Tuesday 17th June 2014, Albarracin, Spain
Five years ago, I spent an unexpected night in a friend’s flat in London. I had planned our trip to Gatwick with very little experience of air travel, had not allowed enough time to get through the airport, been delayed when the bus didn’t turn up where we thought it should and missed our flight to Spain. Two days ago, it was an experience that was running through my mind like a pair of pants in the washing machine on the spin cycle. I had planned to get a train to Arlanda airport from Gavle at 4, found that the train was 400 kroner and the one after was only 120 kroner and opted to save the cash. It left me with a little over an hour to get to the airport, check in and get through security before my plane left the ground. I was rapidly becoming convinced that it was all going to be a repeat performance of last time.
Later that night, I landed in Madrid, as planned, beginning to relax slightly. All other obstacles were easily overcome and yesterday, we arrived in our home for the next two weeks and almost immediately headed out for the crag. At last, we’re here and all is well.
Suddenly I remembered how glorious this small village in rural Spain is: a quick Google search will reveal the picturesque walls of the village, the beautiful cathedral here and the small and winding hillside roads that wind their way thoughout. The surrounding area is equally amazing, with cliffs, crags and plains for as far as the eye can see in any direction. It really is great to be back and will undoubtedly not be the last time.
We didn’t climb long last night before being chased out by a thunderstorm which was so spectacular that it made an appearance on this afternoon’s news broadcast. Still, i’m in a unique position of being in an apartment for a change, so the weather (temperature notwithstanding) isn’t an issue this time. It’s definitely a first for me, although while climbing earlier, I did realise that this is only the second climbing destination outside the UK, after Fontainebleau, that I have visited more than once.
It is a healthy mix of vaguely familiar and completely unknown. We have now visited two different areas, both with ticks from my last trip in 2009, with problems i’ve recognised and plenty I have not. For John, it’s all new of course – his only foreign trip being this March, and his enthusiasm is certainly welcome. Still, to climb every second we could would be suicide and lead to exhaustion very quickly and we’re now taking a break to watch a Spanish soap opera at not quite four in the afternoon with a surprisingly graphic sex scene…
So a quick shower and we’ll be back out for the evening; first to search for food for this evening and then back to the crags for a bit more climbing. While Spanish soaps aren’t exactly what we would ask for, weather forecasts are certainly handy and it’s due to rain again at some point in the next few days. Hopefully we’ll get a few more sessions in before it does.