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Published: February 26th 2013
This weekend I leave the city behind for a little break in the national park of the region. In El Bosque I find a nice hostel and in the morning I go to the tourist information office. They tell me that the starting point of the short trekkings in the park is Grazalema, a village about 17 kilometers away. I decide to hire a bike: 17 kilometers isn't very impressive, especially for a Dutch girl with quite some experience with both cycling and rain, and cycling in the rain. Or so I think. And I smile politely to the woman who wishes me "fuerza" when she gives me a bike and a helmet; yet I'm on my way to Grazalema.
After thirty minutes uphill in the first gear, I start wondering how long it will take me to get there like this. And if I'll get there anyway. Hey, there's a map along the way. Let's have a look. Eeer... are you kidding me? As an optimist I thought that for every meter uphill there'd be one downhill. It turns out that Grazalema lies 1103m higher than El Bosque. Bup! I've gone 400m's up now. Maybe I'll need to walk
at times then, but I'm determined to make it to Grazalema, and so I will! While enjoying the beautiful mountain views and refilling my bottle with fresh water along the road, I don't seem to get any further walking, cycling, walking. and cycling again. Untill... after three hours my stubbornness finally gets rewarded: the last 4 km's to Grazalema are downhill! Only later I realized that my way back starts with 4 km's to climb.
At this point I'm ready to admit that cycling back is not my best option and either is the trekking that I initially planned to do, so I ask the waitress of the lunch café in Grazalema if there are busses back to El Bosque. Yes. Good! When? In three hours. Hmm, I'll try to get a ride for the first few kilometers uphill then, the rest of the way will be downhill anyway. That way I'll probably even make it before sunset.
When I see a van for delivering packages passing, I ask the driver if he can help me out and ten minutes later I'm at the starting point of my way down to El Bosque with my bicycle in my hand. Or... hey! The helmet of the bike-rental shop is still in the van! That is twenty five euros deposit! As fast as I dare I race back down to Grazalema hoping to find him there. Yeah! There he is! And there he goes... With all the strenght I have left I go after him, I follow him out of the village, waving and shouting, and hoping that he'd look in one of his mirrors once. He doesn't. Aw, I lost him, and so I walk back (uphill of course) to the village. Hopefully I can take my bike with me in the bus later.
In the centre I have a coffee with an Australian guy who I met at the tourist office this morning. We chat untill the bus leaves, and at sunset I'm on my way back. With painfull muscles and with the bike in the luggage compartment. Without a helmet, but with a big smile on my face: it's been too long since something like this happened. I can still do it!
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