About a month before then, my dad had told me that he thought of bringing his old car to Madrid, since it would be more useful there. He thought of driving it sometime during the easter holiday. I had just gotten my driving license, so this was a golden opportunity to do a good act. Dad, the journey is very long and it’s going to make you very tired. I will do it instead. Big smile. My dad always trusts in me. And he is right, since I’ve never disappointed him. Not because I always do what he wants me to, but because if I want to do something different, I explain to him why that is. He understands. Same goes with my mother. This was a good opportunity to learn, and above all, to have an awesome time with Mark.
I was finally back in Luxembourg. I hadn’t been there in some months. When arriving, I went straight home to try out the car. Since I passed my driving exam a few weeks prior, I had only driven once, for about 5 minutes, for a friend who was drunk and couldn’t drive himself.
I felt like a king driving around. I just hoped that other cars or kids wouldn’t get close to my car. Before leaving, we made sure that we had enough vitamins and minerals inside us. We did it by trying out every supplement and herbal extract tablet that we found in the kitchen. It was funny downing that soy lecithin and eating those algs along with polen and some vitamins. Afterwards, we jumped in the car, threw a few fireworks to celebrate our departure, and left. Knowing us (food lovers, devoted and passionate food gulpers), having the right provisions in the car is a must. So our first stop was the supermarket! We thought that it would be better to buy some food rather than to go around town stealing kid’s icecreams.
Our main heading was south, south east. We wanted to go somewhere in the alps to enjoy the amazing views. One of our stops the first day was Toul, a city that pleasantly surprised us. Upon leaving the car, we were in this quiet silent square, with tall mystical looking like trees with black ravens croaking while watching us. There was also a fountain, and a cathedral, but there wasn’t anyone. It was as if the zombies that finally taken over the earth. Well not really, but we had the feeling that we were in a dream. We walked around and found some houses with trees on their roofs.
I don’t remember much, but I remember that we decided to keep going south. At some point, we stopped by a peaceful field by a hill and a railway. Marc parked as good as he could (Marc and parkings… ), and we went to the top of the hill with the bow and arrows. It’s always fun shooting at whatever stuff moves or doesn´t move. We shot some more in some fields, and went through some steep forest.
Back on the road, it felt like we were free. Like we were in another dimension where the units of time were trees and cheeses, and where we were millionaires since money was measured in the number of smiles on our faces. This road was almost slightly straight, going through the woods and fields, and old villages. I think we stopped a few times trying to find some more cheese. I think in that trip we had a cheese addiction since we ate about half a kilo of cheese a day each. We arrived to Vittel, and the whole city was awake. There was going to be the French 10km running championships the day after, and the street was filled with runners. While going out of the car in the parking, some of them runners were looking at us, and Marc and me started talking as if we were Pro’s and had done and won many races, and we discussed some bullshit strategies. It was soo much fun, all the looks we were getting. We went around the thermal spas, and casino, and then all around the city. It had loads of ruman style buildings in it, and while exploring, we repeatedly met many groups or runners running around endlessly for hours. We asked them why they were running so much, when the race would be the day after. Their response was ‘’On echauffe les jambes!’’ (which literally means: ‘’we are warming up the legs!’’) So much for a warm up! But who knows, maybe it was some special regional hidden tactic.
We found a hunting shop, with no clients whatsoever inside, so we went in. While asking about some weapons, the owner told us that it was almost impossible to obtain a weapon license. We then wondered why he had a shop then XD. We got about 5more packs of cheese from another supermarket.
We decided to drive some more in the night since it was fun and we were still quite close to luxembourg, and around 2am we went onto a field. On the field, there was a camel, a horse, a bull, and some other animals. They belonged to a circus who was installed on the same field. We had a quick look inside the circus tent (without anyone seeing us), cleared the back seats, and just when we were about to fall asleep the circus director came, and told that that we couldn’t park there since the police had forbidden them to let anyone in. Too bad, it would have been fun! Oh just before we left, he casually asked us if we would like to work for him. Hahahah funny guy! We drove some more until arriving to a (this time empty) field in the middle of nowhere.
In the morning, we did a big fire, and had loads of meat and fish. Mark and me we eat anything at any time. We were chilling to the max on the bonnet, enjoying life and the morning sun. We drove to Grenoble, and found some parking space. It was funny parking because it was the first time we’d done it with that car, and we’d both only recently gotten our driving licenses. Mark stopped by some dog park to take some pictures. He said it was for his project but hey, different people different hobbies! (trop alz mark!) .
