Turns out, it was too hot to hike. I couldn’t handle the heat at all. I couldn’t handle the mountain roads either. So by the time we made it to the Los Alcornocales natural park, I was post-hangover (the first one during our 5 years of marriage, so it was bad and more likely caused by dehydration than those three drinks I had the night before), car sick and suffering of too much heat. Not to mention the really bad choice of sun classes I had made.

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A lunch picnic under the cork trees did sparkled me up a bit. We had some salami and bread, a litre of cazpacho  and flan for dessert. Perfect Spanish lunch. Shame about the photo being focused on the grass.

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The natural park was amazing. I have spend so much time in the past in Spain, and this was all new to me. Green and lush, quiet Spain. I just loved the country even more for that. But, we had to make a choice. We could stay and camp at the refugio and hope the park wardens would show up and we could ask & pay for the permit to stay and try some early morning hiking the next day. Or we could just drive a bit further north and see where we end up.

I was a bit reluctant to try our luck with the park warders (you should get the permits prior arrival to the park) so in the end, we decided to leave this amazing place. Driving more mountain roads didn’t get any easier, but the landscapes at the mountains are worth every moment of sickness on those turns.

We ended up driving all the way to the north of the park, which had been on our places to visit -list from the start. In the middle of the countryside, we found a cozy finca B&B, where we were able to put up our tent. We had (Gareth had) been carrying the tent all this way, so we should sleep in it at least one night, we thought.

By the time the tent was up and we settled down, it was getting dark already. We had dinner  under the stars, crickets chirping and bats starting their nightly rounds around us.

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I had never camped in +25 degrees Celsius. I know what it is like to sleep in a tent at -28 degrees, and I quite like it. +25, on the other hand, is – well, not such a pleasant experience. You want to leave the tent doors open, cause it’s too hot. Until you start hearing the too familiar sound of mosquitoes right by your ear. You kill one, but another already took a dinner on your foot. Close the tent mosquito net, which stops more coming in, but also stops the air moving. Can’t win.

A couple of hours into the night, I woke up with a strange feeling. Cold. It was “an unusually cold night” they told us in the morning. Well, we were better prepared the next two nights with our sleeping bags in the tent. Not that we really needed them those nights anymore.

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I got a sign “the moment has arrived to do what you have always wanted”. Fingers crossed. 

We stayed two more night at this great finca. There weren’t many more quests, so we pretty much had the swimming pool to ourselves.

The place, and the warm weather were perfect for doing nothing. Gareth had a full two days of swimming pool, reading and relax while I finished a hopefully life-changing application for something cool in the near future. The chances are small, but at least I will always remember the feeling of jumping into the pool after finishing the work.

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One more thing. Don’t be jealous about the pool-side office. Despite the looks, it’s actually not at all comfortable. Your chair is terrible, you have no desk. People around you are happy and relaxed, you’re just sweating and trying to keep your mind at work while you husband is doing laps at the pool and sipping a beer. Keep work in the office and have fun at the pool. Millenials are just confused.

 

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