Through The Chestnut Trees: Cartajima – Igualeja – Parauta 

We – my wonderful host Bots and I – did a hike to the white mountain villages of the area. 

Los Riscos

GR 249 Gran Senda de Màlaga, Los Riscos, Cartajima

Technically speaking I quit the Gran Senda de Màlaga some time ago and I do some hikes wherever I am. Currently I’m in Cartajima, some kilometers south of Ronda at the wonderful Refugio hostel.

I really feel “at home” – if one can say that being on a journey – for the first time since I am here in Andalusia.

Today I went up a mountain to Los Riscos which are some kind of strange jurassic rock formations just without dinosaurs.


Afterwards I met a caravan club from the Netherlands who took me with them to the smurf village wich was painted in blue for a movie. The inhabitants decided – after they had some busloads of visitors from China and all over Europe – to leave it like that.


After that I walked back to Cartajima through a buzzing valley where a little not very shy boar crossed my way.




Ronda GR 249

GR 249 Gran Senda de Málaga, Ronda

This location is still unique! 

Sendero Gaitanejo Ardales

GR 249 Gran Senda de Málaga, Sendero Gaitanejo

I don’t know if it was the right Sendero Gaitanejo but I saw a lot of signs during my hike. I particularly loved the enchanted section next to river and the view from above on the Caminito del Rey.


On the Sendero Gaitanejo I met the Vergers with their son Matthieu from France. What a nice and funny family! I had a wonderful evening with them 🙂

GR 249 Gran Senda de Malaga, Ardales - El Chorro

GR 249 Gran Senda de Málaga, Ardales – El Chorro

Changing the hike

From the beginning nothing went like I imagined it would. On the one hand this is disturbing and makes me kind of nervous in the moment of desaster but on the other hand I got to know again, that nearly every kind of situation can be handled and for every door which is closing another one opens up.

Today I went to the mountains without my big backpack because I was able to leave most of my stuff on the camping area.
What a relief! Despite having packed nearly “ultralight”, I must admit that ultralight is not enough. Six kilos + two liters of water and some food makes it at least 8,5 kilos.

Walking and nearly bouncing I came to the result, that I won’t do it again. Those three things are definitely not working together:

  • Heat
  • Weight
  • Feet

As for this hike I can only change one of them I will look for a place to stay for the rest of my time in Andalusia and do some hikes starting from there.

The hike today

After a short walk on the road you enter a dirt road and just until the descent on El Chorro it will stay like that. You’ll hike through a diverse natural and agricultural landscape and the panoramic mountain views are wonderful. There is a short stretch of road again where you can visit Bobastro, an archaeological site of a mozarabic town. It’s a quite big area, so you really have to be interested to do it.




Andalusias hidden lakes

After the road stretch you enter a nice and shady forest. So many lakes and I only saw them on my map but not in reality! La Laguna de Pietra, la Laguna Dulce and now the Embalse Superior Taja de la Encantada. I was just next to it, I saw it on my map but all I really saw, was a giant wall next to me. The scenery looked a little bit like in one of those sci-fi movies where there is another parallel world behind a big insuperable wall. At one moment there is a small trail leading 30m uphill and I went to see the barrier lake behind the wall.

Next to this “bad” world nature seamed still more natural and enchanted. Above all because I was in a little quite forest and when I went around a corner I stood right in front of a kind of capricorn-deer (big as a deer, face like a deer, corns like a capricorn) who was as surprised as I was and disappeared quietly and without panic between the backlighted trees. Magic happens.



The descent on El Chorro is a little challenge due to plants growing over the trail and the trail being rough and quite close to the abyss.
In El Chorro I had something to eat in the restaurant La Garganta, as in the bar and the supermarket on the camping area there is a strict no-vitamins policy, and I went back by bus.

As it was already seven o’clock I was the only passenger and the bus driver let me out at the camping area.



The base of Maslow: 

  • There is no accessible water on the road. Anyway: You will pass by a lot of fincas and if you have an water emergency you can surely solve it by knocking on some doors
  • I didn’t meet any dogs without bars between me and them on this stage.
  • In El Chorro you’ll find some, maybe expensive possibilities to stay at night. Or you go by bus (every 30 minutes until 7 pm) to Camping Parque Ardales, like I did.

The following night was a nightmare. My tarptent notch is good for every weather except of sandstorms. I woke myself up covered in sand. I had it in my eyes, my ears and between my teeth. Yummy.

As the following night will be as stormy as the last one I booked a bungalow and will have a big nights sleep today.


GR 249 Gran Senda de Malaga, Antequera

GR 249 Gran Senda de Malaga, Pausing In Antequera

Due to my feet I had to stop for two days and  beautiful Antequera gave me a perfect reason to do so.



They have some weird Saints there:


The story of the “Peña de los Enamorados”, Lovers’ Rock, is as good as Romeo and Juliet. A Muslim girl and her father’s Christian slave, endlessly in love, threw themselves down because their families didn’t accept their amour fou.


Placa de los toros:


This is the view from my room. Every morning I salute the people from my balcony:


GR 249 Gran Senda de Malaga, Pulgarin Alto – Alfarnate

GR 249 Gran Senda de Malaga, Pulgarin Alto – Alfarnate 

It’s all Maslows’ fault

I wasn’t able think of something philosophical today because someone put my blistered feet into burning boots and I was only able to walk because of severe “everything is alright“ meditation.


Could you please make a photo which doesn’t look like a postcard?
Perfect light, perfect landscape. I feel like Heidi in Heidiland. If I could only jump around! Again, there is buzzing everywhere. At the end of the stage, between Alfarnetejo and Alfarnate passing along a small river I heard four or five big plopping sounds like if a crocodile slips into the water. I the beginning I just saw some shadows under water. I stood there for a while in silence and was very surprised to see some small turtles playing in the intransparent and muddy brew.

Doggies, dogs and doggos

I love dogs but what I saw today made me really angry. Frequently the dogs are left on a property to sentinel it. Mostly they are unleashed and you never know if they are well educated or not. I had a lot of adrenaline coming up because of them. I wear a very loud pipe around me neck. That helps , I‘m knocking on wood, if nothing else does.

The hike

It starts out on a road with little but dangerous traffic but changes soon into a dirt road without any traffic. Most of the trail is dirt road again and again there is very little shadow which led to a mild sunstroke in the evening despite of wearing a headscarf, 50 sunscreen and a big thin scarf over all my body. Call me the hiking ghost.

The trail highlights were a very overgrown piece of trail where I literally walked on flowers (ca. km 5), a small beautiful river (ca. km 9), a forest (ca. km 11, Shade! Finally!), a catholic procession for holy Isidro in Alfarnetejo, the turtles just before Alfarnate and a flock of goats being brought to their stable in Alfarnate.


Base of Maslow:

  • There is water in the small river ca. at km 9 and km 11. I would chose to take it downstream at km 9, it looks better, it‘s far away from a city and there are small fish in it. Of course there is water in Alfarnetejo and Alfarnate. But there is beer too.
  • There are no possibilities to sleep in a hotel or something similar in Alfarnate.
  • Beware of dogs!