I remember this extremely funny moment while driving out of Grenoble… I was driving, and we were on the front of the queue waiting for the traffic lights to turn green, and I stated reving up the engine… I had my cap on backwards, and if I remember correctly, we also had loud music on. People were like. oh those young guys as soon as it will turn green they’ll do a burnout and get rocketed. Well, we were kinda newbies on the wheel, so when it turned green I went slowly slowly, and everycar went past us like the thunder. It was such a funny moment, especially since after 100m there was another set of lights, and the same cars were there. I repeated the reving, and. baaah it was so much fun.
I think it was that day, when we parked the car by a quarry, and went through it until arriving to a massive river. We forgot the cameras in the car, and it was quite a walk, so we did not picture it… The current was quite strong in some places, and in others, there were pebbles above the water. We got naked, and jumped in the water. Man It was freezing! After getting carried away some meters , we arrived to the other side. We could almost not walk because our feet were so cold. But it was a sunny day, and we enjoyed chilling naked in the middle of the river, since it was like an island, but flat and no trees. On the way back, we decided to let ourselves get carried by the current for a while. Actually , maybe it was another day. Who cares.
We picked up 2 about 17y.o. guys who were hitchhiking, and I’m sure they’ll remember us forever. First, they asked us about our trips. The conversation derived to all the hitchhiking and cycling around Europe trips we’d done. I’m not sure if they believed it, because it was too much in one go that 2 20year olds had done so much already. We went into a very narrow tunnel. The cars coming were taking more space than they should, and I was almost scraping the wall. Mark was on the wall side, and he was like. man we are way too close! Fuck yeah we were! He was just about to open the window to measure the gap when a car was coming waaaay to close to us, so I got closer to the wall, and slightly scraped the side mirror. Nothing broke or anything like that, but it was loud. The guys at the back must have been shitting themselves. After the tunnel there was a downhill. I decided to test how the car would go without the motor/power on. At first it was ok, but when a sharp corner came, we almost went out of the road, and the brakes didn’t almost work. Man that was a close one. It was soo stupid but I didn’t know that would happen! I mean I expected it to be a bit harder but. fuck that was hard. Then mark went from the front through the car until the boot, to look for some fruits. When he found them he went back again to his seat. All this while zigzagging down the road. After eating quite a lot of fruits, I guess they were allucinating. Then they saw the bow, and flipped out. And then there was a police man by the road watching the traffic, and 1 of the guys knew him cause he’d stopped him on his scooter once. Then we decided to have a break by this lake by a damn. Well, not it was a lake, but there used to be a village there before they built the damn. And apparently, when the water level is low, you can see the top of the church. Oh yeah the music part I’d forgotten. The car was a bit silence, and they wanted to put on music. But the CD player didn’t work and the radio channels were quite bad. We only had the cassette player with only 1 cassette, which we’d listened to just over a trillion times. When one of them asked where we could plug his Ipod we started laughing… the car had over 330.000km (that’s many times around the world), which means no Ipod. The player was the original one. At the next village we asked them if it’d be ok to stop for 5 minutes. When they said yeah sure, what for? We smiled and we told them it was to buy cheese. Man we loved the cheese on that trip.
When we dropped them off, they seemed relieved, and half speechless must I add. They said something like. be careful on the road guys! Our next stop was Briançon, an awesome city to which is a bit hard to get into since we went a few times in circles, but it’s one of the coolest cities we went to. It’s the highest city in Europe. Man I was gonna do a description but I really don’t feel like. Google it! I’ll just say that it has a fucking cool fortress way above the actual city connected by something resembling the Great Wall in China. And it has a park with a rather unique story by the bottom. Although the old colourful steep streets and the liberating views of mountains with snow and vallies was certainly very pleasant, my favourite part was eating one of the local (although we ate many of these) blue goat cheeses. Going through the snowed mountains was fun, and by the road lied some frozen lakes. We saw a ski track, and we couldn’t help it but to stop by and to attempt to slide down. As stupid as it may sound, I almost sprained my ankle on the snow. Nearby we heard a group of kids detonating a firecracker.
Man, Mark and me looked each other and we understood. We grabbed the loudest firecrackers we had, put them in a raw, lit all of them, and threw them into the garden where the kids were. We escaped as fast as we could, hearing the noises in the back, laughing very badly. We stopped to take a picture in the snow, and Mark set the timer for the camera and ran towards me. He slipped and smashed himself in the snow just when the picture was taken just at that moment. Epic. We drove some more in small roads by the forest in the alps, enjoying all the turns and oh yeah we were close of running out of petrol I think. We were going to take a road up to the mountains, and gladly we asked of of the inhabitants about it. It was closed due to bad weather and it was covered in snow. Apparently a guy anyway had decided to go there, and his Jeep got stucked, and now it was covered by snow. He was looking forward for summer to come to that he could pick it up again! But it would probably be broken. That night, we found a beautiful spot in a narrow valley, above a river. We couldn’t see much, but hoped for the best. Somehow, that night was very cold.
