Last Stop: Siurana
Hey guys. I’m writing to you from Siurana, an amazing place one could definitely call a climber’s heaven. The expansive area covers so many cliffs meandering through a valley and underneath a quaint village and castle. There are over 1600 routes spread across countless crags throughout Siurana that even on its busiest days when the parking lots are completely full, one can still find many spots with little to no people.
Furthermore, Siurana is beautiful, even the most unskilled photographer could take breathtaking pictures here. The parking lot that we have chosen is right next to the village and looks out among the vast valley below and its surrounding cliffs. Every night, the fog rolls in covering the valley below, allowing us to look out over a sea of clouds, with peaks poking out here and there. Paul and I have been getting up early to have breakfast and coffee while the sun slowly wakes up in the morning. As the sun rises, the entire sky glows with a light pink, painting the sea of clouds below and the cliffs around us with a beautiful warm pink and orange hue.
The trail we take every day to get to the crags wanders right along the middle of the cliffs, cutting the sectors into top and bottom crags. We walk along the trail enjoying amazing views with countless pine trees below us and are entertained by climbers doing crazy moves.
We’ve spent the last four days climbing here and exploring a few different crags. The climbing is much different from where we just were in Riglos. It’s always a big change going from conglomerate rock where you are holding on to potato sized rocks cemented into the cliffs, to limestone where the holds are mostly small sharp holes, crimps, and pockets for your fingers and toes. But it’s been really good, and REALLY warm! I’ve been sweating every day wearing only shorts and a tank top! Ah to feel the warmth of the sun in December is a beautiful thing 😀
I’ve also been trying to be very careful because before coming to Siurana, Paul and I were climbing at a bouldering gym in Lleida, when a ladder fell on my head! It was quite a traumatic experience and I ended up going to the hospital where they put 3 staples in my head to help the gash heal and gave me a tetanus shot to prevent infection from the metal ladder. So I’ve been wearing my helmet and trying to keep the area as clean as possible.
I’ve had some really terrible experiences with doctors and hospitals so I was pretty upset when I realized that I would have to get my head looked at in the ER. But the doctors were very caring and the staples didn’t hurt nearly as much as I prepared myself for. So maybe it wasn’t so bad after all 🙂
But now after four days of climbing, and lots of climbing before that, our fingers are done for and we need a rest. As much as I want to push myself to climb again today since it’s our last day here in Siurana, it’s hard to make it fun when it’s impossible for my fingers to hold on to anything. So we are taking the day to enjoy Siurana for its beauty and doing a little bit of self-care.
And sadly, these are my last two days in Ben as I fly home to California for Christmas and then head back to Copenhagen to start up work, and begin Danish classes once again. It’s time to get things going.
It has been a pretty bittersweet last week because of course I’m really looking forward to being home again in California (it’s been a full year!!) and I can’t wait to see my family again, I’m also extremely sad that this adventure is coming to an end. I’ve really loved pretty much everything about living in Ben and traveling around Europe with Paul. I love the idea of having everything we need right here with us, and that everything we need is in fact, a very small amount of things. I love how simple the living is, with our biggest luxuries being when we decide to go get pizza at a restaurant, or get some fresh bread for lunch on grocery store days. I don’t feel the need for more than what we have because what we have is breathtaking views, days filled with adventure, and nights filled with coziness back in our little home.
Of course there have been so many ups and downs; there have been some really tough times where I’ve almost wanted to just call it quits and pack my bags, but we’ve made it through and I think that’s what makes these experiences so much more enriching. Of course we knew this adventure wouldn’t be easy. Although Paul and I have lived together for months before we started living in Ben, nothing could prepare us for spending so much time together and having to be so compromising in all our decisions. We had to learn so much about all the little things that could go wrong when living in a van. Sometimes just finding a parking spot to be able to sleep can be difficult! And I mean, we are in a small van traveling together, always going in the same direction, and always having to plan our days to be fulfilling for both of us. This can be pretty hard to do Every Single Day.
But because of these confined spaces and the constant need for agreement and compromise, I’ve never gotten to know a person better; all the ins and outs and ups and downs of moods and beliefs and values. Which makes leaving only a million times harder. Not only am I saying goodbye to a way of life and an incredible adventure, but I am also saying goodbye to my best friend.
But life always has a way of working itself out, and who knows what the future will bring. And although my calling for being back in Copenhagen seems really right for me right now, and I don’t really know why, I’m sure I will find out soon enough. And even though my time living on the road is over for now, it doesn’t mean it has to stay that way. I have a feeling I will be back doing the van life once again someday 🙂
I’ve felt so inspired by our way of life in Ben and I’ve gotten to know so much about myself and what I need to be happy. I think that by minimizing what I have, these things have become clearer to me. This trip has strengthened my belief that I don’t need much in order to feel fulfilled and satisfied, which I find to be reassuring. I know that I need to be able to talk and catch up with my family and friends, I need the outdoors close in my life, and I need an active and healthy lifestyle. And with all these things, I can have a pretty positive outlook.
And lastly, thanks to all of you, for supporting us on our journey with advice, positive feedback, and tidbits of information and I hope you’ve enjoyed following along on our adventure 🙂 From now, you’ll be hearing from Paul about his continuation with the journey. I’m already looking forward to see what’s in store for him 🙂 With that, see you guys back in California and Copenhagen 🙂