Just in time in the train. I really had my doubts about going when I woke up after 5h of sleep. But my experience reminded me that although it can be rough to start engines, at some point it feels good to leave the city. I just reached this point, seeing the train getting into the station, realizing that it will carry me straight to what I need for today: long walk, snow, nature, music and eye-candies.
I come almost prepared, wearing those trekking shoes I bought this week for today, one another reason for not staying in bed, ipod for music and writing, iphone for sharing location if I get lost and for pictures, and my dear reflex I barely use – but today is a day for carrying this camera – hot clothes, water, tissues, notebook.
I already mentionned in this blog how much I value doing those trips alone, for many reason. This trip is holy and needs to happen the way I envision it, leaving at the time I plan, walking at the pace I feel appropriate, pausing and walking again whenever I feel like, eating when and where I want, planning and changing plans when I feel I need or simply want to.
Nevertheless, this week, I decided to invite good friends for this one, although it meant getting over some of the thing I mentionned before and be less selfish; I though I should give it a try, since they’re people I like to spend time with.
It went bad.
But nevermind, I stick to the plan, get up, and walk.
And write. And take pictures. And most of all get out of the mentally noisy city for a moment, because it has been an intense month since I traveled to Barcelona on the 21st of december, my body is screaming for fresh air.
I’m literally exhausted.
I’ve walked 3h30 to get to where I wanted to, Puerto de Navacerrada. I got really close to being lost several time, but the good thing about the snow is that, if it’s virgin, you going where nobody went today, which is exciting, but not good sign. So I oriented myself the best I can, using screen captures of the map I was supposed to follow, Google maps, and instinct. And a bit of brain, following as I said the shoes marks on the snowy ground.
The snow kept on getting heavier and heavier as I was climbing, covering my ankles most of the time, up to my knees some other times. Walking in the snow that is that dense is not easy, the last 2km really exhausting. I almost felt like applauding myself when I finally got to the station.
I’m really really glad I bought 2 snickers and 2 bottle of water in Cercedilla; when I arrived in Navacerrada, I had gone through several episodes of big thirst and hunger that I was able to calm down.
Long and tough walk, real effort, but one of the best walks ever.
Once in Navacerrada, I immediately looked for some place to eat. First option: 18,50€ menu, crazy expensive considering the place and the food on the menu. So I asked a woman if she new cheaper and better places: nope. I then asked a man, a worker for the train company, for recomendations. He told me that in Cotos they were cheaper places. Coto is 15min away in train. I said ok, let’s go there. We kept on talking with the man for 10min, cool south american man.
So I took that cute train, for a short ride through the snowy pine trees, beautiful and unique views on the mountains. Lovely trip. And free since tickets are only sold down in the town where I began my walk, Cercedilla (which is ridiculous).
No controls, no worries.
I arrived in Cotos and realized that I had landed in a ski station. It was a lot colder, the snow reflected the sunlight, kids riding their ‘luge’, ugly outfits, no doubt: I was in a ski station, unexpectedly.
I queued for a sandwich, got this enormous bocadillo, went out, slipped on the ice 20 cm away from my selected spot, throwing my all sandwich on the icy floor.
Second: shit! my sandwich on the floor.
Third: look up and saw 2 beautiful girls, with a look from pity to hilarity. Shit!.
I picked up my sandwich and my dignity, sat at the same spot I was heading for, which is right next to the girls –my dignity was laying agonic on the floor anyway– and ate the sandwich, I way too hungry to leave it on the floor. It’s ice, ice is clean, it wasn’t yellow at least.
End up my sandwich, feeling alive again, and while the cold takes control of my all body, I head back to take the train. After waiting 30min, I ask for schedules: 45 min to wait still.
I´ll have a tea in the station bar.
Train finally arrives, but: to jump on, you need your ticket, bought in Cercedilla. Of course I don’t have this, but the problem is that this time, entries to the train were controled. No way to board. I’m stuck. I head to the bus. It goes straight to Madrid which means that on top of paying the bus, I will loose my return train ticket from Cercedilla.
Enormous queue for the bus, not up for this.
I start lifting my thumb from the border of the road hoping someone would give me a drive to Cercedilla.
I lift up once, a car stop: not the good destination. Lift thumb up again, 1min after another car stops: still not the good destination. After 4min with the thumb in the air and people looking at me like “wow, good luck dude”, car stops, goes to Cercedilla. Bingo!
I’m this close to turn around and wave goodbye to the bus queue that wasn’t looking at me weirdly anymore, but I decided to focus on the great soul that bothered stopping for me.
Nice dude, Paco, nice conversation, and after 30min I was at the station.
The thing I was describing before of feeling lazy for getting up but believing in it would be worth it came reinforced after today. It was totally worth skiping the drinks yesterday, worth setting my alarm clock at 6:45, worth getting up and run for my train. The quantity of snow was above all expectations, I’ve walked surrounded by huge pine trees and beautiful landscapes, most of the time the all space was mine, no one around, I got lost and it felt good as always, I talked to some very nice people on the way, and buying trekking shoes has not been any waist, don’t know what I would have done with my regular shoes.