None of us said anything, because we each thought that the other one was sleeping, but it was very cold. Even before sunrise we broke the silence and laughed when we realized that we were both in the same situation. Awake and cold. We started driving, following a beautiful small road by a river. I think I fell asleep and then woke up when Mark drove us into Monaco. We left the car in a parking lot in the city centre, the most exclusive and central. The parking was free up until1h, so we went jogging around the city. After 20 minutes we were done, so we kept wandering about and enjoying the views. And then, when there were only 10 minutes left we saw this beach just under Monaco’s city centre. We couldn’t leave without going there, so we got the car and drove to another parking (for another 1 free hour), and went running to the beach. There was a plastic tape forbidding the trespass, because the stairs going down had broken. We still went through, and Oh man, it was nice to be by the sea again! Some school class went by and we felt quite observed.
We had ran out of food, so then we XD XD went to the supermarket, and got loaaaaaaaads of fish and meat and cheese and fruits and nuts and everything! On our way out of Monaco, we saw a sign to the botanic gardens. We couldn’t have left without checking them out. But the parking lots were too far away… Fuck it, we left the car at the Bus stop. There were some awesome plants and trees in the garden, and amazing views over Monaco too! I loved the huge cactus. Back to the car, it was still there.
We got to Nice. The beach was cool, but there was no sand! Only rounded pebbles! I think we fell asleep and woke up after we had had enough heat to compensate for the cold that night. The weirdest part of Nice was that finding a place to buy water was as hard as mission impossible. Finally we found a supermarket. But then what we couldn’t find was the car! Mark tried to take a new parking ticket to see if we could avoid paying, but it didn’t work.
Going through Cannes, we noticed that everything was very busy, and there were big filming cameras, smokins, VIP passes and red carpets everywhere. Apparently there WAS something going on! Marc recognized a few famous people wondering around It was a cool mood, and we took the opportunity to park and chillout by the beach once again. Back at the car park, there were only luxurious cars all around us. All of the fancy stuff in the world that you could imagine was there next to our old Volvo. And we were happy.
We went through some natural reserves, filled with autumn colours and pine trees. There was a police control on which of course we got stopped, and it was one of the funniest police controls I’ve been in (the funniest was going out of the tube in Brussels with Mark and Massa but that’s another story). The woman policeman asked me something, and we started having a conversation. Then the boss made some stingy comment about her being more of a “Public Relations” more than a policewoman since the conversation was getting a bit more. personal. Then she went into the car to do the routine check up. She looked at the boot, and because it was such a mess with all our stuff, she didn’t even bother looking up, but she did say that it smelled fishy. Then she proceeded to the front seats of the car, where she tried to pull open this compartment between both seats (the one where you rest the arms), and as she wasn’t strong enough to open it, she just pretended to check some other stuff XD And then the policemen asked me whether we had something like hallucinogens or some similar items to which I responded “No Sir, just some meat in the trunk”. For me this seemed like a logical answer, but Mark started laughing his ass off. After 10 minutes, we decided to cook ALL of our meat and fish (a few kilograms) before the sunset, so we took some smaller road. We saw the perfect parking spot, just before a 130⁰sharp turn to the right. While braking, looking and discussing about the possibility of stopping there, we had already taken the full turn. I proceeded to reverse backwards ‘’fucking fast’’ the whole turn and park perfectly into the space all in one speed manoeuvre. Mark said something about it being a James Bond manoeuvre, and I agreed. Very pleased.
We went into the forest to pick up wood, and after a while we had perfectly sorted the wood pyramid, and the wood by chunks. We had the fire extinguisher and a big water bottle within a few meters, and we had also cleared the ground for a few meters around. We lit the fire, and after 30 seconds it was already starting to shine bright, when we heard a loud siren. Then we saw a 4 x 4 coming towards us after doing some crazy climbing manoeuvre. We turned the fire off with the water, and they told us that it was forbidden since it was a natural reserve. They saw all the precautions we’d taken, so they just asked us not to do any more fires there and left. It was a funny story, but we still had our smelly fish and meat to cook! We decided to load of all of the wood into the trunk in case that we would find a better spot. We said goodbye to the sun and took some pictures, and we were off.
We arrived to St Tropez well into the night. The city was completely quiet, and the only difference between then and a zombie movie was that the old lightposts were on. Well, perharps that there were no zombies neither. We parked the car in the delivery parking space at the harbour and chilled a bit by the sea looking at the old port. It was so relaxing being there listening to the waves and looking at the stars, miles away from home but feeling home at the same time.
