Monday, January 7, 2019

A parting of the ways

We passed a quiet morning at the hotel in El Chorro. It was breezy and chilly, so we didn't venture outside much. I did grab this photo of the back side of the hotel with the mountain face looming. It was a quirky hotel, but beautiful:

Rachel's train didn't leave until around 4pm. Ours, not until 5pm. We checked out at around 11:30am, but the hotel kindly held our bags while we went on a hike towards the mountain shown in the first photo. The trail was a bit steep and challenging, which made us grateful for the cool weather. The lower slopes were arid pine forest:

I went off trail at one point and found this beautiful flower in bloom. It's January, so we're definitely not in Walla Walla anymore:

As we approached the face of the mountain, we began to see numerous climbers on its face. My phone isn't sharp enough to show them, but there were a couple dozen folks up there at various heights. Not long after we noticed the climbers, we started seeing folks lower down hiking to the mountain and a number of cars parked along the track that also likely carried climbers:

After our hike, we returned to the hotel restaurant and enjoyed a long, slow lunch as we waited for Rachel's train. We even had dessert:

Eventually the parting of the ways arrived. The train station was a stone's throw from the hotel and restaurant. We headed out to the station and Rachel took the southbound train to Malaga for her conference:

After Rachel departed, Laura and I hung out in the lobby and read for a while until our northbound train came to take us back to Sevilla. I managed to snap this shot of the Caminito del Rey from the train window as we left El Chorro:

Because of railway construction, there's a 10 mile stretch of tracks that are out of service on the way back to Sevilla. About halfway through our trip, we had to get off the train and get onto pre-staged buses that drove the entire train contingent around the gap in the tracks to another rail station. A train met us there and took us the rest of the way to Sevilla. Here's a shot of the station in Osuna, Spain where we got back onto the northbound train. An abandoned engine:

An abandoned rail station:

Switch controls at the new train station. We watched an engineer throw the switch so that the train arriving from Sevilla could switch tracks over to the northbound tracks. When it arrived, all of the passengers got off and took the same buses we just used to go south around the gap in the tracks and continue their journeys south to Malaga:

We finally made it to Sevilla and walked home from the Metro station along streets that had yet another sticky, sugary layer of crushed and dissolved candy from the Triana parade that occurred yesterday. Yes, another parade with people throwing buckets of candy into the streets. The city parade being insufficient, the Triana neighborhood has to have its own parade the next day. 

I wonder how long the streets will be sticky. There's no rain in sight on the weather forecast.