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Andalusia
For many months I had been feeling a deep calling to immerse myself in a challenge that would leave me better off as a human being.

I was not content with the way my body ached and slackened more with each passing month, nor was I prepared to succumb to the drudgery of everyday responsibility without at least carving out some time for adventure.

While browsing social media one evening, I found who was to become my hiking partner and good friend, Matthias. After chatting on off for a few weeks, we had resolved to spend a week hiking in the Andalusian Mountains just south of Spain. We trained together for a while – hiking and jogging locally to build up our stamina.

As the time for departure drew closer, we booked two cheap flights to Málaga Airport and packed as lightly as possible. Durable, lightweight clothing, hiking boots, extra socks, and minimal camping equipment should we choose to spend one night outdoors.

We arrived at Málaga Airport and were suitably impressed with the efficiency and friendliness of the officials working there. In little time, we had our luggage and hired car that was to take us to our small, rented cottage near the foothills of the Andalusian Mountains.

We arrived in darkness, so it was only the light of the following morning that allowed us to truly marvel at the natural splendour of our surroundings. I was raring to go. We packed our provisions for the day – dry trail food and plenty of water and set off while the sun was still low in the Eastern sky.

We had opted to start with a moderate hike before graduating to the more challenging day hikes. Poqueira Gorge Loop Walk is breathtakingly beautiful. On the first half of the loop, we passed through three small villages which were quietly prosperous. The folk regarded us with mild interest, offering up a smile and a wave here and there.

There were richly dyed and patterned fabrics on display as we made our way through the small stone settlements. The villagers had devised ingenious networks of irrigation channels to divert the flow of the mountain water to where it was most needed. No doubt, this was part of their secret to prosperity.
As we looped around, the view into the gorge was something I will remember for the rest of my life. The cascading river, the clustered white stone buildings, the greenery dotted about on the rolling hills – it was all too much to take in. I felt a deep sense of fullness as I gazed out at the marvellous vista. It was as satisfying as when want to win slots peru.

We spent the following few days rising early to tackle as many trails as we could. The only time we were outclassed as mountaineers was during our attempt at the Siete Lagunas Loop Walk. We ended up turning back once the altitude and steep ascent became too much for me. I don’t mind though; it gives me a reason to return one day.

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