We started walking uphill in the night, following the citadel road. And after a few minutes, there was a barrier and we couldn’t walk any further. Legally that is. So we jumped the fence and kept walking very silently through the castle’s land. We arrived to the top, where the hexagonal castle was, and it looked empty. Jumped another fence and went in by a slightly open door. There was a hole on the ceiling, and it looked like it connected the room in which we were with the rest of the building. By the way, everything was dark, except that we were using our phones to lighten our way. I was experiencing that tingling sensation which is a mix between excitement and fear, and I was loving the experience. The architecture was quite new for me, and the fact that we were there in the middle of the night, just made matters more spectacular. We arrived to the rooftop, and there was such a magnific view. You could see the lights from other cities shining across the sea. I left a present :D.
We walked some more around the city at night, and went back to the car to sleep. There was loads of wood in the trunk so we had to sleep in the front seats. But it was quite a new thing for us to sleep in a car parked by the harbour, 2m from the sea. In the morning, when the police came to tell us that we could not park here, we were already ready to go away. Well, we were half sleeping, but already in the front seats.
On our way, we decided to ditch the big roads and have fun in the small ones. A few times we had to turn around because they abruptly ended. We went up this high cliff by car, and man there was such a nice view of quite a few kilometres around us. Such a pretty sunny day! On the top of the cliff we met some girls that were hiking to Marseille. We imagined how much fun it would be to drive full speed down the cliff, jumping out of the car before hitting the water.
The way down felt as if we were in like the Montecarlo rally, or in Tokio drift. We still had all the meat and fish in the back, and it was seriously starting to smell. We decided to try our luck on a beach just before Cassis. I think it was called ‘’Plage de l’Arene’’. But there were some signs forbidding fires, so we chickened out. But already at the wonderful beach, it was time for a well underserved chillout! Naa I’m sure we deserved it. Grabbed the snorking goggles and tube, the fishing rod, a knife (to open up some shells to use as bait), some towel, sunglasses, the camera, and loads of free time. We jumped over the rocks until we found an awesome spot on a flat piece of white rock by the seaside. I tried fishing, although Mark told me: no chance. At the second throw, something got stuck on the hook, and I lost it. That was the end. Lol. Went for a swim in the rather cold water, and then it was time for a siesta. No clue how long it lasted, but we woke up a few hours later, more red than we were before that. It is then that I realized how beautiful that place was, with the mountain at the other side of the bay, with the amazing beach and weather.
In Cassis, we tried to find some barbecue place for hours, but nothing came up. Mark even went to the police station to ask. Nothing. Anyhow is was nice to go around Cassis! .
We chose the small road towards Marseille, and halfway through the snakey road between hills and trees we saw this small café/restaurant. It was our chance. We asked the cook if he could cook some of our meat and fish. But it was stinking so much, that he just agreed to fry us all of the beef steaks with olive oil, and then put some salt and pepper. He was a Italian guy from Rimini, a bit strange and really nice guy! We wanted to pay him, but he refused. So we happily put the meat on the Frisbee (since we didn’t have/need plates) and left.
Marseille was cool. Especially the old town. We threw the Frisbee around in the streets, and stopped by a fountain to eat our steaks. We looked for some shop to buy gas cookers, but we decided to go to a supermarket for it. We stopped by Lidl, Mark got some stuff but they didn’t have gas cookers. We got some almost free gas cooker and gas bottle and left.
That night we were soo happy we were finally able to cook the fish and chicken, and we waited until we found a really nice spot under the stars , near a forest. We unloaded everything, and got ready. Then I started laughing my ass off, Mark looked at me and he too couldn’t help it. We had picked the wrong gas bottle for the cooker! Such a fail. Repack everything, keep driving. About 38 h had gone past since we had bought the food, and it was really stinking. Everything else having failed, we drove into a small path surrounded by (orange?/olive?) trees in the night, parked the car in between 2 rows of trees, and we started our fire there, on someone’s field, probably near someone’s house. I can’t really explain where we were, but it was a bit risky. We did the least noise possible, and kept the fire low but spread out so that we could cook everything. We heard some dogs barking not very far, but we kept doing our thing, as fast as we could, but cooking the food enough to kill whatever might have grown there. We both agree that throwing food away is a definite NO. When we finished everything we put again everything on the Frisbee, and drove away without lights. Man what a feast we had that night! We drove into Montpellier in the night, when the city was in bed. There were a group of policemen at the entrance of the town, and as we drove a few times in circles they shouted something at us. No clue what it was! .
It was quite hard to find some parking space, as we kept driving through mini tunnels and it felt like driving in a video game. Finally we found a parking, and proceeded to another feast of meat/fish/fruits. We walked through the whole city at night, recognizing many of the places where Remi Gaillard had filmed some of his famous funny videos. While walking we wished we’d taken the Frisbee from the car. And just then, we saw 2 guys playing with one, and jumped in. We showed them some tricks and they liked our skills. I kept doing the bounce against the floor trick J And Mark kept throwing really accurate long range throws.
