The bike ride to the beach was off for a second time today. Despite the forecast for the morning previously having been good, we awoke to a grey sky and light showers. Over breakfast, we decided that it would be safer to go walking than cycling on wet and slippery roads. In any case, eating ice creams and paddling at the seaside just isn’t the same in the rain!
Dave had already told us there was a lovely walk along the mountain ridge running south behind the villa. the aim was to reach a peak called Cao, which is 725 metres high, before looping back. He said he’d join us and show us the way and, with our waterproofs in the rucksack, just in case, we set off.
We followed the streets uphill through villas, clinging to the hillside. As the buildings petered out Dave pointed out an abandoned school. It moved three years ago to a new site and was just left empty. It’s a shame. It’s in a lovely spot and even has a full sized swimming pool!
After this the road became a rough track heading fairly steeply uphill. There were more abandoned buildings. These had never been finished or lived in. Very strange, especially as they were large and rather grand. Look at the white building on the left and the two buildings towards the right in the photo below.
We turned off the wide track onto a rough path through typical Spanish landscape, dry and scrubby. The plants smelled lovely in the rain, and there were lots of pretty flowers and herbs. We also saw lots of shrub oak, with tiny sharp leaves and lots of acorns. Many of the plants seemed to be spiky… not great when the path is narrow and you’re wearing shorts!
As we climbed, the cloud was swirling around and we could hear thunder rumbling in the distance. We were slightly worried when we saw lightning. Lightning would be dangerous on top of a mountain but, thankfully, the storm moved away.
At the start of the hike, the peak we were heading to was shrouded in cloud, but we could see reasonably far into the distance. However, it wasn’t long before the valley below us disappeared and it started to rain. We put our waterproof jackets on but it was still quite warm so we didn’t need waterproof trousers. Afterall, skin is waterproof!
Despite the rain, the walk was still very enjoyable… at least at this point! I always enjoy hiking, especially in the hills somewhere new. The path was increasingly rough and rocky and the limestone was slippery, so we had to be quite cautious in places. Dave knew we were approaching the top when it got particularly steep and rough, and finally we spotted the summit marker. Shame about the view!
We didn’t hang around on the top for long because it was quite windy and rather chilly. Once again we needed to be careful because the path was still rough, rocky and, by now, very wet, and it’s often more difficult to get a firm footing going downhill. A couple of sections had chains to help people descend the most tricky bits.
After a while, the cloud lifted a bit and, once again we had good views towards the coast and the valleys below us. This didn’t last long though and the sky grew darker again.
It started to rain and the rain got heavier and heavier, with huge raindrops bouncing on the path and soon flooding it. It felt as though we were walking down a stream through a monsoon and our feet were absolutely soaked… as was the rest of us! I thought about suggesting we jogged but we turned off the wide track onto a small rough path again. This climbed quite steeply and it was difficult enough for me to keep up with the men and their long legs, without them starting to run!
As we rejoined the track that we’d climbed at the start, there was a flash of lightning, immediately followed by a loud clap of thunder. There was a storm right overhead, we were drenched and the hike wasn’t fun any more! ‘Shall we jog?’ I said. Both good trail runners, Dave and John didn’t need asking twice!
Thankfully, there wasn’t much more thunder and lightning, but we continued jogging, down the track, which was being washed into rivulets that hid the uneven surface below. At last, we reached the end of the track and joined the tarmac road. By now, we couldn’t have been any wetter and we were pleased when we finally reached the villa. Hot showers and cups of tea were very welcome. Then we sat in the pool house. Tiffany had made a coffee and walnut cake and lit the wood burner so we’re very cosy.
It cleared up for a while, but the rain is falling again now, bouncing in the swimming pool. However, we’ve had a lovely day… a bit of an adventure followed by a relaxing afternoon… perfect! That said, I hope the sun comes out again tomorrow!