Secrets of Anadalcia Walk

Day 3
I’m a bit toasted; opt today for the 1 boot (easier) option. This means I can relax for a couple of hours before heading out. The pool is inviting, until I dip my toe in – feels like ice water. But, I’m thinking that my muscles are sore and my joints are swollen, so this could be the equivalent of a whole body cold pack. It takes me 15 minutes to slowly immerse myself, but then it feels quite nice and I swim for awhile and then dry in the sun. I feel like I’m at a Swedish spa having some kind of treatment!

Today’s hike takes us up 30 minutes by 4-wheel vehicle to the start point of the ancient silk route, used to transport the silkworm cocoons from Competa to Granada (the mule tracks actually extend all the way to China). We start at a stunning overlook over the peaks of the Sierra Almijara – you can see right out over the shores of the Mediterranean and maybe even to the ridge of the North African Rif Mountains on a clear day. We take a picnic lunch at abandoned ruins of what was once a mountain lodge frequented by silk traders – you can almost imagine the clinking of wine glasses and smell of roast pork on an open pit.

After lunch, it’s a fragrant (dense with pine, wild fennel and lavender) and exhilarating walk – mostly ridge walking, just a short section of steep, rocky uphill. Andrew keeps an eye out for big birds – and he finally rewards us with a sighting of a large group of griffon vultures (3 ft wing spans) spiraling over the ridge.

We arrive at the dirt road for our final 2 hour downhill stretch. One sighting of a group of ibex (mountain goats) keeps us looking for more as we continue on what seems like a very long end of the day (the last 2 hours are always the hardest!) We stream into the hotel in small groups and have an hour of so to shower and relax before a special guest chef serves dinner.

Dinner starts with a wonderful selection of tapas (salad with smoked salmon and avocado, toast with baked goat cheese, spicy skewered shrimp, and stuffed pasta). No worries about leaving room for the main course, I’ll plenty hungry! This is followed by an Andalucian lamb specialty served with potatoes and fresh vegetables. Dessert is the piece de resistance – almond cakes served with a delicious homemade vanilla & honey ice cream. Very sad this is my last night with the group, but tomorrow I’m off to Cordoba!
P. S. I’ve hopefully solicted the services of a “ghost writer” for the remainder of the walks – stay tuned for our special guest (aspiring stand up comedian).