Back in the parking, it was really surreal. There was thing relaxing sort of spooky low soft background chant music. I guess it was done to chillout people, but man it felt like we were under a haunted cathedral.
Next I think it was Mark who started driving. I fell asleep, but I remember waking up a few times and seeing him just in between two lanes playing with the highway (as if the strikes in between channels were bullets fired from the car). It was really amusing to watch as he dodged imaginary objects. It was fun, and about 3-4am.
I woke up the morning after, in the front seat. We were parked on a rest area, by the highway. Mark said that he started falling asleep so he pulled over. It was kind of funny. We brushed our teeth by the tap water dispenser, and then we decided to get rid of all the wood that we still had in the car! So we reversed a few meters, and chucked out all the wood onto the grass. Next thing, 2 police cars stopped surrounding us. They asked if we had any illegal substances, and I looked at Mark. We were both smiling, because it was so ridiculous that we always got stopped for the same reason! We denied having anything illegal, and they tried to check the car. But the mess in the back was again quite significant, so a quick look was enough. They asked if we had slept there for the night, and we answered that of course not (because they told us that it was illegal), that we’d arrive 20 minutes ago. I don’t remember them asking if the wood mess belonged to us, but it seemed a stupid question to ask… I mean who the hell would carry such chunks of wood in their car when doing a trip, and having the trunk in such a state? Well… The policeman was really chilled and talkative. He started talking about Luxembourg and went on and on for quite a while, remembering the time when he used to live there. It was cool hearing about the Great Duchy of Luxembourg from another person’s point of view about a thousand kilometres away from it.
On the road again! I think that the coolest part of the trip started then. Our destination for that day was some natural reserve by the Pyrenees. And of course, the main aim was to have some serious fun and enjoy life. We started taking smaller roads, and entering the mountains.
I remember following a fresh river, and it felt like being somewhere in the Austrian alps. Except that the houses were made in a different way with stones and wood. It was an old village, with some of the houses having been abandoned, and left to their own luck. We had been listening to the same cassette way too long, and I got an awesome idea. While walking around the old street, we entered one of the houses that was in ruins. Some parts of the roof had fallen , and everything was on the floor. There were still a few very old things in the kitchen, and it reminded me of how the old houses look like in the movies. We started looking in between broken stuff and the mess on the floor, and Mark found a cassette J I left a present on the top floor, and then we went into another house, a villa. We went in through the window. There was a courtyard in the middle, and the vegetation had started being in control. We searches all the house (it was quite big), and we found loaaaads of useful and old stuff. Plenty of books lying all over the floor, and even a very rusted bicycle! Some old boots and just general house stuff. I remember finding something very cool but I forgot what it was. I have the regret to inform you guys that Mark beat me in the ‘’FIND the CASSETTE game’’ about 6-2. We kept wandering around the village and seeing cool stuff (like 2 trees branches’ joined together). Back in the car, it was hot! There was a caravan parked besides us with stickers from so many different countries. It gave us some motivation. Back in the car, we played our findings. Some of them were some comedian speeches (with out of fashion humor), some of them some VERY old school music, and some of them were just hilarious. They became a staple in our adventures through the natural reserves, and they are such good memories. We stopped in 4 different supermarkets in about 20km, because we wanted to find something in particular. Hey Mark you remember the special mushrooms from the small shop? XD. We also stopped by a rather strong current and fucking freezing river to have a swim/bath. Good times.
We were just about to go into a tunnel that would take us into Spain, and we were surrounded by awesome looking mountains covered with snow. We just knew. We parked the car, got the boots on, packed some food, and started hiking uphill without following any path. Mark was a bit faster than me, and he decided to take the right side around a vertical wall. I thought the left one was cooler. “See that tree?” he asked, meet you there.
