September 1, 2002

9/1/02 Hacinas

Canyon de Rio Lobos

Sometimes it amazes me how much activity I've squeezed in just three weeks. All four weekends I've been here have been full of adventures. Today was no different. Santi and I drove south, I think, to the National Park of the Canyon Rio Lobos.

We began by hiking three kilometers to the ermita, chapel, of San Bartolome located between the vertical canyon walls. This church of the Knights Templar was built 'exactly' equal distances from the most eastern tip of Spain and the most western tim, within one foot of accuracy.

Ermita de San Bartolome

It was a great day and there were few people, so we decided to hike more. This canyon was a day tripper's dream, whether on foot or mountain bike because it was so flat. It was a good test for me because we ended up walking 22 km (13.6 miles) at a fairly quick pace. As usual, I had my Chaco sandals on, and they felt good. But I know I'm going to have problems with my left big toe and right heel due to cracking dry skin. It was a beautiful canyon and we could see dozens of vultures flying over their nests on the cliff tops. Don't tell my teacher but we talked mainly in English. Besides studying law in school, Santi also took three years of Arabic. He said once you can speak two languages, it's easier to learn others, at least relatively to the second.

While Santi and I were working up a sweat on the trial, Natí and José were in Burgos. They've had a full weekend because the extended family had a Christening today. And tonight I joined about forty of José's parents, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews and of course everyone's spouse. One of José's nieces, Soraya (age 14) was happy to practice her English, helping me fill in the gaps of my Spanish with her translation.

Unfortunately Javier is still sick. He still can't keep anything in his stomach. But that didn't stop him from getting angry because no one would let him eat anything during the celebration. Maybe tomorrow he'll begin to feel better.