a wandering woman writes

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Kindness of Strangers

Raquel, my guide to the pinsapo forest in Grazalema.

I have always relied on the kindness of strangers.........

Especially when travelling alone! This is Raquel, mother of 2, Valenciana turned Andalusian forester's wife,and my guide to the Sierra of Cádiz. I wanted to see the pinsapo forest with a local guide, just to spend the day chatting with someone and learning what I wouldn't on my own, but the only guide I found who would even consider taking one lone hiker wasn't available. As I gave up and picked up my own hiking permit, my cell phone rang. The guide's friend Raquel would be happy to hike with me. She picked me up the next morning at my hotel, taught me every tree and every flower on the hike, generously shared her dried figs and taught me to hug pinsapos. 7 hours later, her husband picked us both up at the end of the trail and bought us each an ice cream cone. The kindness of two strangers who are very, very happy with the life they've chosen.

It's time to hit the road!! I have 3 days and a bus ticket to Extremadura. First stop the medieval city of Cáceres, second stop Trujillo, now a quiet little town, once home to the all those lovely gentlemen who conquered the Inca Empire and brought Montezuma's daughters home as wives.

Here's hoping the Cradle of the Conquistadores comes equipped with internet cafés.

It's a dangerous business ... going out of your door ... You step out into the Road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.

JRR Tolkien



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