I did some free climbing, and some risky moves. I remember climbing along a small flow of water/waterfalls because the other bits were covered with snow. At some points it was really slippery, but I was loving the experience, and the adrenaline. I was living a dream. After a few very steep (and sometimes almost vertical) minutes, I got to the tree. No sign of Mark. I waited for a while, but nothing. And then I heard a shout. It was Mark, saying that he couldn’t join me there, because there was a fucking insane wall that made it impossible without gear. We decided to meet at the top. I don’t know how he felt, but for me it was a race! ;P I went through some really tough terrain, and some ants nests. The vegetation was different up there. Finally, I made it to the top. Man, the view was simply amazing. We were surrounded by many more mountains, with snow. Peaks, and sun, wind and calmness, warm and cold rocks, sharp edges, rounded tops where we could walk along. And even better than all that, I was the first one up! Apparently Mark also went through some really tough stuff and had to do a big detour. Or maybe I was just a rocket? Hahahhaaha I love bragging. We had another epic meal at the top, after which I wondered if I’d manage to go down without rolling downhill. We enjoyed paradise for a while longer, and then started going down by a much easier slope. The car looked tiny from up there. There was a sort of minilake nearby, and we went there. The pebbles on the floor were very flat and rounded. They were perfect for the game we started playing (the frog game). But we added some extra difficuly, which consisted in having to put the stone through the entrance of the pipe at the other end of the lake with at least 1 bounce on the water. I will not say anything more except that the score was 2 – 0, because I think that showing off more than once in the same paragraph could be excessive. Well, after all, we only usually remember the good stuff. Me at least! .
Back in the car, we crossed into Spain, and we entered a massive natural reserve, our immediate destination. To compensate, I will just say that I parked the car, and I reversed a bit too far, crushing (slightly) the back of the car. A tiny scratch, not bigger than the last time a moskito bit your arm, and you couldn’t stop scratching it cause it felt so nice Life was awesome.
We didn’t really know where to go, so we just went wherever we felt like. We found a nice parking, said see you later to the sun, and went to bed. But I couldn’t sleep. I hadn’t done sport in over a week, and I had been eating massively. I was kinda chubby. And that was going to change starting from then. Why feeling like shit when I could feel awesome doing something that I love? Why being a fat fucker when being in shape allowed me to live my life much more fully?
Went out of the car, and started doing some pushups and pullups, squat jumps, static deadlifts, dips, upside down pushups. Anything! Man that felt good, working out on that little playground in the middle of the night in the middle of the mountains next to that river and seeing the moon and stars. Happy again, I made a uniform mess in the trunk, and lied over it to sleep. I remember Mark waking me up in the middle of the night to join me in the back J Because all the mess and stuff lying under us, actually made an amazing isothermal mat, that isolated us from the cold. So much for having order! Waking up the next morning, I heard some people speaking in Spanish saying something like they were going to call the police. We guessed that it was because of us sleeping there, so we left without even taking away the mist from the windows. There would be time for that later. We drove through amazing places, and ended up parking by a river so have another bath. That one was even colder but it felt awesome! We sat down on some huge rocks to have breakfast. I forgot what was on the menu, but it must have been something quality!
We drove to a very scenaric high ground, dominated by a small village of maybe 20 houses. There was a tourist office where we asked a few things. When they asked us where we were from we agreed on answering that we were from Luxembourg. We went for a walk around the hills, on a track called something like the tour of the ermites, because we went past quite a few. In one of them there was a small hole on the ceiling, and we knew what would happen. I lifted Mark up, and then once up there he helped me get in too. The view from the top was much better. There Is just something really exciting about doing stuff you are not supposed to. I mean, climbing on some sort of old minichurch and chilling by the top, who would do that? We had to hide from a few visitors, but it was fun. We could see for many kilometres around us, loads of cool mountains and peaks, and the natural reserve all around us. We also climbed a cliff, and then proceeded to throw the Frisbee as far as possible from the top. I must admit that I kinda messed up, but we ended up finding it in the forest. Going back into the parking, there was a bone (small skull?), and Mark picked it up because he wanted to plant something in it.
On the way down, there was supposed to be like the standing rock monument, which wasn’t anything more than a rock on another rock Stonehenge style except that there was only 1 pile, and it wasn’t even as tall as me J On a small road’s side we found a water reservoir in the middle of nowhere, that looked just like a swimming pool. The weather was amazing, and the sun was shining bright. We just had to stop and chillout there for some time, trying saltos and jumps into it.
As we kept driving through half deserted small roads in the natural reserve, we found an abandoned caravan. We had a look inside, and found loads of useful stuff. Some hippies must have been living there some years ago for sure. I tried to throw something out of the caravan, but it bounced against something and came back in. I tried again, but somehow it went into some tube which came back to the caravan. Being destiny that the object should remain there, amen. The only thing that we took was a old wine bottle that we found inside. We arrived to some place that looked amazing. There was an improvised parking space for 2 or 3 cars. We put on some sunscreen and we were off following the path. For about 10 minutes. Because we found a really cool river, and started following it. We climbed and bathed through waterfalls. It was like our own private Jacuzzi. Yeah sure the water wasn’t at 37 degrees but it was awesomely refreshing. It really felt like we were living life to the max, being in the middle of a natural reserve bathing under some waterfalls, and climbing some more. Life was amazing, and we were on top of it. I think that we didn’t have swimming stuff so we went in there naked. The trees don’t care, and neither do the animals. As for people, I’m pretty sure there wasn’t anyone around! We tried to get back to the car without following paths, but it was a bit of a fail XD But we made quite a bit chunk like that zig zaging between bushes and trees, watching the eagles fly, and enjoying the nature.
