Canyoning in Spain before Driving South
With 10 days left in Spain, the vagabonds hit the road again. We decided to head south to see Seville and Granada for 4 days total with one day on the road to Seville. The last 5 days of the trip are still unplanned. As usual we had things to do before leaving.
We had to say good bye to the cat who was waiting outside the door to our apartment in the hope the kids bought 2 cans of tuna.
Then we had to go canyoning.
That is our guide Leo. He set us up with gear which we put in the pack and carried to the Jeep-like vehicle that Leo transported us in. When Leo met Sophia, he said, “Ay, Sophia, Sophia.” With a slight difference in the normal pronunciation than we use in the States, it is almost a caress of her name. This has been happening often with Sophia’s name. Sean’s and my name are not as well liked or well pronounced. It turns out the queen of the retired King Juan Carlos, is named Sophia and she was well liked. Juan Carlos recently gave up the throne to his son because of some legal controversy involving his daughter’s business dealings.
I started to get in the back, and Leo told me to ride in the front because my Spanish was the best of the group. Oh yes! It pays to have studied hard in high school!
At about roof height for a Jeep from the road, is where floodwaters reached in 1977 when it rained steadily for 8 to 10 days. Check out how far below the road the water is on the day we canyoned.
These are photos from the road on the way to where we would canyon.
To my knowledge, I had never heard of canyoning before the day we walked into Aventura Raid Sarratillo office in Ainsa. Canyoning entails hiking, swimming, jumping, rappelling, diving, and floating. There were several options available as to canyons Leo could take us down. The canyon we were taken down took about 2 hours to go down. We traveled about 1 km an hour. They chose this canyon for us because it was one of the most beautiful, and there were so many options at each spot. You could choose from a high jump, medium jump, low jump, or to climb down. You could even do a back flip (Sean) if you wanted. Did I forget to mention we climbed under a couple of waterfalls, through little keyhole slots with water flowing through them, and through a small cave. Sophia and I did not rappel down btw. We had Leo lower us on the rope. It looked so far down! I really am not a fan of heights. It was no big deal though. Leo was a fantastic guide. Javier told us he was sending us with someone special and he was right! Poor Leo, he probably would have liked to jump, but if I wanted to climb down, he climbed down with me. Do I sound like the biggest wimp ever, LOL. I wasn’t that bad. It was awesome. Exciting, beautiful, and fun all at the same time!
The packs we are each carrying have a wetsuit complete with the hood, helmets, water, and a wetsuit jacket in them. We were high in altitude and the water was COLD! (FYI, most European women we have seen on the beaches in Spain do not wear one piece bathing suits. If I lived in Europe I might have to ditch my grandma suit! Here even great grandmas are in bikinis!)
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The scenery was beautiful.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Leo was a superb guide. There he is on the left.
When we got back to Ainsa we were hungry. This was a problem because it was siesta time. Everywhere we went, including the South of France, closed up for 2 to 3 hours in the middle of the day. This includes grocery stores or supermercatos as they are called no matter what size they are. Most places stay open much later at night though. It is easier than you think it would be to get used to. Sunday is another story… Just kidding, but Sunday also most stores close up. Again it is just a matter of paying attention, then you start to get used to it.
We found something very basic to eat and drove for one last time to La Cucuirala. Javier and his wife had finished washing our clothes. We needed to pick them up and say goodbye. I told Javier how beautiful the craftmanship of his units are and how comfortable they are too. He told us he built them with some help from a group of men he flew to Spain from Bolivia. He was glad we appreciated his units because when he built them his goal was too make them so comfortable that he would want to stay in them. It really showed! His next project is to build a remote Hobbit House in the woods! (I might have to come back to Spain just to stay there. I mean seriously a Hobbit House!!!! I want to stay in a Hobbit House!!!!!) Here is a link to La Cicuarala, http://www.lacicuarala.com/www.lacicuarala.com/WELCOME.html. Who knows when you stay there maybe the Hobbit House will be finished!
When we left we drove south for hours. Our goal was Seville the next day. Jim is a monster when it comes to driving long distances. He is the only one of us with an international drivers license, but he is a control freak about driving so I just let him do all of it anyway. We were unprepared for what it would be like on a main thoroughfare in Spain designed to get you from point a to point b. In the states every exit would have some amenities, and many of them would have hotels. On these types of highways in Spain, amenities and hotels are few and far between each other. We were south of Madrid at about 11 p.m. (23:00) when we began looking for something. There was nothing for miles. The first place we found at about 23:30 had no rooms. Finally we found a hostel to stay in. We had never stayed in a hostel before. It was pretty great actually. We loved the family who ran it! We rented a girl’s room and a boy’s room. Sophia is much quieter than Jim or Sean. Lucky me.
Check out the previous Spain post here.