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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

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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 Málaga, Fuente de Piedra – Campillos

This is the fucking Meseta!

This is all I thought during the hike. When I thought that it can’t get more desert-like I looked around the corner and it was more yellow again. Even the plants got more and more hostile and showed up their thornes.

While visually, as shown on the pictures, it was gorgeous, vast and colorful. An ocean of wheat.

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Entering “friendly” Campillos:

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The base of Maslow

  • All the water I saw was stinky and dirty (turtles seam to like that)
  • The lakes which you can see on your map are not accessible
  • There is a hostel (San Francisco) in Campillos with a very gentle hostess. She ordered a taxi for me, while the lady in the bar on the central plaza shouted at me saying: “This is a village! There are no taxis in villages!”

 

I continued (by taxi) to the wonderful Camping Parque Ardales:

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Suffolk Trip: Clouds And Lights On The Coast

Seven years ago in Kerala/India during a night out in the empty streets of Alappuzha I met Nicky from London. We had some funny days together and connected via Facebook where we shared our life and views. Some years later she came to Berlin with a friend but I was in Sicily with my mum. So I gave her the keys to my apartment and when I came back I found a pile of presents on my dining table.

This year she invited me to her ultra fancy glam birthday party which turned out to be also her surprise engagement party. We arrived some days early to make a small holiday out of it and we had a marvellous and heartwarming time in Nickys and Johns pink house in Suffolk. Thank you so much!

Location: Southwold – beach – along River Blyth northbound – crossing River Blyth via the small bridge – heading direction Walberswick – Walberswick – forest south of Walberswick – marshlands near the beach –  back to Southwold / Distance: 15 km / Weather: 7 °C, cloudy, rainy, windy, sunny / Camera: Nikon D90, 18-105mm lens / Don’t buy the local map 🙂

 

Southwold Beach:

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The city of Southwold:

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As we are kind of biased against English food (you know – Asterix et cetera :-))  we have been really surprised by the quality and passion of what we have found in delis and even in supermarkets. Go to Black Olive Delikatessen or – next door – to Two Magpies Bakery if you crave for sweet stuff.

We deeply regret our former attitude and hereby we apologize officially.

 

River Blyth:

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On our way to Walberswick:

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St Andrew’s Church in Walberswick:

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Through the forest:

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Marshland near Dunwich:

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Back to Southwold:

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Nickys’ pink house:

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Suffolk Trip: Fancy Housing And Incredible Skies At Audley End

 

On our first day in Suffolk we rented a car and meandered from Stansted Airport to the house of my dear friend Nicky. On our way – crossing Saffron Walden – we saw this fantastic fairy tale chateau and stopped to visit it.

It is called Audley End House and it is totally worth a visit. The staff is incredibly professional and passionate which met greatly with our curiosity.

More about Audley End House.

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Audley End House and gardens:

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The kitchen garden:

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Interior:

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On our way:

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Berlin Day Hike: Between Weathers, Between Lakes

Location: Schmöckwitz – eastern shore of Zeuthener See – western shore of Großer Zug – western shore of Krossinsee – southern shore of Oder Spree Kanal – southern shore of Seddinsee – Schmöckwitz / Distance: 15 km / Weather: 7-15 °C, cloudy, rainy, windy, sunny / Camera: Nikon D90, 35mm lens

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The rain

Sun comes out again

Lying trees

After the rain, the fragrance

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