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From Prague To Atlantic Coasts XI.

Published: 29.1.2011
The tenth day of our journey we made a trek in Sierra Nevada Mountains and climbed up to the top of Veleta (3392 m), the second greatest peak of Spain.

10th day (Wednesday) - An Excursion up to Veleta Peak

The alarm-clock woke us rather prematurely, at seven a. m. So, a target for this day is as follows: to overcome a peak of Mulhacen (3479 m) a top of Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. We drove, at cloudless sky, along road A-395 up to Hoya de la Mora, (a locality, where motor car entry is permitted), situated in an altitude, exceeding 2000 metres above sea level. We left our car in a small parking place, where there was just one vehicle, and the second one arrived at the same time. So, from here, we have to rely on our feet only, in order to continue ahead. We dressed all things necessary for mountain trek, including more suitable shoes, and obsereved a group of exhilarated young men, ready, with an ethusiasm, to start their trek.

Obviously, this group of tourists was not there for the first time, as they took with nothing necessary for the climbing (one boy was dressed in trek boots and short trousers only). So, we encouraged, believing that we could reach the top earlier than they. We decided to take with some food (tortillas and tins) and two litres of water for each person. It is true that you can be dressed in short trousers and tricot in July (provided you are a little hardened against cold) but smock-frock will be more than suitable - if you wish to spend some time period in the heights, where sharp cold wind would be blowing. Nevertheless, the weather was pleasant, clear sky outlasted, air temperature reached 15 °C and cold wind blew. But, do not be confused, the sunshines burn in much more intensity as in low grounds! So, we put our skin with strong layer of sunburnt cream and mounted upstairs. Our target was changed, we decided to climb to the top of Veleta Peak (3392 m) instead of Mulhacen (it was the neighbouring peak). The path upstairs must be overcome through winding route (where jeep of administraartion of this protected area is passing from time to time), terminating several hundreds metres below mountain top.

If you prefer more difficult climb, you can pass  through shorter paths, which are more steep and you have to run out more efforts. Climbing higher, marvellous panoramas were uncovered, we were enthusiastic, wishing to make the photos as many as possible. The fresh air enabled us big visibility up to ten of kilometres ahead. And big heaps of snow started to appear. The skiing is possible in this mountain range, we saw ski-towage in some slope. The sign-posts or height plates to the top were missing, nevertheless, it was impossible to loose the way, as mountain top was visible just from Hoya de la Mora parking place. So, we ovecame finally mountain top after three hours of climbing, and enjoyed fully marvellous panorama outlooks. We met several tourists there, even including a dog, so we made several group photos. Stone tops in the neighbourhood were partially covered with snow. However, in general, snow covering was missing during past couple of years, as confirmed by local tourists. We saw also not distant Mulhacen Peak, our original target. It was our original idea, to transfer there. Nevertheless, we decided to start to descend, in order to catch in time our next destination - Malaga.

During our way downstairs, we met Czech tourist group from Jičín. The world is really too small for everybody!

At four o'clock p.m. after small refreshment, we continued the way, through sharp winding road, to the south of Spain, and after three hours of drive, we arrived to the port town of Malaga, the sixth biggest town (600 000 inhabitants) of the region. We drove throughout boulevards and side-streets (which were not too different from those we saw in Barcelona or Valencia) in order to find some cheap accommodation. Having read excellent references in our guide-book, so, we looked forward to find a hostel at reasonable price-level. However, we got out the car (from pleasant cold air inside the vehicle) into again unbeararable sultriness and heat. The hostel reception lady informed us that a room would cost EUR 24 per one night. When we filled in the respective forms we knew (to our big surprise) that the price would be valid for one person only! A fact that such accommodation would be specialized for students, the price seemed to be too expensive for us, so we refused such offer. Finally, we were forced to look for another accommodation possibility, so, we continued our drive, inside dense traffic jam, visiting some other addresses, where another hostels would be placed, but we were not successfull in this respect. Finally, we decided to transfer to Costa del Sol area. It is popular tourist resort, full of buildings, hotels and constructions of similar purpose, overcrowded with restaurants, bars and another places for entertainment.

Our guide-book advised us several camping places. Just the third one, was the right for us. We built our tent there, in a distance of approx. two hundred metres from the sea coast. The price for overnight was EUR 29 for all, and it proved to be the cheapest variant, we found.

The camping and its environs were nice, the only disadvantage proved to be: no existing transport connection to city centre, so that we are referred again to our vehicle. So, we visited, after the whole day´s wandering, Asia restaurant, ordering there classical meal, i.e.noodles with vegetables and pieces of meat, all at cost of EUR 5,50. We enjoyed with a taste such big portions. On the way back to the camp, it was sunset. Nevertheless, we could not pass over short excursion to the beach, which was completely deserted at such time period. The sea was rather cold for bathing but we tried to wash out ourt feet at least. The water is quite cold,  you can be washed up to your knees only. Jakub bought some cigars in Granada, and it was just right time to smoke it, under a sky, full of stars. After two hours´ of calm period, at quiet sea-sounds and star lights, we went to bed, in order to take some necessary force to the next coming day.

Next chapter: Algeciras and Gibraltar

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