We had another destination in mind, that was motivated by Mark’s research. He had a list of cool places where we could go to. We tried to find it, but the GPS fucked us over. Man I just remembered a funny part. We went into a very quiet part of a natural reserve, on a quiet winding road, that onlooked over the south pyrenaic range. Basically driving there felt like surfing through life ‘s landscapes. I guess that’s how the idea of surfing the car came along. One of us would go on the roof top and try to stand on our feet while the other person would drive fast listening to some awesome loud music. Man that was fun. A few turns were a bit too sharp, and it was a bit tougher holding on, which made everything more fun. We went past a very small old village with me standing on the back, and a dog started chasing us. I had to jump on the roof J We got lost and enjoyed going around and around. I forgot how, but we out of Parque Nacional de Ordesa y Monte Perdido (National park of Ordesa and lost mount) (or maybe Parque nacional de los cañones y sierra del guara) (LOL) and got to some other city (Bielsa/ maybe?). While Mark went to a shop to look for some inflatable boat that we could buy, I parked the car and got some stuff from a supermarket. Then he joined me and we got some more from another one. You remember the guy in front of us who broke the wine bottle.? XD
Driving through the north of Spain on a sunny afternoon felt really really good. Everything was beautiful , and I was getting closer to where I’d grown up. I remember shouting out of the windows and out of the roof hole. We were happy, and surfing through the roads with open windows and being in cool mode was really cool. The landscapes were fabulous. You could see windmills at the end of the straight road, and it felt good. We stopped by on top of some waterfall onlooking at the valley, just besides a cable slider that could people could use to slide to the other side with the right gear). We had an amazing meal full of cheese and embutidos (lungeon type traditional Spanish meats). It was awesome.
Somehow we made it to Zaragoza after sunset. I wanted to show Mark around, even if it was just for a while since my grandparents would be waiting for us in another town. This has got to be one of the funniest parts of our trip. Going into the parking space, Mark was really tired from all the crazy day and driving we’d had. There was a empty space besides a car, and he went for it. I said no chance. He started driving quite fast towards the car and I thought that he’d turn in the last moment. But somehow Mark managed to sort of fall asleep at the wheel in the parking and went straight into the car without changing direction the slightest. I looked at him, and he had the exact face as Massa has when he is like sleepy and saying BOOOP. It was sooo funny, the other car swinged and moved quite a bit. Luckily there was only a very small scratch. We went around Zaragoza speed tourism style. At some point some dog bit some of my pullover, or maybe just made it wet. We were in such a good mood that we just started laughing, and the owner, she was fit Back in the car, we drove to Tudela, where my grandparents live. I spent quite a lot of my childhood there with my grandparents, playing around in the orchard with the cats. I love the place, and it feels amazing being there. I was so happy to show it to Mark. We were so tired. And it was so nice seeing my grandparents again. My grandma had cooked for us an amazing dinner which we both loved. Bedtime time. After a few more snacks of course!
It was so nice sleeping on those beds from my childhood. It was quite warm and we had to sleep with the windows open. Not a bad thing though.
The day after, we decided to go to Parque Nacional de las Bardenas Reales, a National Park quite close to Tudela. But we needed to find somewhere to rent bikes. My grandma came on her 3 wheel bicycle to guide us to the shop, and we jogged behind her. It was so funny, because it seemed as if she was our trainer taking us our for a workout. At the shop, they told us that we were crazy of going there because it is like a desert, with no place to get water once you are in it, except from at the entrance and the military base. It was also quite warm. But we were determined to make it. They added some water carriers to the bike, and we were off on our mountain bikes. They were a bit too small for us, but they didn’t have any bigger. So we picked some stuff of the road and put them on the seatpost to make it taller. I remember pedalling on a plastic bottle for a few kilometres. It was like some added dumpers! The views already were terrific, and the shape of the hills very different than anywhere I’ve been to. Going into the reserve, we stopped by the entrance for water and for a map. Off we were. Cycling through desert, we went past the military base, where there were some combat planes training some manoeuvres. My dad told me that once when he was there, they were dropping practise bombs against targets not too far from where he was. Must have been fun. I once had a book with loads of photos about this national park. I’d always wanted to go there but somehow I never created the opportunity. It was sooo cool seeing all those pictures in real life. We went past of the most famous hills around, and walked around some really weird rugged terrain because of the extreme dryness. We cycled some more, and saw a car who’d gone off the road and tripped over. Il a fait son malin, et il est tombé dans le ravin. We climbed on top of some hills, and Mark took such an amazing picture! It was a bit tricky going uphill, cause it was really slippery. But we took some mineral plates and cool stones. The views were great though, and it felt a bit as if we were somewhere nearby the Colorado canyon. We cycled some more, and it was getting really warm, and we didn’t have any sunlotion nor much water left. We did however managed to find a lake/pond. There were panels forbidding its access, but we just had to take a picture. We had cycled quite a bit, and decided to go back. Back at the entrance, we drank sooo much water.
