A last-minute decision to go to Spain.
Heading to Spain was a very last-minute decision. It didn’t come without deliberating over several different options I could take. As our Italian summer road-trip came to a close and it was time for Mudi to head home, I was unsure where I would find myself for the next week.
I boiled down my potential options into four different locations.
- Stay in Italy and continue to explore the Dolomites.
- Go and visit friends in Norway for a week.
- Head to Spain to potentially enter a race in the Spanish side of the Pyrenees.
- Spend a week with a friend in Greece.
Fortunately, I’d put myself in a position where all the options that I presented above would lead to great experiences no matter which direction I chose to go. Keep in mind, this is only for a week before I head to Switzerland, however, I carry the mindset to never waste a day let alone a week.
I decided against Italy, as I wanted to leave Italy on a high. Spending the last 10 days with my friend Mudi was a real buzz. Having the car was a real game-changer for our trip and I would have had to continue without the car if I was to stay in Italy. Having a car or any set of wheels is a necessity in the Dolomites, it’s liberating having the freedom to drive to any hike or place you want when you want. From what I read, the Dolomites can be done on a bus but it wouldn’t be the same. Maybe I should just get a tent and go camp in the mountains somewhere?
I decided I would want to spend more time in Norway then a week.
So… then it came down to Spain vs Greece. Spain was still up in the air, as I wasn’t even sure if I had a guaranteed race entry. Greece was appealing, I would go to spend time with a new friend but would come at the trade-off of missing the race.
We all have to make trade-offs, every day.
A quote from a book I just finished by Greg McKeown said, “Essentialists see trade-offs as an inherent part of life, not as an inherently negative part of life. Instead of asking, “What do I have to give up?” they ask, “What do I want to go big on?”
If you want to a great book to read, I highly recommend “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less”.
In relation to this quote:
What do I have to give up?
- Developing a new friendship.
What do I want to go big on?
- My running, physical challenges and pushing myself to the limits. Running has become a big part of my life and competition, well that’s deeply engrained in my DNA now. I’m a competitive person, so the chance to keep in Spain was a huge drawcard for me. In my old journals from 2014, I remember writing down that I wanted to compete in international running events. Furthermore, I want to eventually win international running events.
This is an insight into my decision-making process which from the outside would have appeared spontaneous, but internally felt well justified.
VENICE TO PALMA DE MALLORCA
The decision was final and as I booked my flight to Mallorca. I booked to go to Mallorca because it was the cheapest flight to Spain available. I figured if I made it into the race, I would book a flight to Barcelona and go from there.
I was excited to be in Mallorca because one of my childhood heroes, Rafael Nadal, was born and raised in Mallorca. I think it’s always fascinating to see where people grew up before going on to be the person that they are.
As I flew into Mallorca, I really knew nothing about the island at all. I had seen some pictures of beautiful beaches but that was about it. Whilst at the airport in Venice, I booked the cheapest hostel I could find. I had no idea where exactly it was that I booked, I was simply hoping for the best. It felt like I had blindfolded myself and just dropped a pin randomly on Mallorca.
My hostel would end up being in a small town called Deià. Deià was a mountainside town but was also very close to the ocean. It felt fitting as if I was meant to be there. My Europe tripped has been centered around time in the mountains, so it felt right that I found myself in Deià.
What I thought was a hostel, was actually a ‘rifugio’. Traditionally a rifugio is meant for hikers following long trails to stay overnight and then head out again in the morning. There was a 10.30pm curfew and doors didn’t open till 7am the next day. Access to my room was also shut off from 10am – 3pm. It was rather peculiar. The first two nights, there were two girls in my dorm who had been in Deia for a bit of time already so they knew the area a little. We ventured out along the cliffs and along the hot Spanish trails until we found a secluded cove to swim for the day. I didn’t expect to be swimming in this Europe trip, so this was a tremendous little addition.
Whilst in Deia, I found out that I had been accepted into the race in Barreura, Spain. I was ecstatic to hear the news and it felt like my decision to come to Spain was validated. How I would get to my next spot, Baruerra, in the mountains of Spain, I had no idea.
Into the Spanish Mountains
I flew from Mallorca to Barcelona and decided to hire a car whilst at the airport. It wasn’t the cheapest option, but from my brief research, there was no other option.
It was a 4-hour drive to the little town in the middle of nowhere but I was happy to be going there. I was thankful that I had learned to drive a manual the week before in Italy. Driving manual in Europe is the norm, unlike Australia. I was sitting at about 140km/h on the highways with some new tunes pumping. It was a liberating feeling and I could feel the excitement building as I drove into these distant lands.
I crossed through a few patches of baron land on the way, but as I came close to the mountains, the purple hues from the sunset started to roll in and cover the mountains. It was a picturesque moment that I savored.
I didn’t have any accommodation booked, as this was very last minute. Fortunately, a friend I met traveling last year in Norway found a bed for me. The next day I went out and did a flat trail run and put my legs in the freezing cold river. I also met a few of the runners would be competing for the top spots on the weekend.
The rest of the weekend revolved around the Buff Epic Trail 42km. I’ve written a blog post on the event here, which you can read more about.
Spain treated me well and I definitely can’t wait to come back and check out more. Like every country, there is so much more to see here. I’d like to come back to Spain and really dive into more of the secluded ocean coves and climb more of the arid mountain ranges.
Off to Switzerland!