Friday, 27 August 2010

Sierra Nevada

I had a very big smile on my face Monday morning.  Partially because I'd managed to sleep most of the way on my overnight train journey from Barcelona to Granada without getting even the slightest bit of motion sickness, but mostly because, despite an unplanned change to my journey, I still managed to arrive in Granada on time, and without the least bit of stress.

The little yellow train - my mode of transport from Font Romeu to VilleFranche.  The 45 minutes journey by car takes over 2 hours by train.

My total journey from Font Romeu to here was scheduled to take 22 hours, and include changes at VilleFranche (with only 5 minutes to spare), Perpingnan, and Barcelona.  However, given that I was travelling such a long distance, with different train companies and across 2 countries, I could not buy a ticket the whole way.  After making the change at VilleFranche without any hassle, I arrived at a very busy Perpingan station to be told that the train to Granada was full (there is only 1 train per day), but that I could give a ticket as far as Barcelona, on a slower train, that incurred an additional stop.  Unfazed by this, I took the ticket to Barca, optimistic that once I got there I could blag my way onto the train to Granada.  Worst case scenario, I figured an additional day in Barcelona wouldn't be the end of the world. 

Beautiful blue skies as we leave Font Romeu behind

Some hours later I reached Barca, and sure enough there was space on the train to Granada, but only sleeping space.  At an additional cost of just 15 euro from what I was originally quoted via the Internet, I happily took the bed, and thanked myself for not wasting energy getting stressed-out about the situation.  If quiting my job, and spending all my savings on travelling the world achieves just one thing, I'm happy that I've found optimistic Eliz again.  She makes a much better travelling partner than the stressed-out version.

It occurred to me yesterday that I haven't seen a single cloud in over a week now.  Font Romeu warmed up nicely just before I left, and reached 30 degrees on my penultimate day.  And here, at 2,400m above sea level in the Sierra Nevada, the temperatures reached 32 degrees.  Nobody that works at the camp here can ever remember the temperatures getting that high before, though temperatures in Granada regularly reach 40 at this time of year.

View of the Sierra Nevada from the camp

While the temperature is almost too hot, it's the lack of cloud that makes this place so amazing.  The camp is almost at the top of the mountain, surrounded by other peaks of the Sierra range to the North, South and West, and overlooking the Granada plane in the East.  And on clear evenings like we've been having, that means one thing - amazing sunsets.  I've tried taking some photos, but they dont' quite do it justice.

View of sunset from my bedroom window.  It's much more spectacular in real life.

Unfortunately, while the mountain-top position means beautiful views, the training is somewhat tough.  There are not as many trails as at my previous destinations, and so steep are the roads that it makes Font Romeu look like a plateau.  I'm still managing to get some running in, and spending a bit of time working on my core.  Who knows, I might even develop that six-pack that I've been talking about for so long.

I've got just less than a week left here now, and then I'm back home to Wexford for a few days.  After all these hills, the sight of Curracloe beach will be a welcome one, though I'm guessing the temperatures will be somewhat cooler.

No comments:

Post a Comment