Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Lozzing By The Pool

I've just noticed it's been a while since my last post. I apologize for that. The last few weeks have been somewhat shitty - mainly to do with Barclays and Jazztel stealing money from me, plus a personal matter that you don't need to know about - so here's a post about a nice thing we did a couple of weeks ago.

A friend of ours said 'let's go swimming in the mountains!' Everybody else said 'huh?'

Watch out for Coo-Beasties on the path

Near the village of Cercedilla, 57km north of Madrid, there's a park containing a sort of Amazonian jungle walkway up in the trees, and an outdoor swimming pool. About twelve of us decided to take the train there. It's a Cercanias (suburban railway) choo-choo, and I think the rest of the party joined it at Atocha or Nuevos Ministerios. We got on at Chamartín, and walked as far up the train as we could, but we couldn't find our buddies. A phone call confirmed that they were on the train, but it turned out later it was actually two shortish trains joined together, so we were unable to walk through the two drivers' cabs.

Short walk up a mountain

We all met up at Cercedilla station, and made our way to the bus stop. There was no sign of any bus actually showing up, but our leader said it was walkable, and would take maybe half an hour.

Jungle trail in the trees

An hour and a half later, after walking through some fairly spectacular woodland (all of it uphill, pant, pant), we arrived at the park. It cost, I think, €6 to get in. I have to say that whoever the genius was that decided to have this pool built in this location deserves a medal of some sort. There are two pools, actually - a shallow one for kiddiewinkles, and a deep one for grown-ups. It sits close to the bottom of a valley, and is surrounded on all sides by tree-covered mountains. Amazing.

The pool

We spent maybe three or four hours there, and then headed back to the village. When we got to the bus stop it seemed we had just missed one. The next (and last) was scheduled for about ten to ten, so we walked back to Cercedilla. This was somewhat easier than the walk up to the park: it was downhill, and it was a shorter route. Still, I reckon it took 45 minutes. One of the party had arrived by car, and he and his wife offered us a lift back to Madrid, which we gladly accepted.

When we got to the station, the train was on the platform. Those that were planning to take the train waited for the stragglers to arrive. Unfortunately the train left before they got to the station. The next train would be an hour, so we decamped to a nearby bar.

Service was a bit slow

When it was time to go, our friend with the car - we'll call him 'The Cat' because he is a Madrileño - took us on a tour of Cercedilla. Up and down, down and up, up some more. He was completely unable to find the car park where he'd left his vehicle. Eventually, some kind soul told us where the town proper (which we'd never known about, despite having been to Cercedilla a few times) was, and after probably an hour's extra walking, we found it.

But, it was a great day out, so it was.

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