The Beginning of the End!

Hola Hola! Today I leave the mountains behind on a plane headed for Madrid, where I will catch my final flight to Porto. Granada has been incredible, and my favorite place on this trip. I spent my final day there yesterday, October 11, on what also happened to be Nacional de Espania- aka, the national day of Spain. Celebrated all over the world by different names, it pays tribute to the Spanish ‘legacy’ and its reach across civilizations. For me, however, I got to witness a national holiday in another country, and believe me, it is no July 4th. Americans look like a bunch of boot-tootin’ drunken hillbillies compared to the Spanish. While we parade around with red white and blue on our faces double fisting PBRs, they don velvet uniforms and march with staffs bejeweled with fake crystal, ornate flags of gold, blue, silver, and red raised high. Costumed dancers make their way down streets of people dressed to impress. In the morning church bells rang across the city, and at night you were likely to run into a troupe of guitarists playing their music to tourists eating tapas. Around mid afternoon I took a bus out to Los Pinillos, a smaller town within the foothills of the Sierras. I meant to go further, towards Guajer Sierra and a big lake I saw on the map. however, I kept missing the bus/being in the wrong place and it only came once an hour. I was convinced it wasn’t running at all after my second attempt, but who knows. I didn’t want to waste any more time so I hopped on #33, hammock in tow, and found a trail that began a few steps from the bus stop. In the deserty heat I found refuge among the leafy deciduous trees that covered the grounds along a river – alternating crystal clear and blue as only mountain rivers do. After a while of walking, I strung up my hammock, snuggled in with my new book (Artemis Fowl) and got through 3 pages before passing out. Nothing like the sound of gushing water to lull you to sleep.

I have arrived in Porto-To be continued…

Spending my last night in Europe sipping Tawny Port on a stomach full of vegan food from a buffet down the street – 4 euro for a BIG box stuffed as full as I could make it! After checking in to the hostel, I promptly took a 2 hour nap. Much better. It was an early morning catching a taxi with the help of my friend Piyush who could actually converse with the lady from the taxi company. He and I are going to try and write a children’s book together over the next few months. He is in Granda working 8 months for a Teaching English Abroad program, and we bonded over the fact that we both had the idea to write a story about a girl and her dog. We spent my first night in the hostel in the treehouse room reading (him, Oliver Twist but in Spanish, and me, Artemis Fowl. English) and then playing several rounds of hang man. My last night in Granada I went to watch the Barcelona v. some Italian team soccer game at an Irish pub with him and his friend from the school. Its pretty great to watch a soccer match amongst a crowd of Europeans, let me tell you.

I have met an incredible number of people on this adventure. For a solo trip, I was probably alone maybe 20% of the time! There were growing pains, but even now I feel like a veteran- very comfortable maneuvering from place to place, bunk bed to bunk bed. The rhythm of movement, I’ve found, is soothing to me. Like a constant trickle of water over a creek bed: the pace of the river may change, but keeping with flow is key. Avoid stagnation. Instigate momentum. Allow the opportunities to come to you, and they will. People gravitate towards energy- I’ve felt this more than ever here. When I wanted to be alone, I was. When I needed people, they were always around.

I’ve decided to come back to Portugal to hike the Camino de Santiago trail- coastal route. I plan to spend a few weeks hiking around Germany, visiting friends I’ve made here and exploring the country. I’d also like to do a teaching program abroad someday, and to spend a few weeks on a remote island in Cambodia working for a hostel where the only wifi is on the mainland.

Travel is funny like that- it is a lead unto itself.


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