We made it. What an awesome day. Got up to clouds with blue peaking through and so decided to go for it. Showered and managed to clean my teeth mistakenly with shaving cream – eugh… not an advisable activity at all (that’ll teach me to collect the tiny tubes from hotel rooms!) then got some breakfast before starting to pack everything up, we were ready to leave by 12:45pm (getting better). The drive to the Spanish border was stunning; snow capped mountains, waterfalls and clear rivers opening onto vivid turquoise mountain lagoons. We climbed above the red kites until we reached the border and drove straight through. As we started the descent into sunny Spain, not more than 500m from the border, a deer leapt over the barrier on the left hand side of me and leapt again towards the van, “WHOOOOOAAAAAAAA” was all I could manage as Ant broke and the poor little thing missed the front of the van by only a matter of inches. A bit shaken but excited at the same time, we pulled over and watched the deer bounding across the mountain to join his mate who had crossed behind us. Was like a view from Heidi. Then we noticed some enormous vultures circling and landing not far from us, so in true secret-twitcher style, the bins came out, followed by the book and after some debate, the Griffon Vulture was ticked.
After a quick drive around the out-of-season ski resort of Candanchu, we continued down towards the river and stopped for some lunch and a map-check on the Rio Aragon. We decided to refuel in Jaca and then find a campsite. Fuel is much cheaper here, less than a euro a litre which is promising, but the campsite we have found is much more expensive – although we justified the cost as our first night in Spain (and we needed wifi, and somewhere to watch the champions league final of course – Barcelona Vs Man Utd.).
Tomorrow we are setting off for Pamplona; the city where the annual running of the bulls takes place. Don’t know yet whether we will reach it in a day, but we will probably wild camp somewhere.
“Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.” –Mark Jenkins