Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Touching El Cielo

Just before Christmas I went for a little walk up a hill. Here's what happened.

El Cielo means either sky or Heaven in Spanish and it's also the name of the nearest mountain in Nerja.
Before I started I wasn't too sure whether 'sky' or 'heaven,' applied in this case. I was told that there was a Cross on the top of the mountain.

In hindsight I should of realised The Cross was a giveaway.

From here to the top of that 'hill' and back.

Although we were told that the walk wouldn't be the furthest (13km), it was a the highest up to now. Taking in to account that the World isn't flat it worked out that the total length of the walk was almost increased by 50% (up to 20km) by the height of the mountain.

Although being that high up had it advantages, mainly the views.
Someone, not me, pointing towards Nerja

And this is a close up of Nerja

Its very hill-y in this area of the World

So after walking to what people considered the 'base' of the mountain things started to get hard. We had already done about 7km up quite a bit of a hill but the hardest was about to come.
We skirted around the edge of the mountain. A few people couldn't handle it and turned back at this point, which I was relieved about.
And then just after we thought we had got past the trick-y part we then came to the last section which was the steepest and also on a lot of loose gravel.
I started to think the reason it's call El Cielo is because you spend most of the last section praying to God. And the reason for the Cross could only be to make your prays heard much better.

But as we scrambled up the spirally last section I glimpsed for the first time the Cross. And it was pretty impressive

I see you now

But eventually we made it to the peak and seen the cross in all its glory
Facing Nerja

Immediately on reaching the top I began kissing the ground and being thankful for making it in one piece.
The I sat down and had some sandwiches looking over some great views were I could see the start of the Sierra Nevadas Malaga, Almunecar and even across the Mediterranean at the mountains of Morroco.
(Unfortunately I forgot to upload some really fantastic panaromas I got and lost the photos after reformatting the laptop. But the views were fantastic)

Then everyone got their photo taken at the cross
Proof I was there

And you might be able to tell from that above photo that the cross is mirrored. The cross faces directly towards Nerja and at sunset the sun is reflected off the mirrors and if you have a good eye you can spot the little white dot on top of the mountain.

Nerja reflected in the cross

At one point while we were eating some guy walked off and came back with a snowball, which was pretty impressive. When I went to lok on teh dark side of the mountain and could see a load of snow but it was far too steep of a climb to get to it. So unfortunately I missed on touching snow for the first time in a while.

And then when it was time to pack up and leave we took an easier down hill route at which point my phone decided to die and I lost the stats for 1/3rd of my walk, which was annoying.

And despite being a hard and long walk the views were certainly worth it. But I could never do that tricky walk on my own. Far too scary.

But while we were at the top the last walk of the season was pointed out to me. This mountain is much higher. Over a thousand feet higher. This is now the walk I most looking forward and least looking forward to do.
Navachica. I think? See you soon.

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