Capileira: In the clouds

Last night was Halloween. Aside from the eyepatch, I didn’t participate. Since leaving the farm in France, I’ve been bouncing around cities of Spain. A week in Barcelona. Three days in Malaga. Three days in Granada. I thought I’d enjoy the freedom of hostel hoping. The people I’d meet. The English they’d speak. But instead, it’s become quite mundane. Tapas, cervesas, backpackers, and busy streets. “Where are you from” “What brought you this way” “Germany, England, Australia” “I’m on holiday”, all the same. I craved adventure, I craved authenticity. I couldn’t waste another day.

The city was quiet as I walked toward the stop. All the tourists in my dorm were hungover from a night of drinking. As usual, I wasn’t entirely sure which bus to board, but I guessed correct. On the horizon, the Sierra Nevada dominated, like a massive white dome.

November 1st, 2018

The bus wound back and forth, through the increasingly mountainous terrain. I've never suffered much from motion sickness, but today, I found it difficult to refrain. I contemplated getting off early. At one of the many stops we made. The towns looked cool, all of them, but I was determined to make it to the end.

The last spot on the map, I caught my first glimpse from the bottom of the canyon. Bubion below it, and Capileira in the clouds.


The smell of wood from the chimneys burning up white smoke against the green mountainside. The sounds of the cows. The chickens. The absence of people. The silence. The narrow corridors, the roofs that make me crouch.


The snowmelt on the cobblestone. The vast valley in the distance. The cliffs. The emptiness. The blue sky. The clouds. The deeply snowcapped peak. This little bar. The classic tunes. The Spanish conversations. The soft smiles. The gentle laughter. The slowwww pace. The Alhambra, it's native. The chorizo. It is too.

Cities make me anxious. Mountain towns make sense. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Canceling my reservation for Seville. Done with cities. Nine days left. Spend them in Spanish towns. Authenticity.


The clouds rolled in, not over. In another bar, they just lit a fire. It's packed with people. No tourists. No English. I'm drunk and full for four euro. It's great.

Thought I'd take to the trail, check out the next town, just 1km down. But then I remembered the museum. I zigged up and zagged down. Couldn't find it. Oh well.

In the distance, I saw a head. A man with a backpack emerged. I followed.

I had no idea where it went, but the trail out of town brought peace. For the first time in Europe, I hiked. Massive jagged boulders reminded me of Savage River. That mound of white in the distance brought back memories of Colorado. Not five minutes in, and I felt cured of all anxiety. I haven't been living my life. This trip is a learning process.

I zoned out entirely. I slipped. Down the slick green mossy grass, I flipped. With my camera in hand, I jabbed the soft ground without letting it touch, and somehow landed in stride. A green stain on my elbow is all that remains. No pain. Good at falling. Can't wait to ride.

Objective: clear view of the peak. I kept going. Twenty minutes later, I'm sitting, criss crossed, on a smooth rock. The bells of the goats supply the only sound, aside from the occasional bark of the farm hound, and like water, and the river, far below. These Spanish slopes are an arid green at their base and mid, with a frosting of white on top. Various shades of yellow, red orange, and green fill in-between. The grass is golden.

Yeah, there's a slight buzz from those cañas, but my infatuation and gratitude come from this scene.

My favorite day of the trip. A day in the clouds.

Cities are the same. Seek authenticity.