Dinner with my grandparents was as amazing as always. We went to the orchard and chilled there for some time, helped my grandpa with a few things, and then he talked to us about some trees and farming methods. I think that it is so interesting, listening to people from other times that know so much about something about which we know so little. I guess there is too much knowledge out there for everyone to be an expert in anything, but it is just so cool to know about how the stuff we eat has been produced.
The day after was our last adventure day. And on the way to Madrid we wanted to go past Soria to visit it and say hello to my aunt. In the past times I’d gone there, I’d always looked at that terrific lonely rounded mountain on the way, with snow on the top, but never gone there. I guess part of it is that I don’t spend much time in Spain, so when I go there I spend time with family. Another reason is also that everyone had always told me how dangerous it is to go there, and about the number of people that die there. And the last one, is that I had secretly decided to climb it during that previous Christmas, but I sprained my ankle quite badly, and couldn’t walk for some weeks. So that had meant a change of plans. But there with Mark, nothing else but climbing it could happen.
We said Au Revoir to my beloved grandpas, and we were off. We got stopped yet another time by the police, for another drug search and paper check. Another big laugh since it was almost like mission impossible finding the vehicle’s papers. Literally I’d never seen one so it was funny looking into the sea of bills, receipts, useless papers to find that one. Just when they were going to let us go without even showing them (lol at Spanish police), we found them. They were really friendly, and the police girls didn’t stop checking us out. Too bad we had to keep going. Maybe too good? Bah.
The next town (Tarazona) looked really cool, and we decided to get lost in it. We parked, got some map and directions in the tourist office of how to get to the mountain, and went around the city. It was really cool seeing all these old spots, and walking through steep uphills. It almost felt like living back in another time. After a while, we decided to go back. We asked a 60 year old that was going into his car if he could drive us all the way down and he willingly accepted. Such nice guy. Back in the car, we started climbing through roads up to the basecamp parking. See you later Mr Volvo!
The first bit was easy, just a slight slope walk. And then it got steeper and steeper. But we had warmed up the day before in the desert, and were up to anything. The view kept getting better and better until we were nearby the top. On the ground, there were plenty of ladybugs all over the floor. I don’t know why this is, but it’s interesting how many there were there! Everyone seemed to have really specialised equipment whereas Mark and me has shorts and tshirt. Maybe it wasn’t ideal for the current snow case scenario, but never the less, it was a ‘’becht tourist’’ thing to do. We found shelter from the wind inside the walls of a simple circular rock wall, built by people that made it till there. Nothing fancy, just some stones. Man, it felt so good and unreal being there on top of the Moncayo at 2314m, the highest mountain around by far.
It would have been too easy to down in a conventional way, so we opted to go down by the steep side which was covered in snow. We jumped and skied downhill, only using our boots. We filmed a part of it. You could go down at such a high speed, it was awesome, fun, exciting, and different. And with each jump you got the feeling that you were going to jump into the emptiness since we were so high up.
Back in the car, we talked with a group of French and Italian girls. A while later we arrived to Soria. We hanged around with my aunt, who’s been travelling all around the world many times over. She invited us for food and drink at Valonsadero, a nearby beautiful natural reserve with bulls roaming freely. Oh and may I say, that’s where I snapped my ankle, while on a jog with my cousin.
After food, she took us to a pretty and refreshing kinda hidden waterfall, where we had a bath and a change of clothes. It was really good to catch up with her again.
Back in our car, we drove to Madrid, partly in the night. The sunset was terrific. Arriving there, we went to my mum’s place, and she greeted us warmly. Like always, food was again amazing, and it was soo good to see my Mum again!!
The day after we went for a family lunch to my sister and her boyfriend’s place, and it was really wonderful catching up with everyone. We helped my sis cook, and improvised some deserts. Successfully may I add. After that, Mark and me we went on a motorcycle tour all around Madrid with my sister’s scooter. Mark really enjoyed spending time with my family and viceversa. They all are really cool formidable nice people who you can’t anything but get along with.
I had to do some stuff, and Mark had such an awesome time discovering the city by scooter. He told me some funny stories. Oh especially the one about meeting up with the friend.
A day or two later I left with my mum on a plane destination Indonesia.