October 18 2016
This past week was full of adventure and amazing sites. Wednesday was a holiday for us, Mary of the Pilar. The biggest city for the festivities is in Zaragoza. I opted to do something different since I was there a few weeks ago.
My roommate Sara had been talking about this hike for a while, and every time we planned it, something seemed to come up. She referred to is as a hike to the “place where the river starts.” She also said there are lagoons, or something of that sort. So in short, I was sold. It sounded like an amazing hike and something different to do other than play tourist.
Side note: it rained for the first time since I have been here this past week. Around 29 days straight without rain. Let me tell how much this has changed my outlook on life. I struggled majorly during my time in Plymouth, England because of the constant rain. The English are unaffected by the constant overcast and drizzle, I, on the other hand, felt like I was drowning.
The hike is Améscoa Baja, Navarre in Parque Natural Urbasa y Andia, which is to the north of Calahorra and about a two-hour drive. Sara lives in Estella, which is an adorable town in itself.
The hike starts in a small, medieval looking town. Those are the pictures with the red flowers. In the town, there is an old open wash-house where the river runs through, as well as a fountain where you can drink. It was the best water (it helps that we were all very thirsty haha).
The river comes out of the rock face high up, so you can’t actually see exactly where it comes from, but the view looking up at the water falling is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. It is quite the hike though- going uphill, watching out for roots, climbing rocks like I hadn’t not exercised for the past month… suffice it to say reaching the end was both rewarding and well-deserved. And no one ate dirt, which in itself seems a large accomplishment. The hike in total took around 3 or 4 hours.
Afterwards we drove to Sara’s house where her parents had a delicious meal waiting for us. I’m continuously amazed at the kindness and generosity of strangers. Her family welcomed us, fed us, and in the end told us to come back. Told us that this was our home too and we were welcome whenever we might want to visit. The teachers at the schools are so thoughtful. The families I work with in between school hours feed me and always check to make sure I’m doing okay… the list is endless. I’ve met perfect strangers who have passed along their numbers and told me to call them if I ever need anything.
I know this exists in America, too, and I know I’ve experienced it around the world, but when you are living in a new place, feeling a bit out of water, those small gestures mean everything.
The lunch was delicious, the wine a perfect touch, and fresh fruit from her uncles garden for dessert what more can you ask for. Afterwards we walked around the town, in the rain, and went to a local bar where we played pool.
This past weekend I was in Belgium (which was also amazing. I can probably not use that word enough…) I will be posting about that trip later- probably like three or four posts because it was a crazy weekend!