25-1-2019 Granada, Spain

Some bad food was haunting me and a neighbor came home drunk and loud at 3 AM, so we played it low-key for the day.  The following day we had plans for a hike.

Up early and ready to roll. We headed to Monachil by bus to hike the Cahorros de Monachil loop.  The trail starts out just a walk along a river bank, dodging trees and trying not to slip in the mud. After a kilometer or 2, you cross a series of 4 or 5 hanging bridges. The last bridge is about 50 meters long and crosses a deep gorge.  It would have been more interesting and fun if it wasn’t an Instagram moment for so many. The bridge had a 4 person limit and everyone walking across it needed to spend forever getting every angle possible. A group of school kids took 30 minutes and they had already been there when we arrived at the bridge. If you need to get a photo, please be quick.

 

                After the last bridge, we came to the narrows. The narrows are a long concrete walkway on one side of the river.  It is narrow and frequently you need to duck (or crawl in one place) as you go up an increasingly narrow and overhung passage until it is a tunnel. A few people got overly concerned or claustrophobic. Large metal rings were set into the rock to give hiker a means to hang onto the side when the path got too narrow or the crawling got tough.

                After the narrows, the trail loops back onto the hill on the left and the terrain dries out. We walked through orchards, some abandoned, bee keeping, some grazing animals, and a small crowd of college kids. 

                Back in the town of Monachil, we discovered that the return bus didn’t come for another hour or two, so we hustled a mile uphill to catch it at a different bus stop. We ended up catching it as it pulled into the stop and made the return trip in style.

                The next morning, we were greeted with the most polite motorcycle rally that I have ever seen. They lined up politely, they didn’t make a lot of noise, and they helped out a guy whose bike died before the rally could take off.

                On our last day in Granada, we visited the baths and a couple of old Muslim homes. The tile, architecture, and wood work was very pretty.

                The next 24 hours are a blur. We caught a noon bus to Madrid. After a lovely hour in the Madrid bus station, we caught the 7 PM bus to Paris. This was probably the worst bus ride I have had (including the 4 months in South America). It started with a broken seat that wanted me to recline. At 11 PM, we stopped and picked up a family. The man smelled like someone distilled body odor and then soaked it in rotting garlic. He would pace the isle with his arms up from his seat in the back to the poor person stuck next to his wife and infant. Eventually he was allowed to take the seat next to his wife and the smell centralized there. Around 2 AM we had a rest stop at a bar. I wasted a Euro on a bottle of water from a machine that was broken.  Around 1:30 PM, we rolled into the Paris bus station. The restroom in the Paris bus station is the worst I have seen on 3 continents. I walked in and decided I would need to shower in bleach if I used it. The floor was a pool of urine and the sink looked like it had doubled as a toilet more than once since its last cleaning.  Welcome to Paris.

                A few train rides and a long walk brought us to our Airbnb. Our room for the night touted that it was a 7 minute ride to the airport, but they didn’t say that there is ZERO public transportation and taxis charge a large extra fee as it isn’t in Paris, but a weird neighboring town. The only option was hitchhiking or my first attempt at using Uber.  The other issue is that the Airbnb host owned the only restaurant in town. So pizza it was for our dinner in Paris.

                The next morning, my newly created Uber account provided for a quick arrival to the terminal. Oh, and if your Airbnb host tells you that you don’t need the extra couple of hours before an international flight, they are an imbecile.  We had ignored the supposed wisdom and were grateful for the extra time to navigate the long lines and still have time for a huge cup of coffee.

                In Detroit we had a long layover (thanks to United Airlines rescheduling us to add several hours), so we drink a big beer and ate an America style cheeseburger. United’s gift compounded into arriving home at 2 AM on November 1st.  Our dogs and bed have never been better.

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