the bus stop in Orgiva. Once on the bus and nearly half way to Granada we received an email indicating that they needed a part for the car and it would not be ready until Monday. And no, they did not have a car that we could use for the weekend. Fortunately we had other business in Granada; we needed to make a bank transfer of 225 euros to the shipping company that has had our stuff for over three months now - but that's another story for another blog post.
We made it to Granada, went to the bank and transferred the money to the shipping company then wondered what to do next. We stopped for a delicious lunch and then, once again, walked to the bus station. During lunch I sent a text to my friend Kiersten asking if she could give us a ride home if we got the bus to Lanjaron. She responded that we could use their truck for the weekend. Their truck was parked near the Hotel Espana, and we could just ask at the bar for their keys. How cool is that? So we got to the station and soon were back on the bus headed towards Lanjaron. The bus we were on had bad, or no shocks, and we bumped and swayed as we raced down the highway. We were relieved to finally step off the bus in Lanjaron. We got the keys from the bar and made our way back up the mountain in Kiersten and Richard's truck. As I wrote last week, we could not do this without the kindness and generosity of our new friends.
Monday we will deliver the truck back to Lanjaron, return the keys to the bar at the Hotel Espana, catch the bus back to Granada and hopefully retrieve our car so that we can keep our appointment for the trailer hitch inspection on Tuesday at 10:32 sharp.