“In every walk with nature, one receives far more than she seeks.”John Muir
The start of my Spanish adventure was, well, exactly that: an adventure. I mentioned before that my flight from Turin to Barcelona was cancelled. I was young and gung-ho, and so I booked a bus ticket. Let me tell you, 12 hours on a bus is a long time. And then, I got off the bus, walked for five minutes, and took another bus for four more hours. It was a loooooong day.
At long last I arrived in Huesca, Spain, and soon met Silvia, a bright and wonderful lady who worked with my mom at NAU a few years back. She drove me another hour and half to her home in the Pyrenees mountains. Her home, Boltaña, is a village of a few hundred people.
I spent the following five days essentially at the end of the world, visiting villages that ranged in population from 17 (yes, 17) to a few hundred. I met locals and immersed myself in the small-Spanish-town life.
I visited ruins of old castles settled high on the hills above the villages. I visited rivers and waterfalls. I visited mountains and forests. It was an extraordinary place to visit.
The villages in the area were constructed during medieval times, and thus were all made of stone, all weathered and worn, and some on the verge of collapse. The nature is well preserved because it is the Ordesa and Monte Perdido National Park. We were able to drive into the park and go hiking. On several occasions we set off on easy-to-moderate hikes that led to beautiful destinations. I would have liked to do more difficult ones, but my ankle is not in good shape.
We hiked several miles at a time and always ended at beautiful areas. I saw different canyons and waterfalls. One day we hiked in the mountains while Ordesa, the highest peak in the area loomed above us. Many of the large mountains were formed by glaciers and thus have the beautiful, sheer look that I love.
The colors on the landscape during the hikes varied from bright green spring leaves, to red rocks in the canyons, to turquoise water. I never tired of looking around and appreciating the beauty of the place I called home for a few days.
As for food, the main traditional food from the area I ate was croquettes: left over foods from stew mixed with béchamel, bread-rolled, and fried. I arrived at the perfect time, on the first night of the area’s croquette festival, during which many restaurants in the area sell their croquettes with a beer so people can walk around and taste many different ones. Over the course of my time there, I ate a lot of them. I even tried some filled with octopus and squid.
There isn’t much I can say that the pictures won’t say better. I spent my time connecting with nature and with locals in small villages. It was different from any experience I have ever had and I am incredibly grateful for the time I spent there.