After 3 weeks of walking on sidewalks, hearing sirens, seeing mostly buildings, cars and people, and stressing out about finding an apartment, it was time to get out of the city. I had initially planned on just taking the train up to the mountains when I suddenly stumbled upon a website about Hiking in Madrid. I hadn’t even thought about hiking here but it turns out there are lots of mountains and river valleys nearby so why not? It would also be a great way to get some fresh air, meet some more people, and get more comfortable using our great local transportation.
I contacted them to get more information on upcoming hikes and I went to the local bookstore to pick up a copy of their book. Their Saturday and Sunday hikes both sounded great. Robert had some work to do on Sunday so we opted for Saturday’s hike. For 10 euro (plus transportation) we met at the bus station at the pre-arranged time and we were taken to our destination outside the city to hike for 3-4 hours – lunch and a drink afterward are included. There were 28 people that went that day. Most of them live in Madrid. Most of them spoke both Spanish and English. They were of all ages and from all over. Someone even brought their dog. We had people from Israel, Britain, Mexico, Lithuania, the US, and other parts of Spain.
This particular hike was about 45 minutes outside the city near the small town of Collado Mediano (which means Middle Valley). When we arrived in town, we had a 20 minute break to stock up on water, get breakfast, use the bathroom and check out the town before heading out. The croissants we had was SO good, we should have bought more.
We headed up and out of the village. There were trails going in every direction (many mountain bike trails), so it was good to have someone point out which way we were suppose to go. Our hike was pretty much straight up hill to the top. The rock outcroppings, vegetation and mountains here remind me a LOT of southern Arizona. It was plenty hot that day too – which also reminding me a lot of Arizona. Next time we go, I’ll know to bring extra water and another back pack.
We had a great time. It was exactly what we needed. Good exercise but very relaxing at the same time. The views along the way were great. We could see the world’s largest cross in the Valley of the Fallen off in the distance. We could see the many surrounding mountains, several reservoirs, and other towns and villages dotting the countryside. We eventually found a nice shady spot in the pines to have our lunch (which was peanut butter sandwiches, bananas, and chips). We had lots of interesting conversations that day and met lots of interesting people. Eventually we headed down the mountain – which was easier. It was mostly a long winding path back down the side of the mountain we climbed. There were thunderstorms in the area which cooled the temperature a bit and provided us with much needed cloud cover.
When we returned to Collado Mediano, we had to wait over an hour for the next bus to Madrid. Which was great actually, because we were thirsty. And here in Spain there’s nothing better than just sitting outside at one of the local taverns and having some drinks and tapas. And that’s exactly what we did!
For more pics, just click on the photos.